Spaceport America terminal
The Virgin Galactic Terminal Hanger at Spaceport America is the recipient of the 2014 Jeff Harnar Award for Contemporary Architecture in New Mexico.

The Thornburg Foundation announces that the recently completed Virgin Galactic Terminal Hanger at Spaceport America receive the 2014 Jeff Harnar Award for Contemporary Architecture in New Mexico, on Friday, Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m. in the University of New Mexico School of Architecture & Planning (George Pearl Hall) auditorium. Immediately following the awards ceremony the annual Harnar Lecture will be presented by Bradford Cloepfil, AIA, principal of the internationally acclaimed architecture firm Allied Works Architecturewith offices in Portland, Ore. and New York. 

Sited in the remote landscape region approximately 25 miles southeast of Truth or Consequences, the Spaceport America terminal was selected from submissions of completed projects located throughout the state.

The concept for this facility resulted from an earlier design competition sponsored by the State of New Mexico and the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, won by a collaboration of SMPC Architects of Albuquerque (Architect of Record) and Foster + Partners in London (the lead design Architect). 

Considered the most prestigious recognition for contemporary architectural design in New Mexico, the Jeff Harnar Award also includes a $10,000 prize to the submitting architectural firm.

Established by the Thornburg Foundation, the Jeff Harnar Award for Contemporary Architecture was created to encourage excellence and creativity in design. The annual program is intended to also honor the memory of Jeff Harnar, a talented Santa Fe architect who successfully crafted modern materials and innovative design for projects that reside comfortably and respectfully with the rich architectural heritage and diversity found in New Mexico.   

The 2014 jury was comprised of architects Michael Fifield, FAIA, Eugene, Ore.; and Tania Salgado, AIA, Denver, Colo.; along with Alf Simon, FCSLA, UNM associate dean and professor of landscape architecture; and Diego Antonio Carbajal, UNM graduate architecture student.

As with previous Harnar Award programs, the selection panel was impressed by both the breadth and large number of excellent projects that were submitted for the competition. Jury Chair Michael Fifield noted that the jury was given the difficult task of selecting a single project from a large number of entries for the Harnar top award; one, that in its estimation, best fulfilled the criteria for this prestigious prize. 

“The design of this iconic facility for the spaceport seeks inspiration from the context of the surrounding landscape, resulting in a powerful form, but one that blends with the larger context and landscape framework of the region.” Fifield said. “The expressive, innovative form of the undulating roof - like the shifting, moving desert sands - seems timeless, not unlike space itself.”  

The jury also noted that even with a modest budget for the project, the architects were able to accomplish the functional imperatives of the future operations of Virgin Galactic. “While providing Spaceport America a memorable identity, the design also demonstrates the innovative utilization of available materials and current technologies, incorporating proven sustainable practices,” they reported.

The jury also chose to formally recognize a residence located in the Galisteo Basin Preserve near Lamy, N.M., with an Honorable Mention citation. This striking dwelling was designed by Jon Dick, AIA, principal of the Santa Fe based architecture firm Archeo

A reception and opening of the exhibition of the submissions for the 2014 Harnar Award for Contemporary Architecture caps off the evening in the Pearl Hall Gallery.