Genoveva Chavez Community Center

For photos, visit Mazria, Riskin, and Odems Inc.

Address: 3321 Rodeo Road, Santa Fe.


From the St. Francis exit on I-25 (exit 282), head north on St. Francis for about 1/2 mile, turn left on Sawmill, turn right on Rodeo. Then proceed 2.44 miles to Chavez Center (which is on the right). The information line at the Center is (505)955-4000.


This building has large windows on the south side delivering solar gain in the winter onto a large pool, a south-facing clerestory for additional winter solar gain and light, and skylights on the roof and some small north-facing windows for daylighting.


Architects of Mazria, Riskin, and Odems Inc.


This building demonstrates that sustainable design entails much more than just solar architectural ideas and interesting aesthetics. Quoting from the website of Mazria, Riskin, and Odems Inc.

We began the Genoveva Chavez Community Center project by successfully facilitating a series of workshops and focus groups with City and County governments, City residents, neighborhood organizations, youth and sports clubs, various interest groups and adjacent land owners to generate a community-endorsed land purchase and annexation agreement, master plan and facility program.

The program of the Genoveva Chavez Community Center emerged from the workshops as a desire in Santa Fe to bring the community together through shared activities. Our goal was to design a facility that would reflect this desire and also express its unifying purpose by physically integrating the building into the cityscape.

To express the Community Center's purpose as a community gathering place, the three main activity areas, the Natatorium, Ice Arena and Gymnasium are grouped around a multi-level atrium space, which visually connects all four acres of space in the Center. This transparency fosters a sense of community within the building by allowing people to sense and experience other activities while they are swimming, ice skating, running, strength-training, dining or passing from one area to another.

The relationship between the Santa Fe community and its unique setting was also important to us in the design of the facility. The special quality and intensity of light in Santa Fe, which continually changes through out the day and from season to season, animates the main spaces in the building through clerestories, skylights and windows. We created a visual connection to the surrounding landscape and mountains through large openings in the exterior walls, each opening framing a distinct view. In addition to daylighting, passive solar heating, passive cooling, water conservation and water harvesting strategies were incorporated into the facility's design to support Santa Fe's commitment to preserving its unique environment.

NMSEA Comment:

Sustainable design of large buildings, as represented here by the Genoveva Chavez Community Center, has taken great leaps forward over the past decade. An illustrative example is the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating Program, which is now the basis for many major building projects across the US. LEED is a voluntary, consensus-based, market-driven building rating system based on existing, proven technology.  It evaluates environmental performance from a "whole building" perspective over a building's life cycle, providing a definitive standard for what constitutes a "green building". The LEED system can be used to guide project teams who want to set quantifiable goals for creating a sustainable facility. For more information, contact the U.S. Green Building Council; 1015 18th Street, NW, Suite 805 Washington, DC  20036. Phone: (202) 828-7422; FAX: (202) 828-5110; URL: