Sandia Casino is Albuquerque New Mexico’s Architectural Brilliance

Fifteen years ago I was on the architectural team for the Sandia Casino (Albuquerque, NM) when we built it. I was the System Administrator for the Lead Architectural Construction team (3D/I). First of all, the architecture is a modern brilliance. The time we put in and team it took us to build the casino was a miracle in and of itself. When you can see something built from scratch, see it designed on the computer, then help in the process of it being built, it is, with out a doubt, beyond breathtaking. Building and discovering what humans are capable of is utterly amazing.

This casino was a masterpiece during its time. That said, some local reviews gave pungent remarks about how the casino was nothing compared to Las Vegas Nevada, and since having lived in Las Vegas for 8 years, it is not, nor was it suppose to be, anything remotely close to competition with Las Vegas. Albuquerque has it’s own architecture and culture, that’s what makes it Albuquerque. Therefore, when you compare this to Las Vegas, you are comparing apples to oranges.


The Sandia Casino is 210,000 square foot, one-story structural steel building includes a bingo hall that will seat up to 850, a fine-dining restaurant, a 250-seat buffet restaurant, deli,  gift shop, an entertainment lounge, 50 square feet of meeting and event space, the largest poker room in the state and up to 1,700 slot machines. The site also features a large outdoor grass amphitheater that seats 3,000. This hotel features 228 luxury hotel rooms and suites and a 12,000 square foot Spa.

The resort also boasts an 18-hole golf course designed by Scott Miller. The southwest style of the hotel reflects that of the adjacent Sandia Casino, with exposed timbers and quarried New Mexico limestone.

The hotel is situated behind the casino and provides unobstructed views of Albuquerque’s Sandia Mountains, which hold tremendous spiritual significance for the Pueblo.


The project team included McCarthy, Albuquerque-based Fanning Bard Tatum Architects with Las Vegas-based designer Marnell Corrao Associates, and 3D/I architectural construction managers.

Since reminiscing of this modern architectural designs, I want to dedicate this post to the geek architects, designers, artists, and partnering firms that contributed to the development of the Sandia Casino.

What do you think of this architectural discovery?


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