The Joseph Montoya Instructional facility is a 41,000 sf multi-purpose classroom and lab building for Central New Mexico’s northeast Albuquerque campus. Located on an extremely steep site dropping 16 ft in elevation, this building site was chosen over others to keep the campus compact and allow students to retain their short commutes between classes. The building’s program was split into two levels by tucking activities that benefit from low light levels, such as the computer labs and technology labs, into the slope on the lower level. This approach also alleviated drainage problems on the south side of the campus and provided much-needed pedestrian circulation via a newly developed student plaza and gathering area. By utilizing an undeveloped and problematic area of campus a new campus entry and pedestrian link was created.
The building’s form and materials blend with the surrounding campus. It is articulated with glass and steel and capped with an inverted metal roof that reinforces the concept of the building being a pathway to the rest of the campus. Deep-set openings and metal sunshades in south facing facades provide passive solar control and “green” building benefits. Translucent panels in the Commons provide an abundance of natural but diffuse light.