The Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce represents the current economic aspirations and cultural identity of Barelas with a building that adapts an idealized image of New Mexico’s Hispanic traditions to industrial materials, contemporary purposes, and a modernist aesthetic.
As part of the revitalization efforts of the 1993 Barelas Sector Development Plan, the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce moved its headquarters to Barelas in 2001. Situated between Barelas’s main commercial and residential thoroughfares, the building occupies a triangular site at the intersection of Fourth Street and Barelas Road Southwest, adjacent to the Joseph J. Baca Plazuela and one block north of the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Designed by the Albuquerque architect Garrett Smith, the $1.8 million, 14,000-square-foot building houses both the Chamber’s offices and the Barelas Job Opportunity Center. Since opening in 2001, the center has provided bilingual education and workforce training to over 8,000 community members, and has continued to pursue its mission of promoting the economic development of local businesses. In 2004–2009, a $3 million expansion added a new 9,000-square-foot building to the west side.
Finished with ochre stucco and a corrugated metal roof, the reinforced concrete structure is organized by the rhythm of a ground-story concrete portico and large casement windows on the second floor. While the tin roof evokes a New Mexico vernacular dating to the nineteenth century, the portico returns to the wooden portals of earlier Spanish Colonial architecture. Made monumental by its symmetrical formality and overscaled windows, the facade lays claim to a heritage of public building that returns via the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe to the architecture of Mexico and ultimately Spain.
City of Albuquerque. Barelas Sector Development Plan. April 2008. Accessed January 19, 2016. https://www.cabq.gov.
Herrera, Dan. “Hispano Chamber Brings Ambitious Project to Barelas.” Albuquerque Journal, February 11, 2001.
Mayfield, Dan.“Hispano Chamber Starts Moving to Barelas.” Albuquerque Tribune, March 26, 2001.
National Hispanic Cultural Center. Barelas a Través de los Años. Albuquerque, NM: National Hispanic Cultural Center, 2010.
Robinson-Avila, Kevin. “Hispano Chamber enlarges campus, training facilities.” Albuquerque Business First, November 8, 2009.