MSL Teams for Midtown Arts & Design Alliance Project

MSL will lead the energy systems design process for the redevelopment of the Midtown Arts and Design Alliance (MADA) complex at Midtown Campus in Santa Fe, a project led by the Santa Fe Art Institute with the Alliance members and development team. The complex is comprised of several Visual Arts Center buildings designed by the esteemed Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, including the SFAI building, and two adjacent World War II studio barracks, totaling approximately 54,000 square feet.

MSL will form a team to develop design parameters, and conduct feasibility and economic assessments, featuring these main elements: local PV generation, beneficial electrification, battery energy storage, advanced building energy automation, Building-to-Grid (B2G) integration, and a microgrid integrating these elements with the goals of improved efficiency and economics, and minimal carbon emissions. In addition, the project partners hope that this will serve as a model for other developments within Midtown Campus and throughout the City.

Development Pathway

The 64-acre Midtown Campus is a priority project for the City of Santa Fe, and will become a mixed-use community in the geographic center of the city. The initial sites selected for development are the Visual Arts Center (VAC) and barracks, the film production studios, and the Garson Theater. SFAI, with the MADA partners and project development team (including MSL, the National Development Council, MASS Design, and Sarcon Construction) have been selected by the City to move forward on preliminary feasibility studies toward a vision to build a vibrant and creative cultural hub in the center of Santa Fe.

As an initial step, SFAI was also selected for an award through the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative, in collaboration with Environment & Culture Partners and RMI, to catalyze climate action in the visual arts. Funds will be used by SFAI to advance an electrification and solar installation study for the buildings as part of the energy systems design.

Ultimately, the MADA project is envisioned as a cultural, economic, and community connector – bringing together Santa Fe’s north and south sides; connecting creative practice with education and career pathways; and connecting Northern New Mexico with artists and creative practitioners from around the world. The energy system will help not only to reduce the buildings’ climate footprint and operating costs, but is aligned with the Midtown Master Plan goals and climate objectives. The team brings the following values and expertise to the project:

  • Revitalization and Equitable Development: Using a mixed-income model and community-based strategies, MADA will prioritize deeper resources and leadership development of the local creative ecosystem;
  • World Class Community Arts and Design Programming: The MADA partners are all trusted and invested community organizations and regional institutions who will bring unique and world-class arts, design, and educational programming to revitalize Midtown as a new and critically needed cultural hub;
  • Resource Sharing and Collaboration: The partners share a common vision to optimize and share resources, services, and space, and to collaborate on meaningful projects and programs for the benefit of Santa Fe and the Northern New Mexico community;
  • Education, Youth and Child Development, and Workforce/Enterprise Development: The facilities will increase access and opportunity to live and thrive in Santa Fe, through multi-generational educational and community programming and through socially just, work-based learning tracks that meet local labor market needs and allow an emerging workforce to gain access to marketable skills; and
  • Regenerative, Holistic, and Healthy Design and Operations: From working with local vendors to investing in renewable energy, the team will bring a holistic “beyond sustainable” lens to the way in which the Visual Arts Center and Barracks facilities are redeveloped and managed.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a larger arts district at the Midtown Campus site through excellent design and planning. MSL is excited to partner with SFAI, MADA, and the City of Santa Fe to create a world class arts and design hub that is accessible, equitable, and resilient, and a model for advanced energy design and operational performance.