The Dwan Light Sanctuary, Las Vegas, NM

Dawn Light Sanctuary

Re-posted from Atlas Obscura.

Located on the campus of the United World College, the Dwan Light Sanctuary uses prisms instead of windows to transform the light that enters the building into a lattice of rainbows.

The peaceful room was created by Virginia Dwan as a multi-purpose space for meditation, reflection, or even religious practice. Eschewing a singular purpose that might make the sanctuary less than welcoming for some people, the space allows visitors to turn the stark white space into their own escape. The open layout is completely unadorned save for the giant prisms built into the ceiling and apse of the building. With no other decoration to distract the eye guests can simply meditate on the rainbows that are projected on the walls and floors as natural light passes into the room. Many universities offer quiet rooms and study halls, but none may be so artful or forward thinking as the Dwan sanctuary. This light-sanctuary of peace is well worth the drive.

Know Before You Go

From Albuquerque, take I-25 north to Las Vegas.

Exit at the first Las Vegas exit, #343, and turn left at the end of the ramp. Go .5 miles and take a left onto New Mexico Avenue. (You will see a Santa Fe Railroad red caboose at the intersection.)
Go 1.9 miles. At the first traffic light (there will be an Allsup’s convenience store on your left), turn left again onto Hot Springs Boulevard (State Road #65) and continue 4.3 miles.

Turn right when you see the Montezuma Castle. The Montezuma Post Office will be on your right. Please check in at the Moore Welcome Center when you arrive on campus.

  • The Dwan Light Sanctuary (DLS) was designed by Virginia Dwan (conceptualizer and funder), Charles Ross (solar spectrum artist), and Laban Wingert (planner-architect) and opened on October 25, 1996. Source: United World College.

 

About Adriana Siso

Adriana Siso launched Molecule Design in September 2010, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Molecule is the extension of a previous furniture design store that was founded in 2003 as an expansion on a career in fine art, which she pursued for more than 30 years.

She brings her talents and uncompromising quest for practical and original products to the world of home furnishings and space design. Molecule carries contemporary industrial designer products that are approachable, remarkable, cutting edge, made to last, life enhancing, sometimes irreverent, and timeless.

Later in 2006, Adriana started the process of conceiving the new showroom space that would house the store. Partly sustainable, the structure was built out of 11 recycled 40′ cargo containers. Completed in December 2010, it became the first cargo container building in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Always an explorer, Adriana loves to engage in the realms of discovery and innovation. InContext/Molecule Design’s Magazine, launched in December 2011, is the venue where she collects the great stories of creative thinkers, who in our current state of affairs, sometimes under great pressures and working outside the realm of imposed standards, achieve the impossible. It has been known that in times of great crisis, design flourishes. It is Molecule’s mission to show this light.

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