Santa Fe Railyard


Scope and Philosophy

Organization

Design Details

Urban Space Gallery


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Concept

The Santa Fe Railyard is a public/private space in the downtown area of the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico, that is enjoyed by residents and visitors. It made use using a former railyard, and it includes a park, a farmers market, art galleries, restaurants, and shops. It was also designed to serve as a environment-living exhibition of environmentally-friendly infrastructures and efficient urban systems.


History

The railyards, built in the late 19th Century by the Atchison, Topeka, and Sante Fe Railroad (now part of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway), was originally very active, but as railroads declined, the site fell into disuse. In 1995, the City of Santa Fe, with the help of The Trust for Public Land, purchased 50 acres of this area with the intention of preserving its character and historic significance. After an in-depth, community-based planning process, the re-envisioned Railyard that opened to the public in 2008. The city signed a long-term agreement with the Santa Fe Railyard Community Corporation to provide nonprofit management of the site. The award-winning design by Ken Smith, Frederick Schwartz, and Mary Miss was chosen for the plaza, park and walkways.  



Photo ©  Frederic Schwartz Architects
Santa Fe Railyard Plaza

The Plaza and the Park

The Santa Fe Railyard Plaza (shown above) is the heart of The Railyard and the focus of community and social activity. Its design offers opportunities for special events, temporary performance areas, community gatherings, and every day uses for individual food vendors and performing artists. A line of telegraph-style light poles capped with solar powered blue railway lights run the length of the site, demarcating the main circulation path. A grand pedestrian walkway continues along the Farmers Market where a long shade structure is used by market vendors during the day, and provides a well-lit passageway at night. Trees are carefully placed to preserve long distance views to the Sangre de Cristo mountains.


The park includes shaded and grassy sections, children playgrounds, and picnic tables. Over 300 trees and several thousand drought-resistant plants in the Railway Gardens and elsewhere create an oasis in Santa Feís often dry environment.


SantaFe.org, Santa Fe Railyard Park
Photo © Branden Klayko

The Farmer's Market

The Santa Fe Farmersí Market , with over 150 vendors offering diverse agricultural products. Fresh, local produce is available from May through November on the outdoor Railyard Plaza and year-round inside the Farmers' Market Pavilion.


The Farmers Market, the largest in New Mexico, assures that all products sold by its vendors are always locally grown by the people selling them. 100% of the vegetables, fruits, and nursery plants available at Santa Fe Farmers Markets are grown right in northern New Mexico. The year-round inside market is open on saturdays, and the outside market is open on tuesdays.


The Railyard Artisan Market is held every Sunday, 10am-4pm, year-round, in the Farmersí Market Pavilion. This event features live music and over 40 artists, including fiber art, paintings, hand blown glass, herbal products, sculpture, photography, jewelry, and lots more.


Photo ©  SantaFe.org, Santa Fe Farmersí Market

Arts District

The Railyard Arts District is home to a group of contemporary art galleries joined in the Santas Fe Gallery Association. The goal of this effort is to create programming, bring together world-class international contemporary art, and to advance the message of contemporary art to the community. These galleries, including the major SITE Santa Fe museum, are housed in warehouse-style buildings within walking distance of each other. An Artwalk is sponsored on the last Friday of every month from five to seven PM.


Warehouse 21 Teen Center

The Santa Fe Teen Arts Center, Warehouse 21, is a center for youth entertainment, entrepreneurial opportunities and artistic production. The center offers programs in the performing, media and visual arts which have served over 25,000 youth ages twelve to twenty-one from all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. The mission of the center is to inspire youth to empower themselves through artistic expression and productivity. The warehouse structure houses two state-of-the-art performance spaces, a recording and mixing room, a silk-screen and fashion studio, and amedia arts lab.


Part of the center's mission is job skills training, and kids with minor convictions can work off part of their sentences doing community service at the center. Many of these teens return to the center, sometimes being employed, after their sentences are served.



Photo ©  By permission/Santa Fe Railyard Community Corporation
Warehouse 21 Teen Center

The Santa Fe Depot

The Santa Fe Depot is the northern end of the New Mexico Rail Runner Express commuter rail line. This line runs from Santa Fe south through Albuquerque to the city of Belen, and it was completed in 2008. The station was originally built by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad (now part of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway) in 1880.


Photo ©  SantaFe.org,
New Mexico Rail Runner at Santa Fe Railyard

Photo ©  Wikipedia: Santa Fe Depot,
Author: Sunil Prasannan

Environmental Design

Much of the railyard serves as a living exhibition of green infrastructure and efficient urban systems. For example, the water tower that is arguably the railyard's iconic feature is also an innovative water harvesting system. Rainwater is stored within the tower, and this harvested rainwater is used to irrigate the railyard's various plants, trees, and community vegetable gardens, which are carefully planted to require as little water as possible.


Disclaimer

This website is not a professional guide, but an editing of existing referenced material for educational purposes. The website author assumes no responsibility for any problems resulting from using the material presented in this website.


Sources:

American Planning Association: Santa Fe Railyard

Frederic Schwartz Architects: Santa Fe Railyard Park

Project for Public Spaces: Reclaiming the Heart of Santa Fe

Santa Fe Tourism: Satna Fe Railyard

Warehouse 21 Teen Center

Wikipedia: Santa Fe Depot