Madie Wickstrom, 400 level student
As a 400 level student, a senior here at The University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning, it’s hard to resist the haze of nostalgia that has begun to waft over my last year. Moments of deja-vu and the realization that your studio family will part ways after graduation triggers a retrospective mindset, urging me to cherish every last moment of this life and family that have been mine for the past three years. I am able to realize the weight of my experience here, and how this state, this program, and these people have shaped who I am and what my life will be.
First impressions mean a lot in this profession, and the landscape of the Southwest does not disappoint. UNM SA+P is nestled within a world of dusty-rose tones of adobe and sandy desert landscapes that are reminiscent of a Georgia O’Keeffe painting -actually, they probably are an O’Keeffe painting. New Mexico, known as the Land of Enchantment, has been home and inspiration to many artists and designers, including O’Keeffe, making it an ideal location for a school of design.
Much like our landscape, the culture of our state is seemingly infinite and wonderfully complex. Diverse heritage and histories of Chicanos, Native Americans, Hispanics, and Europeans blend to birth something that is simultaneously ancient and modern, something that is both foreign and familiar; something that is undeniably New Mexican.
This unique setting provides our school, located in the urban center of Albuquerque, with exclusive opportunities and resources like the art galleries of Santa Fe, the alien landscapes of Tent Rocks and White Sands, and a cultural insight to centuries-old indigenous cultures and practices.
Progressive studio projects are carefully curated and implemented with a poignant rigor and quality that is an uncompromising staple of UNM SA+P education. Newly admitted and graduate students alike experience these once-in-a-lifetime projects that range from cultural centers sited in the mesas of Abiquiu, to hands-on, design-build projects in the Barelas Neighborhood of Albuquerque.
The studio culture cultivated at UNM SA+P, something I can speak to first hand, is a pervasive and integral component of what it is to be a student here. With an active AIAS chapter, intramural sports teams, mentorship programs, and impromptu, late-night pizza parties, those who were once considered peers quickly become family.
This semester, our Architect blog series will feature current studio projects, New Mexican culture, new professors, and old traditions through voices ranging from 200 level students, to graduate. Though it will be difficult to put into words, we will try to capture just some of what makes this UNM SA+P journey so magical. I feel an indescribable gratitude to have had this state, this landscape, and this culture surrounding and inspiring me throughout my time in this program.
Want to know if UNM SA+P is the right school for you? Stay tuned as the 2016-2017 UNM AIAS board delves into what life is like within and beyond the walls of the University of New Mexico's School of Architecture and Planning. From the greater Southwest to our own studio culture and family, this blog series will highlight just some of what makes the UNM SA+P experience so unique.