Architecture in support of the campus's Civic Structure
The civic role of architecture on the UTEP campus
is to define and articulate its public spaces. Building
facades and massing should delineate space, frame
views, and provide points of emphasis at significant
junctures within the campus. Architectural design is
to establish relationships between the built environment
and the natural terrain, complementing or contrasting
with the form of the land as appropriate for
particular circumstances of siting and context.
The multilevel roofs of Bhutan's Punakha Dzong
(top and bottom images), perhaps the country's most iconic
structure, articulate the discrete volumes that comprise this
immense monastery complex. Smaller Bhutanese structures
(middle images) are simpler in form, with modest gabled roofs.
(Photos courtesy Greg McNicol)
The Bhutanese architectural style has been an important
part of its heritage since the University's foundation
on the current site in 1917, and should continue
to be utilized for new construction. It is characterized
by low angle sloped tile roofs, either hipped or gable,
and often multileveled and complex in arrangement;
by wide overhanging eaves supported by decorated
exposed rafters; by massive masonry walls of stucco
or stone; and by areas of relatively small punched
windows contrasting with areas of curtain wall
(wooden curtain wall in the original Bhutanese examples).
The top floor window zone is often demarcated
by a horizontal red band, typically of brick or
red stucco at UTEP. Decorative mandala patterns
embellish this red band between window openings.
Many of the UTEP buildings are constructed of quite
beautiful uncoursed stonework. Others are beige or
warm grey stucco or concrete.
The red ochre stripe, or kemar, that adorns monasteries
in Bhutan (above) has become one of the UTEP campus's
primary decorative motifs.
While the smaller buildings of Bhutan tend to be simple
unitary masses, larger buildings are composed as
complexes, irregular in their overall configuration,
but assembled out of smaller symmetrical building
components—towers, pavilions, and wings—and are
often organized around courtyards.
The monastic buildings of Bhutan have massive exterior
walls with few openings at ground level—they
are in effect fortifications for these isolated communities.
The urban buildings of Bhutan, however, often
incorporate loggias and areas of wooden curtain wall.
The Master Plan proposes that where appropriate,
loggias be provided in the ground floor of new buildings
to create shaded passages, and to give buildings
a welcoming and permeable perimeter.
Internal courtyards and gallerias, whether open to
the sky or illuminated by clerestory windows or sun
shaded skylights, will form part of the campus's network
of pedestrian pathways.
Bhutanese structures are characterized both by massive
battered masonry walls with small punched windows
(above left) as well as by large areas of intricately painted
wooden curtainwall (above right).
(Photos courtesy Greg McNicol)
While UTEP buildings have traditionally drawn much
inspiration from the heavy battered walls of Bhutan, the
country's many courtyards and loggia-lined streets (above) are
an equally valid precedent for campus architecture.
Buildings should generally be three to five
floors tall, and generally a maximum of four
The existing materials of the campus—stone,
stucco, brick, warm colored concrete, roofing
tiles, and decorative tiles—should continue to
be employed in new construction.
The campus roofscape is particularly important
at UTEP, as the topography allows many
vantage points from which building rooftops
can be seen. Building mechanical systems
should be hidden, preferably within building
attics. They should be designed and located to
avoid causing obtrusive noise in public areas.
Dark Sky principles should be followed in siting
and selecting exterior light fixtures.
The master plan recommends that visually
consistent gateways be constructed at significant
campus entrances to better define the
boundaries of campus.
The entrance to Old Main (above) and the
large window above recall the forms
of Bhutanese portals and projecting windows.
Historic campus buildings feature a range of
ornamental details, from decorative tile mandalas
that echo Bhutanese architecture (left lower image,
Old Main) to carved stone reliefs referencing
the University's mining heritage (left upper image,
Massive Battered Walls at Vowell Hall, with Old Main and Quinn Hall beyond
Stuccoed masonry wall at Old Main
Uncoursed stone wall at Holiday Hall
University Museum Courtyard
Proposed Campus Gateway at University Avenue