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Roger Evans

Roger Evans in his freeform home

“Vestiges of a Lost Placitas Vision” showcases Evans’ architectural art designs

—Tony Hull

Many visitors to the Placitas Studio Tour have seen the delightful sculptures by Roger Evans in front of his freeform home. Until last year, I had not realized that his vision in 1970 took sculpture into another dimension, that of evoking a way of living halfway between communal life and condominium life. 

Living in Chicago in the late 1960s, Evans considered San Diego and Tucson as potential settings for architectural and social experimentation, but upon visiting friends in Placitas, he knew he had found home. Many people in Placitas were already challenging the norm, as evidenced by freeform houses and other innovative building. We saw some of this innovation in last September’s “Shelter Placitas Style” exhibit at the Placitas Community Library. Evans notes that Placitas zoning ordinances of that time long ago were either non-existent or wholly unenforced. This allowed designs that were radically different from the conventional concept of family domiciles we see today.

The main building of Evans’ vision was built in 1972, together with a pool and passive solar collector. This was to be the first hub of the village. Evans turned his attention first to highly innovative ways to reconstruct Albuquerque, and then to fanciful and humorous sculptures, which make us reflect on our human condition. In both the Albuquerque concepts and his sculpture, Evans uses animal forms, he said, “to express a universal feeling of joy and happiness, since I feel gender, nationality, apparel and so on limit the viewer’s experience. In a world which is anything but perfect, I think humor allows us to transcend confusion or despair and to gain a different perspective.” 

Evans envisioned creating villages, which would be efficient in space, and in energy. It was to preserve the family unit, yet to build a community. And it was to be art, sculpture! The architecture largely eliminated the need of furnishings, but provided all that is needed to live in a compact, functional, and beautiful space. Furnishings were built into the architecture, and so open space abounded in a small footprint. Clusters of family units relate to common living rooms, play areas, and workshops.

Roger Evans’ “Vestiges of a Lost Placitas Vision” exhibit will run through February at the Placitas Community Library’s Colin Meeting Room. The exhibit includes a model and renditions of his village concept. Evans will comment on his work and answer questions at an opening reception scheduled for Saturday, February 2, at 2:00 p.m. For more information, email:

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