A Contemporary Look at Old Architecture

            Living in a historic neighborhood of Santa Fe, New Mexico means seeing how the past weathers time, some of it gently fading and some deliberately preserved. Our personal lives are laced with ongoing curiosity about the area’s earlier settlers who, through the centuries, designed and constructed homes, worked, raised families and aged here. On a practical level, residency leads to learning the city’s rules and regulations for any new building and remodeling that contributes to keeping the character of a rich and varied heritage. Once this was wide-open New Mexico territory, and as is typical near the center of a town’s commerce, growth gradually filled it in. The withstanding architecture represents the progressive generations of available materials, options for comfort and popular style.
            The artwork, which is the core of this book, developed as unpredictably and collaboratively as the miniature settlement surrounding our 1920s Craftsman Bungalow. What began as an inner-vision of one especially charming nearby house evolved unexpectedly into a yearlong exploration on paper of the unique personality of one after another of the old buildings. Their spirits surfaced beautifully through contemporary mediums, freed by the fresh and surprising outcome inherent in the collaborative process. On closer examination by David A. Rasch from Santa Fe’s Historic Preservation Division, research revealed that aside from a purely artistic appeal, each image in our collection depicts different details noteworthy for their historical context.
            We realized that binding our prints together with background material would speak to lovers of art, Santa Fe, historic architecture, guidebooks and books as art. The pictorial aspects of our work matched with real, documented lineage allow the mind to wander contemplatively between the mysterious and the known, the past and the present. While we may live—or visitors walk—amidst all that has preceded us, it is with today’s eyes that we appreciate and transform, revere and renew our experience of someplace with as many possibilities as our immediate world.
            Here’s a word of explanation for the reader. This book was designed with an aesthetic emphasis, presenting the images with minimal text distractions and arranging them in order of date created. At the same time, the book is meant to invite casual touring of the McKenzie Neighborhood in Santa Fe, to enjoy identifying and learning more about the buildings and area that inspired the artwork. As we chose to respect the owners’ privacy, the designation of each building is given by its district and lot as shown in the New Mexico Historic Building Inventory Form. All of the McKenzie Neighborhood is in SFHD #1 (Santa Fe Historic District #1). With no street addresses to go by, the viewer must seek a bit to find. Inside your book is information to enhance the journey of discovery. There is a section about the history of the street names, illustrated with a spunky map. The Architectural Details section cross-references with the images’ SFHD and lot number, and points out each building’s structural and style elements in a meaningful historic context.
      —Victoria Rogers and Cal Haines