NCLR National Headquarters
National Council of La Raza
Alta’s approach to the design of the new NCLR National Headquarters expresses both the founding spirit of La Raza and the maturation of El Movimiento.
The Aztec eagle Cuauhtli, an elemental force of rebirth and a symbol of freedom and equality, is transformed from its ancestral codex into an abstracted series of iconographic and architectonic shapes, patterns and colors that imbed new meaning into the existing building. Black and red – the colors of resistance, of protest and action, and of passion, sacrifice and mystery – are employed as the building’s primary interior color statement.
The ground floor is dedicated to the importance of relationships, interaction and discourse, and both indoor and outdoor space is devoted to meeting, communication and celebration. Reinforcing the broad grassroots strength of the organization, the mundane building lobby is re-imagined as an action center or National Center for Latino Resources.
The building’s design employs an activist architecture known as Mestizo Regionalism that attempts to interpret, through the built environment and design, aspects of the collective history and heritage of all Latinos living in the United States. The new NCLR National Headquarters is a building reborn as the icon of the organization’s primary role in Pan Latino empowerment. It is a design that hopes to add to the dialogue about the important issues of cultural identity that face this great country.