University of New Mexico Alumni Memorial Chapel

UNM Chapel

Date: 1960
Architect: John Gaw Meem

Meem drew up plans for Alumni Chapel during his tenure as the University of New Mexico's official architect, but a lack of funds delayed the project until after he retired.

The chapel—set across the duck pond from Zimmerman Library—displays familiar elements of a Spanish-Pueblo Style church, including a recessed entryway, battered walls and a second floor balcony with a wood railing. There are discrete buttresses on the front, like those seen at the San Francisco de Asis church in Rancho de Taos. Rather than flank the entrance with square bell towers, Meem put the bells in a terraced pediment above the entrance--a variation of what he had done earlier with Taylor Memorial Chapel (1929) at La Foret in Colorado Springs. The entire building is quite modest in scale: it has no transept and the nave tapers toward the apse end. The interior is largely bereft of adornment save for a large retablo at the back of the altar.

Meem's customary attention to woodwork is evident in the chapel's incised, painted wooden beams, corbels and railings.