The University of New Mexico's nationally recognized School of Architecture + Planning recently presented its 2023 Jeff Harnar Awards honoring the legacy of the late local architect and his groundbreaking work in contemporary design. The Jeff Harnar Awards program was created by Garrett Thornburg in 2007 to honor the memory of architect Jeff Harnar. 

The ceremony took place at the School of Architecture + Planning’s George Pearl Hall on April 14, which included a lecture by renowned landscape architect, Ted Flato of Lake Flato Architects.

The top prize, Contemporary Architecture in the Southwest, was awarded to FORMATIVE architecture PC, for their project, USFWS Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Stephen Teeters of FORMATIVE architecture PC described how “the refuge balances healthy natural habitat management with opportunities for education, visitor engagement, youth employment, community involvement and stewardship. Our design team collaborated with refuge staff, community members, tribal members, and local artists to develop a comprehensive visitor experience aligned with the needs of the wildlife, people, and the refuge’s vision”.

The Jeff Harnar Awards initiated a new category this year: the Social & Environmental Justice Award. All projects submitted to the 2023 competition were considered for this award, which recognizes an architecture or landscape architecture project that aspires to utilize design as a vehicle for social justice. The jury selected Emerging Objects: Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello for their project, Casa Covida, as the first recipient of this award. Emerging Objects described their design as “a house for co-habitation in the time of COVID, is an experiment in combining 3D printing with indigenous and traditional building materials, methods with employing new and ancient ways of living”.

The award for Unbuilt Architecture was given to assemblageSTUDIO’s design, Parowan, which was “inspired by the deep-rooted resiliency of the native aspen trees, mirrored by the client’s deep-rooted connection to this land, the design builds out from the existing home using circulation spines to connect the new enclosures to the original”.

This year, the First Prize Student Award in Architecture was given to Thomas Bejcek, representing the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, for their project, Silver City Recreation Center. Andrya Mojena Cutié, a student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas was awarded second prize for their submission, Desert Senses.

Hollis Moore, a student at the University of New Mexico, was selected for the First Prize Student Award in Landscape Architecture for their project, How to Love a Mesquite. Second place was awarded to Lia Griesser of the University of New Mexico for their design, Valley of the Mills: ReCommoning Land Along the Upper Rio Mora.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners of the Jeff Harnar Awards! Applications for the 2024 cycle will open next spring.