Mesa del Sol is a 20-square mile mixed use development within the city limits of Albuquerque. The development incorporates housing and commercial spaces. The entire project subscribes to a New Urbanist philosophy which creates a strong community feel by incorporating features of traditional cities. There is a strong emphasis on maximizing walking, bicycling and transit use to help reduce the need of private automobiles.
Mesa del Sol approached Antoine Predock Architect and Jon Anderson Architecture to design their new Town Center Building. This three story mixed use building places two stories of office lease space above a ground level of retail uses. Included, is a detached wing, connected by a bridge, that houses the new University of New Mexico Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media School. The client wanted an iconic building that would set the stage for the beginning of the development and become the hub of social activity.
More than just an iconographic symbol, the building serves three important functions, all with the shared purpose of bringing a community together. Firstly, is its civic presence. It physically and metaphorically is the center of a completely new town, a place that inspires belonging and pride of one’s community. It is sited at the apex of University Boulevard welcoming all visitors of Mesa Del Sol and encouraging them to interact with it and its vast open park space directly adjacent to the building.
Secondly, the building’s function is to provide retail spaces along the ground level to invigorate the public dialogue. Cafes, business services, boutiques and restaurants are planned to activate the town center and provide the potential for residences to have their own businesses close to their homes. This lower level is porous and transparent so that pedestrians and breezes can move through freely and visually.
Thirdly, the upper levels provide thousands of square feet of office space, again to reinforce the notion of useful spaces that also work to keep a community within a reasonable amount of distance from their homes and businesses. The offices and conference rooms are arranged in a manner so that the views of the landscape are limitless in all directions and embrace the horizon in a way that is uncommonly captured. It celebrates Albuquerque, and it celebrates New Mexico.