Isleta Pueblo Politics

By Christopher L. Abeita

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Work of Art or Waste of Money?

The following video shows the construction of the Isleta Tribal Services Complex.  RMKM Architects designed the building (Rohde, May, Keller & McNamara).  In 2011, RMKM Arcihitects received two honor awards from the AIA for designing this building (American Institute of Architects). 

Specifically, the building is the winner of the ENR Southwest Best of 2011 Award of Merit for a Government/Public Building (Engineering News Record); 2012 Associated General Contractors New Mexico Best Buildings award for a $10-$20 Million Dollar Project; and the 2012 NAIOP New Mexico Awards of Excellence for a Civic/Public Project (National Association of Industrial and Office Properties).

The square footage of the multi-level building complex is 56,270. It houses the Fire Department, Police Department, E911, the Isleta Tribal Courts, the Isleta Appellate Court, the Isleta Tribal Council, a Wellness Center, and various other tribal administrative offices.

A person awarding the architects an award for this building commented, “[It is] a beacon to the community and passersby alike, the composition speaks to [Isleta’s] history while signaling a new, progressive future.”

Kirk Gittings, Architectural Photographer, produced this video.


My Comment — The tangled web of steel tubing is just down right ugly and the construction of the tubes around the building was a serious waste of money.  I still have no idea what it’s supposed to represent.  I wish some white guy would tell me what part of our culture it represents because I still haven’t found a tribal member that knows what it is.

As for interior, the Isleta Tribal Council’s meeting room is absolutely terrible in terms of its acoustics. You can’t hear the Council members speaking unless they use their microphones.  They can’t even hear each other as they all stare at the wall since they don’t even face each other at their meetings. 

But, what the hell do I know?  I’m not architect.



What are your thoughts?

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