Murals of the Zimmerman library, University of New Mexico

Here we see the Zimmerman Library on the main campus of the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. The building was designed, like so many buildings in New Mexico, by John Gaw Meem.

Meem used architectural forms such as battered walls, vigas, and stepped parapets in combination with modern building techniques and materials to evoke the past without imitating it directly. He explained in a 1966 article that he used symbolic forms to “evoke a mood without attempting to produce an archaeological imitation.”

Meem’s finest works all found resonance with the soft, earthbound forms and materials that were part of the vernacular architecture of the Old Southwest.

Meem also headed the committee that wrote the 1957 Historical Zoning Ordinance for Santa Fe, which locked in the city’s distinctive style. I pilfer from Wikipedia a gallery of some of his works and restorations:

A personal favorite is La Quinta, at Los Poblanos Ranch and Inn.

We poked our heads into the Zimmerman library to see Kenneth Adams’ WPA-era murals, Three Peoples. However, the librarian informed us these are now covered, because, as she put it, some people find them offensive.

(lifted from here).

Kind of get it. These murals loom over big rooms at the library of the school, whose undergrads are 46.4% Hispanic. You can arrange to see the murals apparently, but checking them out online was good enough for us.

Strangely there’s another mural, the history of which I don’t know, which remains uncovered:

Another good mural in New Mexico:

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