"For Americans, the place we see most clearly the impact of time on a landscape is New Mexico." Perched above the city of Santa Fe, the campus of the Santa Fe Institute is only the latest addition to a saga famously studied by landscape historian John Brinkerhoff Jackson; "What makes the landscape so impressive and beautiful," Jackson continues,"is that it teaches no copybook moral, no ecological or social lesson. It simply tells us that there is another way of measuring time and that the present is, in fact, an enormous interval in which even the newest of man-made structures are contemporary with the primeval."
Feet of the the Sangre de Cristo
The Santa Fe institute's home since 1994 has been the former Hurley Estate, perched in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Named for their red stain at sunset, the southernmost range of the Rocky mountains reach from Colorado to the Santa Fe Forest, which lies just north of the Institute on Hyde Park Road.
Research in the Landscape
Seated on 32 Acres of undeveloped land, the original Hurley estate was extended by the Institute into its current campus from 1994 to 1996. As well as renovations to the Hurley Estate's courtyard, Architect Jeff Harnar supervised the addition of three communal research and study spaces, or "pods," that extend southwards along the ridge of the Hurley property, now threaded with walking trails and new planting.
The sheltered door to the Hurley mansion, built in 1950 in the traditional Santa Fe Territorial style, forms the main entrance to the Institute complex.
The renovated courtyard to the Hurley estate remains a center of life at the Institute, home to everyday lunches, meetings, and celebrations.
Rooms with a view
The stately rooms of the original building form the public spaces of the Institute (seen here during a visit from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.)
As well as space for presentation and conversation, the main rooms of the Institute house space for reflection as well. Open to the public, the Santa Fe Institute Library houses an extended collection of traditional volumes, as well as access to worldwide scientific and research databases.
A Private Landscape
From the more public rooms of the Hurley Estate, the institute's research wing ranges down the Institute's hillside perch, an accesible interior landscape of intimate, working spaces.
Space for Reflection
Individual offices at the insitute are accessible from central, shared workspace, providing the opportunity for both individual reflection, and shared collaboration.
Working with the Seasons
Common research areas are used intensively for summer schools and workshops, accomodating seasonal shifts in the Institute's population and programs.
Working with the Seasons
As the population of researchers and visitors expands in warmer months, so too does the Institute's workspace and daily life, spilling onto hillside terraces and patios, sheltered under awnings and trellises.
Surfaces for Collaboration
No surface of the institute's architecture is immune to reflection and deliberation; the open, glass surfaces of the Insitute's research wing are habitually home to the specialized grafitti of scientific expression.
Seasonal changes in the Institute's landscape are joined by a regular, daily rythm. A singular example is the long-standing tradition of afternoon tea; an intimate exchange of ideas set against the daily demands of research inquiry.
A Connected Landscape
Set in a fragile landscape of Pinon and Juniper, the Santa Fe Institute houses its own, interconnected web of reflection, and engagement. Extending to a global network of collaboration, the insights of the institute's research illuminate, and are illuminated by, its surrounding ecology.