Blog Snapshot of 499 Capstone Project- Jacqueline Smith

New Mexico’s culture and architecture is unique to anywhere else in the world. There is a lack of communication about what makes the state so unique and what it has to offer, especially in the built environment. Important historic buildings are left to dilapidate, and then torn down and replaced with cheap, unsustainable construction. With Albuquerque growing, and development happening all over the city, it is important to preserve historic architecture. What each person defines as important varies, but there are also some officially recognized as historic buildings – In my project I documented an unofficially recognized structure, a lightning shelter on the UNM North Golf Course Urban open space. As an architecture student who has acquired design skills as well as documentation skills I have found interest in the repurposing of old structures that are no longer in use. Because of these factors and after discussing possible projects with my mentor, Francisco Uvina, the Interim Director for the Historic Preservation + Regionalism Certificate Program, he communicated that their was interest in documenting and redesigning the program for the structure. I have conduced in depth research about existing material on the structure. I then visited the site and created sketches, detail scale floor plans, and a 3D model. I will document the structures current condition and make repair suggestions. I will also make a suggested reuse plan, with a program involving Lobo gardens – since they are planning on expanding to the surrounding area in the distant future. The research, plans, and renderings will then be complied to a portfolio with which I will be publishing online, as well as donate a hard copy to the Fine Arts Library, sharing with the parties interested (Including Bernalillo County and UNM Planners), and finally a submittal to the Historic American Building Society. The benefits of documenting this architecture are economic, environmental, and social. Preserving architecture is economic because it does not require the demolition of the existing structure, and saves on construction costs. Preservation is important environmentally because continuing to use a building rather constructing an entire new one requires less new material. What is specifically important about the Lightning house is that it is traditional adobe construction, a method being used less and less in New Mexico. Most importantly to me and what makes me interested in preservation is that it is not disrupting the existing cultural footprint a building has on a neighborhood, and on people. A city should be honest in it’s origins, as well as offer it’s residents a sense of spirit and nostalgia, this is what makes a city truly appealing, and what makes people proud to live there. People who appreciate their surroundings are more likely to be compassionate to the environment and to others. The goal of documenting the lightning house is to make New Mexicans more informed on the rich history of the state’s built environment, and also provide the designs for what could become a sustainable structure with new life.

Hydroponics: Where Have We Come From,Where Will We Go?- Sean Lubell

Some might consider Hydroponics to be at the forefront of non-traditional agricultural practices, but what few realize is that the practice has been around for thousands of years and will continue to be around for the forceable future. In this presentation and attached essay, one will learn about the history of the concept of hydroponics that some theorize stretches back the Ancient Babylonians in the mid 6th c. BCE to its explosion in academia in the middle of the 19th century, and finally, its future usage and its concepts utilized in the near inhospitable deserts of Oman.

blogable snapshot

The Environmental Injustice of High-level Nuclear Waste in the US – Cody Slama

Currently, within the United States of America there is over 80,000 metric tons of high-level nuclear waste, which is considered some of the most dangerous waste on the planet because it remains highly radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. The federal government seeks to consolidate all of this waste into either a permanent repository or a centralized interim storage facility. The current proposals to store HLNW, in a permanent repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada or in centralized interim storage facility’s in New Mexico and on its border in Texas, is an environmental injustice as both of these storage sites disproportionately impact primary people of color and those living below the poverty line. In addition, all three of these facilities, where the federal government is planning on storing all of the Nations HLNW, lack local support and consent from the targeted community’s. Yucca Mountain has been constructed, but faced enough public opposition to make it un-operational. The other two facilities, being built by private corporations, are currently going through a licensing process with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, that would allow them to be constructed. If any one of these facilities began accepting waste, it would set into motion the unsafe transport of HLNW throughout the country putting the entire nation at risk, but more so, in the places where this waste will be stored for an indefinite amount of time. This nuclear waste has the potential to absolutely devastate the land, air, water, and peoples health. It is essential that the Federal Government move away from their current proposed solutions, that carry the weight of being environmental injustices, to alternative solutions that have public support and consent.