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Old Albuquerque Municipal Airport Building

By Edith Cherry and James See – December 28, 2020


Address:  2920-A Yale Blvd, SE, Albuquerque, NM  87106

Access:  The lobby and former dining room are open to the public and can be rented for special occasions.  Parking access is on George Rd. SE. However, the portions of the building leased to the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) for their offices are closed to the public.

The Old Albuquerque Municipal Airport Building was an important stop in the early transcontinental flights between Chicago and Los Angeles. It was the only major airport in the nation built in the Spanish Pueblo Revival style. The design evoked the place of arrival, the Southwest, rather than the technological advances of flight that many airport designs sought to represent.

Photo #2 Plane Side copy

The airport was a part of the New Deal which intended to put people to work. The design made construction more labor-intensive because the building frame was poured-in-place concrete with adobe brick infill; the adobes were made on site.  The building’s form includes additive masses that contribute to its complexity and reflect traditional adobe buildings.

Photo #3 Construction copy

Passengers arrived and departed through a portál, a covered porch on the plane side. Imitation vigas extended beyond all the exterior stuccoed walls.  Floors were sandstone pavers.  Ceilings of important spaces had concrete or steel beams covered in carved wood and herringbone-patterned latillas.  The beams were painted with Native American motifs.

Photo #4 Historic Interior
Historic Interior
Photo #5 Lobby Interior
Restored Interior

As expectations for air travel increased, support spaces were added to the terminal. Some additions were sympathetic to the building style and some were not.  In 1965, the new Albuquerque Sunport opened, and the Old Airport served as the initial home for the Albuquerque Museum (1968-1979).

The restoration of the building removed the unsympathetic additions and brought the building back to the 1942 composition.  Other improvements included Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations, insulation of the walls and roof, new double-paned windows inside the original windows, and restoration of the lobby window openings and portál on the plane side.

Completed:  1939
Architect:  Ernest Blumenthal
Contractor:  Works Progress Administration (WPA)
Restoration Completed:  Phase I:  1998   Phase II: 2002
Restoration Architect:  Cherry/See/Reames, Architects, LLC

Landscape Architect:  G. Robert Johns, ASLA< Restoration Contractor Phase I: Telstar Construction Co. Inc. Restoration Contractor Phase II: T. A. Cole & Sons, General Contractors, Inc.


New Mexico Heritage Preservation Award (2000)
The Albuquerque Conservation Association Award of Merit (2002)
AIA New Mexico Merit Award (2003)

National Register of Historic Properties:  #89000348 (1989)
NM State Register of Cultural Properties:  #482 (12/3/1976)

City of Albuquerque Landmark  https://www.cabq.gov/planning/boards-commissions/landmarks-commission/historic-landmarks







2 responses to “Old Albuquerque Municipal Airport Building”

  1. Marjorie Devon Avatar
    Marjorie Devon

    I am interested in exploring the possibility of renting the Old Airport building for a special event September 1-3, 2023. I don’t see any contact information, although it says it’s available to rent. Can you help, or refer me to someone who can?


    1. klh048 Avatar

      The old airport is owned and managed by the city of Albuquerque. Try calling the 311 Community Contact Center call center. They can refer you to the right person.


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