Information Commons for SMU-in-TAOS

Fort Burgwin, established in 1852 as headquarters for regional U.S. military operations, was acquired by Southern Methodist University and has become home for summer study programs in Taos. In re-constructing the original layout of buildings at the fort, SMU has created a variety of spaces including classrooms, housing and offices. The newest addition to the campus is the Information Commons using healthy, green and recycled materials to maximize energy efficiency. The new institutional building houses state-of-the-art computer facilities and a reference center including special collections of books, maps and other reference materials. The librarian’s quarters are attached.

While preserving the historic fort aesthetic with a log exterior, the structure’s super- insulated Rastra block walls maintain a comfortable indoor temperature in the height of the summer. Natural light from skylights in wood ceilings with exposed beams and operable windows perpetuate the summer camp/ fort atmosphere in the reading and research spaces. A colored concrete floor simulates the earthen floors of the past.

The computer room and rest rooms have their own entrance so that these spaces may be accessed when the library is closed. The computer room is further capable of being divided into two spaces, so that students can continue working while a class is in session.



Photos by Deborah Hunter, Jonathan Blaustein and EDGE

5000 SF
Completed 2004
Built by Chuby’s Construction
Taos, New Mexico