St. Augustine Mission

Isleta, New Mexico

The adobe church of St. Augustine is one of the oldest and largest Spanish missions in New Mexico. First built in 1613, it showcases local Puebloan architecture in a region influenced by outside cultures. The Pueblo of Isleta spent over five years planning the restoration, with committees run entirely by community members. They met weekly with the project manager and contractor to approve work, discuss approaches, and decide designs. The workforce included local labor and craftsmen who learned adobe restoration and carpentry over 16 months of field work. Among other successes, they stabilized 400-year-old adobe walls from its sub-surface up, and conserved ancient murals throughout the mission. Without relying on outside funding, the community planned, funded and completed a project that exceeded preservation expectations. Now the Isleta Pueblo has re‐established its church as the spiritual and architectural anchor for the historic Native American plaza. And they are confident it will anchor the community for another five generations.