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Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space Wins Architecture Award

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
March 16, 2014
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SANTE FE, N.M. (Thornburg Foundation PR) — The Thornburg Foundation is pleased to announce that the recently completed Virgin Galactic Terminal Hanger at Spaceport America will receive the 2014 Jeff Harnar Award for Contemporary Architecture in New Mexico. Sited in the remote landscape region approximately twenty-five miles southeast of Truth or Consequences, the project was selected from submissions of completed projects located throughout the state.

The concept for this unique and solitary facility resulted from an earlier design competition sponsored by the State of New Mexico and the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, won by a collaboration of SMPC Architects of Albuquerque (Architect of Record) and Foster +Partners in London (the lead design Architect). Considered the most prestigious recognition for contemporary architectural design in New Mexico, the Jeff Harnar Award also includes a $10,000 prize to the submitting architectural firm.

Established by the Thornburg Foundation, the Jeff Harnar Award for Contemporary Architecture was created to encourage excellence and creativity in design. The annual program is intended to also honor the memory of Jeff Harnar, a talented Santa Fe architect who successfully crafted modern materials and innovative design for projects that reside comfortably and respectfully with the rich architectural heritage and diversity found in New Mexico.

The 2014 Jury was comprised of architects Michael Fifield, FAIA, Eugene, Oregon; and Tania Salgado, AIA, Denver, Colorado; along with Alf Simon, FCSLA, Associate Dean and Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of New Mexico; and Diego Antonio Carbajal, graduate architecture student at UNM.

As with Harnar Award programs conducted in previous years, the selection panel was impressed by both the breadth and large number of excellent projects that were submitted for the competition. Jury Chair Michael Fifield noted that the Jury was given the very difficult task of selecting a single project from a large number of exciting entries for the Harnar top award; one, that in its estimation, best fulfilled the criteria for this prestigious prize.

“The design of this iconic facility for the spaceport seeks inspiration from the context of the surrounding landscape, resulting in a powerful form, but one that blends with the larger context and landscape framework of the region,” Fifield commented. “The expressive, innovative form of the undulating roof — like the shifting, moving desert sands — seems timeless, not unlike space itself.”

The Jury also noted that even with an exceedingly modest budget for the project, the architects were able to accomplish the functional imperatives of the future operations of Virgin Galactic. “While providing Spaceport America a memorable identity, the design also demonstrates the innovative utilization of available materials and current technologies, incorporating proven sustainable practices.”

The Jury also chose to formally recognize a residence located in the Galisteo Basin Preserve near Lamy, New Mexico, with an Honorable Mention citation. This striking dwelling was designed by Jon Dick, AIA, principal of the Santa Fe based architecture firm Archeo.

The formal presentation of the 2014 Harnar Award for Contemporary Architecture will be conducted Friday evening, February 28, at the UNM School of Architecture & Planning in the Pearl Hall Auditorium, commencing at 5:30 PM.

Immediately following the awards ceremony the annual Harnar Lecture will be presented by Bradford Cloepfil, AIA, principal of the internationally acclaimed architecture firm Allied Works Architecture, with offices in Portland, Oregon and New York.

A reception and opening of the Exhibition of the submissions for the 2014 Harnar Award for Contemporary Architecture will cap off the gala evening in the Pearl Hall Gallery.

One response to “Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space Wins Architecture Award”

  1. Hemingway says:

    Sir Richard Branson promised years ago that he would build a first class hotel by the spaceport. What happened to the hotel idea? He has invested absolutely no money in property in New Mexico. Where will be the training facility?

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