Georgia O'Keeffe was one of America's most important modern artists. The magnificent landscape of New Mexico profoundly affected Georgia O’Keeffe and transformed her work into an appreciation of what she believed “belonged” to her. It is this overwhelming notion of belonging that allowed her to evolve as an artist and it is the backbone for the new Jon Anderson Architecture designed Georgia O'Keeffe Elementary school in her namesake.
The school is meant not as a memorial, but as a vehicle to extract and distill the principles and phenomena of this place, New Mexico, which O’Keeffe became intensely aware and subsequently exposed to the world. It is meant to instill a spirit of limitless growth potential by providing a richly pedagogical, nurturing, and protected environment for the students to thrive.
The school is arranged in a U-shape on an east-west axis with arms that reach out toward the existing playground/park and embrace the Courtyard. Views reconnect the seemingly introverted plan with the Sandia Mountains to the east and the volcanoes and Rio Grande River valley to the west.
The materials are muted neutral colors allowing the building to reflect the seasonal qualities of the sky and are juxtaposed against dark metal skin bringing physical form to the notion of shadow. Color is dynamic being both bold and subtle with brightly colored ceiling planes refracting tinted diffuse light onto adjacent surfaces providing subliminal cues to understanding one’s place within the school.