June

The MetroABQ's Downtown Art & Architecture Junction:

A Quirky, Public Fruit Ave Sidewalk Gallery
Intersects Sweet Luna Blvd Historic Homes

Downtown neighborhoods in the MetroABQ regularly surprise me. Take Luna Blvd for example, which sits smack in the middle of the historic Fourth Ward, just east of 12th St. The neighborhood, which was platted over 110 years ago, includes four blocks of architecturally diverse residential homes that end at Luna Circle, a half-moon street north of Lomas Blvd. Luna Circle was originally a handful of residences & has since evolved into small commercial businesses that make up the half-circle along Lomas. See the map below.

A great MetroABQ Downtown architecture guidebook , issued by the city, describes how the historic Downtown neighborhoods came to be, including Huning Highlands, Eighth & Forrester, & the Fourth Ward. According to the guide, neighborhoods of the Fourth Ward were "never exclusively upper-middle class. Modest cottages sat side by side with the substantial homes of Albuquerque’s influential citizens."

This is evident strolling down Luna Blvd: grand dwellings share property lines with smaller-footprint residences; no matter the size, they all share interesting "frontier-version" architectural styles. A great paragraph from the guide describes this:

"...The railroad brought the latest in manufactured doors, windows, fireplace fronts, interior & exterior trim, roofing shingles & other exterior materials." However, "very often the materials were used to create a frontier version that sought to recreate the homes that people remembered from where they had left. The resulting houses are highly eclectic & demonstrate the creativity of people often working within the constraints of limited resources."

In other words, they made things work. Borrowing a little or a lot, builders combined elements of Bungalow style, Victorian, Territorial, Mediterranean, Spanish Pueblo & even Mission style into the architecture of the homes. This conjunto created an original New Mexico style: SW Vernacular. One pristine example, seen directly above & far below, can only be described as a Spanish Pueblo Revival Mission-style Vernacular home...It's an amazing structure to behold; then turn around to the stunning Bungalow/Mansard Vernacular home across the street, seen directly below, replete with a metal electric sculpture in front...it's a great neighborhood.