A 1925 Rare Beauty Gets an Upgrade
The Harwood Art Center building is so rare in NM, historic preservation experts look outside the state for comparable structures.
Originally built for the Harwood Girls School in 1925, the building sat neglected before Escuela del Sol Montessori took over the campus in the 90s. Operating mostly out of the campus' large WPA adobe, the school decided to convert Harwood's former dorm rooms into artist studios. An irreplaceable cultural gem was born.
When I first began working with Escuela and Harwood's team, I asked, "If money were no issue, what would you do first?" The answer was a draw between green sustainability and the urgency of historic preservation: "We're Escuela del SOL. We want to be solar and Harwood's roof is perfect!... But also we're really worried about the windows. " Those gorgeous windows were showing their 95+ years, making some studios feel way too al fresco. In some cases, the panes were literally falling out.
In 2021, the first dream came true when a local solar company with Escuela ties committed the huge in-kind gift of an array on Harwood's newly replaced roof. The array now generates all of the campus electricity!
A year later, the window project -- a massive effort involving historic preservation architects and 200 custom-designed windows -- is possible in part thanks to the support of a major donor. Installation began this fall and (we hope!) will be done before we ring in 2023.
Leave a Reply.
Emilie, Principal and Owner