Elegant, compelling landscape solutions for forty-four years.

CNM "A" Building Courtyard Renovation

Location: Albuquerque, NM

Completed: 2014


On the north edge of CNM's Main Campus, the "A" Building Courtyard was outdated and burdened with deteriorating infrastructure, non-compliant accessibility, poor drainage, safety concerns, and general wear and tear. It was also the victim of decades of piecemeal architecture surrounding the plaza, where each new building ignored its relationship to previous adjacent buildings. 

Our challenge was to connect each of these disparate architectural works, including buildings with 8 different finish floor elevations. The result is a refreshed space that strengthens the interaction between the plaza and adjacent buildings, creates a key destination on the north side of campus, and functions as a gathering space for students of the College and Career High School and events at the adjacent Coal Avenue Theater. 

The project incorporates a number of sustainable features, including permeable pavers, efficient LED fixtures, a green screen, recycled materials and low-maintenance xeric plantings.

CNM Jeanette Stromberg building landscape renovation and plaza

Location: Albuquerque, NM

Completed: 2012

with FBT Architects

MRWM collaborated with FBT Architects on this renovation project, providing an overall schematic landscape master plan for the new outdoor plaza south of the Jeannette Stromberg building.  The plaza will serve as the central hub of CNM’s main campus, with strong connections between surrounding buildings, pedestrian thoroughfares, and public spaces.  

MRWM also provided complete planting and irrigation design for the detailed renovation of the Jeannette Stromberg Building landscape and Phase I of the new outdoor plaza and greenspace adjacent to the building’s south entry.  

Further development of the outdoor plaza area, based on the master plan is planned for the future.

NMSU McFie Circle - master plan, phases I & II

Location: Las Cruces, NM

Completed: 2016

McFie Circle is at the center of the New Mexico State University campus. A vibrant and busy
core with competing pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular requirements, the University was in
need of a renovation solution that streamlined circulation and created an attractive campus
core with a clear hierarchy between all modes of transportation. MRWM met with twleve
NMSU stakeholder groups to gain a clear understanding of the needs of each group and to
resolve conflicts when they arose. MRWM created a generous twenty foot pedestrian and
bicycle thoroughfare that accommodates emergency, maintenance and service vehicles. The
project uses attractive pavement patterns to clearly define the space as a pedestrian and
bicycle corridor and keep it from feeling like a roadway. Colored concrete with a specialty
finish is punctuated with contrasting pavers at intersections, which work together to create
a cohesive hardscape that smoothly connects existing buildings, plazuelas and a future
central lawn. Vehicular service and maintenance access is strategically integrated without
interfering with the flow of pedestrian and bicycle traffic. The walkway incorporates symbols
and striping to delineate lanes for pedestrians and bicycles. Shade trees line each side of the
walk, providing a strong sense of space and much needed shade. New pedestrian lighting
and new site furnishings further unite the large campus center.

This project began as a master planning project that included significant university stakeholder
involvement. MRWM led these efforts, successfully incorporating the multiple needs and
requirements into the final plan. The master plan includes removal of a parking lot in the heart
of the NMSU campus and turning it into a multi-use green space, which will be constructed
in Phase III. The first phase of construction was completed in May 2016. MRWM worked with
NMSU to design the second phase of construction, which was completed in May 2017.

NMSU Zuhl Library

Location: Las Cruces, NM

Completed: 1990

MRWM completed this comprehensive landscape design for the Zuhl Library plaza at New Mexico State University. The California fan palms and their courtyard were designed in a grid pattern inspired by the elegant columns of the Great Mosque at Cordova, in Spain. The palms provide a canopy of full shade throughout most of the year, and a lush foreground for the stately library building.

Ruidoso Middle School

Location: Ruidoso, NM

Completed: 2012

MRWM was the prime consultant for this project, and as such was responsible for thedesign and construction observation of numerous improvements to the campus of this new middle school in the mountains near Ruidoso. 

The school was built in 2009, but only minimal site improvements were made at the time of initial construction, so there were few outdoor amenities for the students. Additionally, erosion was prevalent on numerous steep slopes throughout the campus that were disturbed by the construction. 

MRWM led a team of consultants that included structural and civil engineers, architects, and electrical engineers.  The project scope included three major components: 

  • the design of outdoor gathering areas and classrooms, two synthetic turf fields for passive recreation, and a nature inspired play area; 
  • the redesign of the main access road and existing bus drop off area to improve bus and student circulation; and
  • the design of a new synthetic turf athletic field including lighting, a ticketing and spectator plaza, grading and drainage improvements and a new storage building. 

The landscape design also addressed the drainage and erosion issues and increased passive water harvesting opportunities while keeping maintenance requirements low. 

Revegetation seeding was specified to mitigate disturbance from the original school construction, and great care was taken to select plant material that was appropriate to the region, allowing it to survive during periods of restricted water use.

UNM Smith Plaza/Union Square Renovation

Location: Albuquerque, NM

Completed: Under Construction

Team: McCLain + Yu Architecture & Design, Surfacedesign, Inc. 

Related blog posts: The Renovation of Smith Plaza

Smith Plaza/Union Square is located in the heart of the historic main campus at the University of New Mexico. 

The renovation of Smith Plaza/Union Square aims to create an outdoor “great room” that promotes the university as a Destination University in which all of the campus community can study, work, and socialize. This renovation has the added benefit of enhancing the student experience and recruitment efforts for the University. 

The new Smith Plaza/Union Square will accommodate the diverse population of university students, staff, faculty and community by promoting a balance of academic and social activities. It will provide the flexibility needed to allow for small and large informal gatherings and special events. The objective is to create a safe, accessible, comfortable, connected community and environment for campus users to feel engaged, socialize, relax and study. 

University of New Mexico Alumni Chapel

Location: Albuquerque, NM

Completed: 2013

MRWM worked closely with the Alumni Association and University Landscape Architect on the renovation of the historic University of New Mexico Alumni Chapel. The landscape resets this striking piece of architecture in a culturally and historically appropriate context.

The project consists of the redesign of the Chapel forecourt and the addition of a ‘celebratory wall’ and walkway.  The celebratory wall is designed to display donors’ photographs of memorable events held at this important University landmark.  The forecourt was expanded, creating much-needed flexible exterior gathering space and seating for chapel events.

The landscape design is simple and elegant, and in keeping with the chapel’s historic Franciscan Mission architectural style. Referencing traditional landscape features, the forecourt includes flagstone paving, a rose garden, a stone fountain, and a mini-orchard of non-fruiting crabapple trees.

MRWM controlled costs on this project through value engineering that included a reduction in the area of the concrete walk by limiting the walk to critical extents. Further cost savings were made by having the contractor build the fountain rather than specifying a pre-manufactured product. An additive alternate was developed for the back of the Chapel to take advantage of available construction funds if the bid came in lower than expected. 

UNM college of Education Building

Location: Albuquerque, NM

Completed: 2010

with Gregory T. Hicks and Associates

The first LEED Platinum certified project in New Mexico, the UNM College of Education is a new addition to the existing College of Education building on the main UNM campus.

The landscape design contributes to the LEED certification through its water efficiency, recycled content, use of regional materials, restoration of habitat through site development, storm water design quantity and quality control and the inclusion of bicycle storage.

The design takes the usual pond-like storm water detention pond required for new buildings and transforms it into a long channel that winds around the building. This is not only more aesthetically interesting, but also allows more water to infiltrate and reach adjacent plants. Plant selection was carefully considered to match the existing campus aesthetic, be vandal resistant, provide year-round interest and be low maintenance.