"The State Capitol Building" New Mexico Things to Do Tip by traveldave

New Mexico Things to Do: 276 reviews and 604 photos


The New Mexico State Capitol Building was built in 1966 to house the state legislature and various government offices, which were previously housed in the Palace of the Governors. The space in that building had become too small to accommodate the offices of the expanding government.

The capitol building was designed by architect W.C. Kruger, whose design resembles a Zia sun symbol when viewed from above. The round adobe building, commonly called the Roundhouse, is the only circular statehouse in the United States, and lacks the gold-covered dome that is common to most statehouses. The building is three stories high, and includes a chamber that is below ground level.

The building's semicircular underground chamber is closed to the public, and contains the 281-seat chamber of the House of Representatives and the 206-seat Senate chamber. The ground floor has galleries from which the public can view the house and senate chambers below. The top two floors contain government offices, including the offices of the governor and lieutenant governor.

The main architectural feature inside the capitol building is its rotunda that is 49 feet (15 meters) in diameter and 60 feet (18 meters) high. Its marble walls are inlaid with turquoise and a brass mosaic of the Great Seal of New Mexico. Overhead, a skylight of light pink stained glass, designed to resemble an American Indian basket weave, lets in natural light.

The state capitol building sits on seven-acre (three-hectare) grounds that are planted with over 100 varieties of native trees.

Directions: The State Capitol Building is located at 325 Don Gaspar Avenue, in downtown Santa Fe.

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  • Updated Dec 9, 2010
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