When New Mexico Museum of Art was founded in 1917, it aspired to be a destination for contemporary art in the American Southwest. In 2014, as the museum approached its centennial, it reexamined its founding vision with an expansion to the Santa Fe Railyard District: Vladem Contemporary.
Robert and Ellen Vladem made the lead gift of $4 million in 2017 in a public-private campaign that resulted in $20.2 million partnership. The architectural team DNCA + StudioGP led by Devendra Contractor, Deirdre Harris, and Graham Hogan was commissioned to create an innovative structure that adapted an existing building as a showplace for the art of our time. In 1936, the Charles Ilfeld Company commissioned the building from contractor William Cooper as its Santa Fe warehouse and, after closing its operations there in 1959, sold the building to the state in 1960 as the new home of the State Records Center and Archives, under Director of Records Joseph F. Halpin. DNCA + StudioGP adapted the warehouse to serve as a museum space and added a second floor in the bridge-like form that spans the original structure.
This adaptive reuse of the building allows the New Mexico Museum of Art to increase its commitment to contemporary art and education programming through the addition of 9,969 square feet of exhibition space, 2,307 square feet of programmatic space in the Van Mabee Education Center, and 4,100 square feet to collections storage.