Informally known as "The Roundhouse", the building was designed to resemble the Zia Sun Symbol when viewed from above, with four entrance wings that protrude from the main cylindrical volume. It blends the New Mexico Territorial Revival style with neoclassical influences. Each entrance has a carving of the State Seal of New Mexico.
The capitol is surrounded by a lush six and a half acre garden with over one hundred varieties of plants. Statues of native Pueblo peoples carrying pottery and hunting are spread throughout the property.
In 1991 the Legislature created the Capitol Art Foundation, which has since become one of the building's best features. It was created to assist in the acquisition of art for permanent, public exhibition in the State Capitol. It features contemporary masterworks by artists who live and work in New Mexico. The collection can be seen throughout the public areas of the building and on all four floors.
The fourth floor houses the Governor's Gallery. The concept was created by Allan Pearson, cultural liaison to Governors Jerry Apodaca in 1975 to educate the public about the state's artistic heritage. Its first exhibition featured pieces by Georgia O'Keeffe. The exhibition rotates several times a year and there is a Governor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts exhibition every fall.
The Roundhouse is the fourth Capitol building of New Mexico. The state boasts not only the third-newest capitol in the U.S. (only those in Hawaii and Florida, completed in 1969 and 1978, respectively, are newer) but also the oldest, the Palace of the Governors.
Cover image: "New Mexico State Capitol" by Mr.TinDC is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.