2019 Architecture + Community Award Winner
For newer buildings or sites completed within the last 50 years
that have made our community stronger.
The ABQ Biopark provides the city with an outstanding educational and recreational resource in the four components of its design and mission: The Zoo, Aquarium, Tingley Beach, and the Botanical Garden. The Botanical Garden offers a peaceful and enjoyable venue for families and individuals twelve months a year. The Japanese Garden, Heritage Farm, Rose Gardens, Bugarium, and the extensive model train layout change in fascinating ways from season to season. During the colder months, when many native and exotic specimen plants go dormant, the Mediterranean and Desert Conservatories are an island of color and tropical delight.
The two adjoining conservatories offer two very different botanical environments. In one you will encounter Saguaro Cactus, Creosote bush, Jojoba Tree, African Milk Tree, and a Baja Fairy Duster…desert plants from near and far. On the Mediterranean side you will wonder at the large Carob Tree and the Date Palm as well as a Cinnamon Tree from China, carnivorous Pitcher Plants, Kangaroo Paws, Papyrus, and Bottle Brush. During the late winter the visitor will encounter a profusion of tropical flowering plants on display and the exotic scent of Jasmine.
The Desert and Mediterranean Conservatories were opened in December 1996. Together, they house 10,000 square feet of plant life in two different climate-controlled environments. On the Mediterranean side the climate reflects the hot summers and damp winters found in parts of southern Europe, North Africa, Australia, Chile and California. The Desert side maintains the dry and seasonally hot climate of the American Southwest and the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts. These climates are maintained year-round through the design and operation of the environmental systems. Each side sustains winter temperatures 20 to 30 degrees above Albuquerque’s outdoor lows.
It is easy for city residents to marvel at the plants they see on display without knowing what goes on under their feet and over their heads to keep the environments stable in Albuquerque’s four-season climate. By using different types of glazing in different parts of the buildings, carefully placed vents, masonry heat sinks, and insulation, the building maintains environments with little or no imported energy.
Although designed with a specific purpose as a botanical conservatory, the structure serves as an example of how architectural design, material selection, and energy conservation can produce a sustainable living and working environment in a variable four-season climate.
Architect: Mazria Riskin Odem, Inc. (Santa Fe)
Contractor: Bradbury Stamm Construction
Landscape Architect: Design Workshop
Information submitted by award nominator, complied from various sources.