2901 Candelaria Rd. NW, Albuquerque, NM 87107
Access: 505 344-7240 | Rio Grande Nature Center
The Rio Grande Valley is a major migratory bird flyway and the Albuquerque Bosque is part of one of the longest cottonwood forests in the world. As architect Antoine Predock has said of this site, “The building can be thought of as a permanent viewing blind set up with controlled apertures offering specific views of the wildlife in its natural habitat.”
Predock designed the Nature Center to be visually hidden in the Bosque, almost part of the infrastructure. From the parking lot, one walks along a path through the cottonwoods and enters the Visitors Center through a galvanized tunnel that could be a culvert. The Center is made of poured-in-place concrete and glass, low-slung and out of site. Visitors look out onto a human-made lake that now seems entirely natural. The major exhibit is nature itself with views from this “bird blind” toward the Sandia Mountains, the nearby fields, the cottonwoods, the lake with turtles sunning themselves, and migrating birds in season stopping by for a rest.
Architect: Antoine Predock
Contractors: John R. Lavis Construction
1994 Collins, Brad, and Juliette Robbins, eds., Antoine Predock, Architects, pp. 16–29. Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., New York.