EXPERIENCE HOTEL CHACO
Hotel Chaco is an Albuquerque luxury resort designed by the international award-winning architectural firm, Gensler. A world leader in sophisticated, luxury design, Gensler's work is grounded in the belief that great design can make the everyday places people occupy more inspiring, more resilient and more impactful.
The Gensler design team traveled to Chaco Canyon to derive inspiration from the site’s ancient structures. Key Chacoan architectural elements such as precise stone masonry, vigas and latillas for rooftop structures and the buildings' alignment with the sun’s movements, are all incorporated into the architecture of our Albuquerque luxury resort.
Award-winning interior designer Kris Lajeskie conceived Hotel Chaco’s interiors using subdued hues inspired by the natural wool variations employed by Navajo weavers. The hotel’s interiors juxtapose ancestral references with contemporary materials, furnishings, and original artwork.
“My mission is to evoke the spirit of Chaco through the use of coloration and materiality in the interiors,” shares Lajeskie. “In particular, we sought out Native artisans who were inspired to connect with their ancestry. From the moment you enter, your senses will be activated and you will know you are in a very special place.”
Insiration for Hotel Chaco was drawn from local artists and the true artisan nature of indigenous painters, sculptors, and basket-weavers. With a hand-crafted quality to the overall project, an intense focus is placed on materiality, texture, and light. The woven façade articulation of the native limestone is a poetic translation of the basket-weaving craft. Chosen materials throughout Hotel Chaco reflect a natural palette inspired by the vast New Mexico landscapes.
Hotel Chaco’s pale stone masonry façade and wooden accents are designed to work with the warm, dry climate of the Southwest and are reminiscent of architectural elements found at Chaco Canyon and in New Mexico’s pueblos. The hotel’s southern walls feature deeply recessed windows to protect guest rooms from excess heat in the summer, while the northern side of the building utilizes large windows that allow the low winter sun to warm the interiors, following the model of Chaco Canyon. The sandstone used for the exterior façade is sourced from the Colorado/New Mexico border and until now has never been used in a commercial project. Some of the original building materials used to build Chaco Canyon, including lumber, came from the same.
Guests are welcomed to Hotel Chaco with a soothing ambiance and the juxtaposition of flowing water and a warming fire. A tranquil oasis in the heart of a desert city. The circular lobby and entrance design are inspired by the architecture at Chaco Canyon. Guests enter the interior lobby of the hotel through a narrow circular vestibule and are greeted by water and fire elements on opposite walls. Stacked stone masonry is used throughout the main floor, highlighted with recessed rock and wood elements. The lobby is aligned to the directions north-south and east-west.
Stone banco seating lines the circular walls similar to structures found in Chaco Canyon. The roof structure is highlighted by vigas and latillas, traditional Southwestern architecture also evident at Chaco Canyon. A giant glass oculus designed by Tammy Garcia is the ceiling focal point. Wooden beams surround it in a traditional Hogan pattern. The concrete floor is unevenly polished to show the granite pebble aggregate reminiscent of a riverbed. The space also features original Native American artwork by Joe Cajero, Tony Abeyta, and Roxanne Swentzell.
Hotel Chaco's community spaces and common areas invite visitors to relax, and embark on an interior journey drawing on the serenity of the area’s natural landscapes. The community room features a fireplace, an extensive reference library and original artwork by Rhett Lynch. Large doors open onto an exterior courtyard landscaped with natural grasses and native cottonwood trees. A variety of stone pavers lie in a circular pattern that represents how the rain falls to the earth. Monumental basalt stone columns form an organic fountain feature with a reflecting pool. Guests may relax in seating around a firepit.
Cylindrical clay pottery vessels with intricate black and white designs were also among the treasures found at Chaco Canyon. For decades, a mystery shrouded the actual purpose of these vessels. After tests conclusively found traces of cacao on the pottery, we now know that they were ceremonial vessels for special cacao elixirs. Kris Lajeskie has created these vessels for display at Hotel Chaco. Plans are also underway to create a special chocolate elixir to serve in the hotel.
Recently, the National Park Service staff surveyed the Chaco collection—which includes thousands of items, from turquoise jewelry to rare items such as woven-grass baskets and sandals. They found that nearly 1,400 of the pots assembled during the past century are in urgent need of restoration due to the age-related deterioration of glue. The non-profit Friends of Chaco is fundraising to aid in the restoration of pottery from Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde.
Joe Cajero (Jemez Pueblo) is a sculptor working in clay and bronze. He creates clay originals, limited edition bronze sculptures and unique monumental commissions. Heritage Hotels & Resorts commissioned Cajero to create the centerpiece sculpture for Hotel Chaco’s lobby. Cajero’s experience as a Pueblo potter as well as his use of abstract imagery and an earth toned color palette make him the perfect fit for Hotel Chaco.
The bronze sculpture Cajero created for Hotel Chaco is entitled “Oneness.” It was inspired by the following quote from Wayne Dyer describing a conversation between Jesus and God: “May I know you as I knew you even before my beginning.” According to the artist, the sculpture represents love, energy, and oneness lifting up from the ground. It has four sides, representative of the four directions, with a female image on one side and a male image on the other side. The faces are composed of altars that represent multiple lifetimes. Link to learn more below.
Roxanne Swentzell (Santa Clara Pueblo) created the sculpture "The Guardian" that sits above the hotel lobby reception desk. "The Guardian" watches over the hotel like a guardian angel. She also created several of the cylinders in the lobby and one of the pots on the second-floor nicho. Swentzell comes from a family of renowned potters and sculptors. Roxanne Swentzell attended the Institute for American Indian Arts and the Portland Museum Art School and won Best of Sculpture in the Santa Fe Indian Market in 1999. Link for more information below and link to video.
