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.

To know more about the United World College go to www.uwc-usa.org. Find the United World College on Facebook.

About Adriana Siso

Adriana Siso founded her design store in 2002 in Santa Fe, NM. With a background in Fine Arts, Adriana has been an innovator and influencer, bringing to the Santa Fe area, original and unique design products by some of the best contemporary industrial design firms in the world. Molecule operates out of a recycled and renovated shipping container building in Santa Fe, the first of its kind in the city. Sustainability is an important area of interest and ongoing exploration for Molecule, which offers product lines with a focus on conservation and ecological stewardship. The store keeps an active annual schedule featuring the work of local designers, fabricators and artists, as well as of national and international design firms through multiple events and alliances.

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