Our office designed seven new and renovated student housing casitas at the Southern Methodist University in Taos campus. The project, which is the first phase of a multi-phase master plan for the SMU campus, received LEED Gold certification. The Taos campus was developed as SMU’s archaeology field school when the University acquired the property in 1964.
The scope of work included the renovation of six student casitas from bunk arrangement to private rooms, and a new 18-bed student casita including a large living room with a vaulted ceiling and study area. The renovations and new building design reflect the Northern New Mexico vernacular and connect to existing pedestrian trails that link the rural campus.
SMU is committed to sustainability and all of the designs reflect a commitment to LEED Silver certification at a minimum. The seven student housing buildings achieved LEED Gold through the multi-building campus program of the U.S. Green Building Council. The buildings are highly insulated and utilize water-harvesting pumice wicks, energy efficient mechanical and electrical systems, low-flow plumbing fixtures, drought-resistant vegetation, passive solar orientation, natural ventilation, radiant heating, and recycled content materials. Regional materials such as insulated concrete forms and structural insulated panels were utilized in the new multi-bed student casita. The buildings also include an educational component so that students and visitors can learn about the specific green building components as well as green housekeeping methodologies for long term sustainability.