Our proposal for the Site Santa Fe 2014 biennial exhibition entrance is a grand landform-like canopy that alludes to Santa Fe’s layered cultural histories. As an enveloping landscape created from an aggregation of Kraft paper tubes, experience of the structure suggests that its formation may have been subtractive, as if through erosion or excavation. Informed by the regions’ histories of shaping the earth for dwellings, community and spiritual spaces as well as through mining and extraction, the temporary structure reconnects threads of Santa Fe’s history from ancient to contemporary cultures.
Made from recycled and recyclable Kraft paper tubes with a water resistant coating, the canopy shades the plaza in front of the gallery in a dappled pattern that changes with the sun’s course across the sky. A large circular enclosure is located near the building’s main entrance. The enclosure’s shape is informed by the kiva, and appears to be carved from the landscape-like mass around it. The shade canopy is corbeled off of the enclosure and a second support, forming a large umbrella composed of small circular apertures. The structure’s Kraft paper tubes are connected along their sides, assembled in modules and erected in sections. The circular enclosure is covered with a simple wood and canvas parasol that is notched into the top ends of the tubes.
Presenting a neutral, earth-toned surface to the outside, the tubes’ interiors are colored brilliant turquoise, alluding to the long history and shifting value of the commodity’s extraction from the region. A valuable export in ancient times, turquoise became worthless under Spanish colonization; it competed in value with gold at the turn of the century, and is now - as a mineral and a color – a commonplace identifier of Santa Fe’s folk art reputation in the wider world. The Kraft paper color makes reference to Pueblo adobe architecture and the landscape itself while the turquoise color, barely concealed as an interior surface, stands out against the brown paper wrapper. The contrast can be read as locally and architecturally appropriate while also allowing that there may be dissonance between Santa Fe’s vibrant arts identity and its uniform architectural design guidelines. In that sense this temporary structure is compliant on the outside, and animated - even potentially rebellious - on the inside, speaking both the city’s current status and its history of colonization.