Tour the architectures in the Southwest - Theater - 3 + Pueblo Deco - 1 :
KiMo Theater (Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA)
One of the attractive examples that the international trend of architecture connected with a local culture is the Puebro Deco in the Southwest of the United States.
In the late 1920's, the Art Deco was popularized in the Paris Universal Exposition. It was introduced into the Southwest and the Pueblo Deco was born in conjunction with a colonial architecture and American Indian culture rooted in the land.
In the era when the railroad opened and the Southwest was noticed as a new tourist attraction, the culture that was inherited there emerged on the front stage as exoticism.
I thought that the stylish design of Art Deco and the simple air of Folklore are not familiar like water and oil, but it was nice.
The Colonial style is also brought from Europe after Columbus has reached at the New Continent, once traced back. 400 years ago, it was the style that was borrowed from other continent. However, it has now become a vernacular style in the Southwest and is associated with a newcomer from Europe, the Art Deco. That is interesting.
A masterpiece of such Pueblo Deco is this Kimo Theater. It faces the main street in downtown Albuquerque where some Pueblo Deco architectures remain. The client Oreste Bachechi asked Boller Brothers who designed it after the travel in the Southwest to create "the most important Indian Theater in America".
The Pueblo Deco is named by Marcus Whiffen and Carla Breeze got up a book titled with Pueblo Deco. Among buildings are either a Pueblo Deco architecture which is extremely close to a colonial architecture or a Pueblo deco architecture which almost looks like the Art Deco unless they keep an eye on the details. The width of the range is the characteristic. This Kimo Theater is just Pueblo Deco in the middle of the strike zone thanks to Bachechi's services.
The rectangular volume and the window division which emphasizes the verticality is Art Deco-like, while the low-rise building and the way that the surface is finished gently with stucco and the corner is processed with roundness is similar to an indian residence and a Pueblo style seen well in Santa Fe, and it gives a roly-poly impression different from a sophisticated and artificial image of the Art Deco.
Looking at the details refering to the book by Carla Breeze, a mosaic tile imitating Hopi's religious spirit Kachina appears on the first floor pillar, the motif of a cloud by the Pueblo tribe and the motif of the orientation by the Navajo tribe as well as the image of a bird taken from the Acoma tribe vase on a belt of terra-cotta on the third floor window, and a mural painting which draws the Taos Pueblo on both sides of the piloti of the entrance. Furthermore, The top of the door and the ceiling are covered with full of Indian patterns.
At first, the exotic designs attract attention, but, if strained the eyes, the staircase designs appears under the exotic designs. Such staircase design, which is often seen in the Art Deco architecture, seems to be a element that shows the relationship with the Art Deco and judge whether it is Pueblo Deco.
By being illuminated with the light of Pueblo Deco, the Kimo Theater and the colleague’s architectures also made their presence clear, but even if we encounter this theater without prior knowledge, the figure that a modern architecture was associated with the regionalism is exceptional.
An indigenous friend of Bachechi praised this finished architecture and gave it the name Kimo. On the side of the indigenous people, it seemed like an architecture conforming to the culture of the Southwest, meanwhile, if the architect aimed for that, there is no need to combine with Art Deco.
I personally guessed that the reason, why the architect didn’t apply just a Colonial style or Pueblo style architecture but dared to add the Art Deco, was that he wanted to draw the line between the architecture just tracing the old days by adding a new breeze as an architect.
Within the walking distance of downtown Albuquerque.
"Pueblo Deco" (Carla Breeze, Rizzolli, 1990)
2018.01 Photos and text in English version and Japanese version
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