Marla Allison (Laguna Pueblo) is a full-time artist and member of the Pueblo of Laguna Pueblo. She has created two original paintings for Hotel Chaco's second-floor hallway. In 2008 she won the inaugural Innovation Award at the Santa Fe Indian Market for her painting, “Mother,” which is now alongside her painting “Father” in the permanent collection of the Heard Museum. Link to learn more and video below.
Hotel Chaco’s main front doors and lobby ceiling oculus are designed by Tammy Garcia, of Santa Clara Pueblo. The front doors are a modern interpretation of the black on black pottery renowned from Santa Clara Pueblo, the image on them is Avanyu, the Tewa water serpent that appears in petroglyphs all over the Southwest and at Chaco Canyon. The Oculus is representative of 3 eagles (swirl images) as the eagle is a sacred bird and she wants the viewer to look skyward. Link to learn more below and link to video.
The Vallos (Acoma Pueblo) re-created Cylindrical clay pottery vessels with intricate black and white designs that were also among the treasures found at Chaco Canyon. Working in the traditional pottery methods, the Vallos mine the clay from a sacred mountain, dry and prepare the clay, form the vessels using traditional methods and hand-paint them using natural pigments with a quill from a yucca plant.
Ira Lujan (Taos/Ohkay Owingeh Pueblos) created a hand blown glass antler cloud in the lobby as well as three glass poured pieces on the hotel's third floor based on the spiral petroglyph found at Chaco Canyon. The antler is an ancient sacred symbol as is the cloud, in this he combines these two symbols to form a cloud of antlers. Lujan says that glass is the new pottery medium as it is light suspended in time. Link to learn more below and link to video.
Rhett Lynch (Navajo) has two paintings titled "I AM" featured on either side of the fireplace in the "relaxation/chill room" in the hotels lobby. “I AM” is representative of petroglyphs found at Chaco canyon and all over the world, by placing a hand the meaning is to say “I was here, I exist, I am” the spiral is representative of the Sun Dagger spiral on Fajada Butte in Chaco Canyon. In his 30 plus years as a professional artist, he has found expression in a variety of mediums: hand-woven tapestries, sculpture, drawings, monotypes, paintings in oil and acrylic, writing, and acting in films. Link to learn more below.
Mateo Romero (Cochiti Pueblo) completed paintings featured at the hotel's fourth floor. The paintings are all explanations of Chaco Canyon’s mysteries and how they relate to the elements (rain/earth), sustenance (food/corn) and spirituality (ceremonial architecture) are central to the Native American world view. Romero attended Dartmouth College and studied with acclaimed artists Ben Frank Moss and Varujan Boghosian. Link to learn more below.
Acclaimed fashion designer Patricia Michaels (Taos Pueblo) designed some of the signature uniforms for the staff at Hotel Chaco. Her pieces for Chaco are inspired by the Chaco Canyon pottery shards and painting pottery. Most recently, she garnered national recognition for her Peabody Essex Museum show, "Native Fashion Now" 2015, and international attention after receiving the highly prestigious Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian Arts and Design Award. She is the very first recipient of this award, a historic achievement. After her successful run on the Emmy Award-winning season 11 of “Project Runway,” where she won the first runner-up title, she was asked back to compete on “Project Runway All-Stars," Season 4. Link to learn more below.
Tony Abeyta has a focal point painting in the Hotel Chaco lobby. Abeyta is a Navajo contemporary artist working in mixed media paintings. He is a graduate of New York University who also holds an honorary doctorate from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and is recognized as a Native treasure by the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. His work can be seen at the Blue Rain Gallery in Santa Fe, NM, and is included in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Boston Fine Arts Museum, the Heard Museum in Phoenix, the New Mexico Fine Arts Museum, the Autry Museum in Los Angeles, and the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis. Link to learn more below.
Preston Duwyenie created a white sands platter in the lobby. Duwyenie lives and works in Santa Clara Pueblo. Like his ancestors he gathers his clay just outside the Pueblos, he offers prayers to the earth while digging the clay, and like them he is inspired by the beauty and awesome strength of nature. He uses potting techniques that have been utilized for more than a thousand years, but in terms of style, there is a point where Duwyenie steps outside this realm. Duwyenie has taught at IAIA and received Best of Show at the Heard Museum Indian Fair & Market and twice at the Colorado Indian Market.
Tenorio created one of the large pottery pieces featured on the 2nd story nicho. Robert uses traditional designs and shapes in his pottery through his own interpretations of traditions. His first award was in 1971 from the Heard Museum in Arizona. He now has ribbons enough, he laughingly noted, to “make two quilts!” One of his pieces entered in Indian Market was so intriguing that a new category was made just for it — Prehistoric Pottery — for which he also received an award.
Lynnette Haozous (Chiricahua Apache/Taos Pueblo/Diné)
Haozous painted the hotel lobby ceiling to look like an old worn Navajo rug. Haozous is an enrolled member of the San Carlos Chiricahua Apache tribe in Arizona. Haozous was fortunate to grow up and experience living in her tribes nations, but calls Taos Pueblo, New Mexico home. Drawing inspiration from all three of her tribes, Haozous employs herself as an artistic instrument of the Indigenous journey to convey her people’s truths, through such mediums as painting, drawing, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, film and stage.
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