FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 22, 2023
Santa Fe, NM – The New Mexico Historic Preservation Division (NMHPD) is proud to announce that a one-of-a-kind planned community on Albuquerque’s West Side has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
La Luz del Oeste, a townhouse development planned and developed by internationally renowned architect and New Mexico resident Antoine Predock between 1967 and 1974, was recommended to the Cultural Properties Review Commission for consideration by NMHPD and the La Luz Landowners Association in July. The property was added to the National Register on Oct. 27. The nomination recognizes La Luz del Oeste as worthy of historic preservation because it stands as an excellent example of planning during the New Town movement, while taking a unique approach to incorporating its surrounding landscape.
“New Mexico’s architectural heritage is one of the nation’s most unique, and properties like La Luz del Oeste exemplify that history,” said New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs Cabinet Secretary Debra Garcia y Griego. “We’re proud of NMHPD for helping ensure that this culturally significant property is protected for future generations.”
“Not only is La Luz del Oeste’s architecture and use of nature remarkable, but it also stands out as one of Albuquerque’s earliest examples of affordable middle-income housing,” said State Historic Preservation Officer Jeff Pappas. “This was a development designed to meet the needs of a growing city, while providing an alternative to post-war suburban growth.”
Spanning 24 acres off Coors Boulevard on the banks of the Rio Grande, La Luz del Oeste weaves together blocks of townhouses with tennis courts, fountains, a pool, paths, and public spaces, creating a cohesive development that emphasizes pedestrian access. The development embraces nature and follows the natural contours of the land, with townhouse blocks nestled into the hillside. The development features sweeping views of the riverside Bosque and the Sandia Mountains. Predock explained, “The concept of La Luz involves a basic attitude toward the land: An urban environment and large open natural areas should exist together—especially in New Mexico.”
For his work on La Luz and other signature projects across the American West, Predock has received numerous awards, including the AIA Gold Metal 2006, Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Lifetime Achievement Award, the Rome Prize, and the William Kinne Fellows Traveling Prize. To learn more about the architect’s life and work, visit predock.com.
For all its beauty, La Luz del Oeste was also designed to meet the needs created by Albuquerque’s post-war growth, becoming one of the city’s first multifamily developments aimed at middle-income buyers. Early units that came on the market during the late-1960’s ranged from $29,000 to $40,000. The original Arco Street townhouses offer floor plans and sufficient space for families with children. Subsequent single-story Berm Street units featured floor plans that were ideal for couples or singles.
La Luz retains much of the design integrity that made it a unique space when it was completed nearly 50 years ago. The blocks of townhouses retain most of the building materials adobe, concrete, stucco, and glass from when they were first completed. And the network of pathways and green spaces remain largely unaltered. The result of the integrity at La Luz is that the complex maintains the feeling of a late 20th century residential development.
To learn more about this landmark housing development and its path to the National Register, visit nmhistoricpreservation.org.
About the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division: NMHPD manages, oversees, and coordinates historic preservation activities across the state. The division educates the public about historic preservation and protects thousands of historic and archaeological sites in New Mexico. If you have ever visited an archaeological site, stopped on the side of the road to read a historic marker, or appreciated a well-maintained historic building in your community, you have likely engaged with the work of the NMHPD.