CNM Art Department/KC Building Renovation

Albuquerque, New Mexico

The Central New Mexico Community College Art Building is a remodel of the Ken Chappy building on the CNM Main campus. The new building will accommodate the art program which consists of Printmaking, Jewelry, 3D art, Drawing, Painting, Digital Art and Digital Photography. The 1977 Ken Chappy building is a brutalist style, donut shaped, courtyard building with heavy brick walls and minimum transparency and daylight. The CNM Art faculty wanted to transform the building to be a visual beacon for the art department while creating an inspiring place for students to engage in work and with each other.

SMPC’s design solution enclosed the courtyard with an illuminated translucent wall panel system that acts as a lantern in the evening and brings soft diffused natural light into the high-bay Drawing and Painting studios during the day. The existing heavy uniform walls are eliminated and a new dynamic textured façade with openings steps back to offer a covered sculpture garden creating a blended transition from interior to exterior. The strategically placed Art Gallery gives students and visiting artists the opportunity to display work that the public may view as they enter the building.

SMPC worked closely with CNM Administration to adequately size the programs and studio spaces by engaging in extensive utilization studies that included reviewing research from CNM’s peer institutions.  SMPC worked with CNM, the CMAR Franken Construction to devise a construction fencing and traffic plan that would impact the campus as minimally as possible while keeping students and faculty safe.

Photo Credit: Kirk Gittings Photography


  • Re-purpose of an existing building
  • Creates and inspiring and creative space
  • Visual beacon for the Art Department
  • Sculpture Garden


  • American Institute of Architects (AIA) Albuquerque Chapter, Design Awards, Honor Award
  • Associated General Contractors (AGC), New Mexico Chapter, Best Buildings Awards, CMAR Project 
  • NAIOP Awards of Excellence, Merit Award, Education Category