Cuesta del Cielo | 2019
The National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) commissioned this project for the Plaza Mayor, NHCC’s main exterior event and community space. The Plaza Mayor, surrounded by the Intel Visual Arts Building and steps adjacent to the Plaza Mayor, is the iconic space of the NHCC campus. The commission asked for work that was a site-specific commemoration of the substantial contributions of Virginia and Edward Lujan to the creation and continued significance of the NHCC.
The LSC was interested in a work of art that ensured continued maximum use of the Plaza Mayor for large crowds and events and reflected the optimism and spirit of service in the Lujans’ vision and connection to the NHCC and its mission.
My goals for this project were to honor the legacy and contributions of the Lujan’s to NHCC and the global Latino community without taking up valuable community event space. I wanted to imagine a piece that incorporated an experience that spoke to their generosity and desire to honor the legacy of Latino contributions to the State of New Mexico and the broader southwest while ensuring that the work did not displace valuable community space. I spent many hours on campus studying the area until I realized that the un-utilized lofted hollowed architectural boxlike component above the Meso-American-styled steps could be the space for the work of art. The space below the box was accessible and revealed an environment with enormous potential for reflection and respite; an exterior sala with an incredible opportunity for watching shadow play and cloud movement. The resulting idea was sensitive to the campus’s spatial limits and Architect Antoine Predock’s minimal aesthetic while fully enhancing the larger campus by providing an outdoor sala reflecting the intimate contributions of the Lujan family.