Albuquerque Civic Auditorium

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Albuquerque Civic Auditorium was an indoor arena in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which was demolished in 1987. It was notable for its innovative construction, as the dome was created by pouring concrete over a mound of packed earth which was subsequently removed. The auditorium was located east of Downtown on Grand Avenue (now Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.), between St. Joseph Hospital and Interstate 25. It opened in 1957 and had a capacity of 6,000 people.


The Albuquerque Civic Auditorium was designed by the Albuquerque firm of Ferguson, Stevens and Associates in 1955. Architects Gordon Ferguson and Donald Stevens came up with the idea of using an earthen mound as a form for the poured-in-place concrete dome.[1] An existing hill on the site was built up and shaped to the proper dimensions, followed by a ten-day concrete pour. The earth was then excavated from under the dome to create the arena space. The finished dome was 62 feet high, 218 feet in diameter, and varied in thickness from five inches at the center to two feet at the edges.[2] The innovative construction technique garnered a mention in Life and was also praised by Frank Lloyd Wright during a lecture at the University of New Mexico in 1956.[3]

The venue opened on April 27, 1957 with a performance by the Albuquerque Civic Symphony.[4] Over the years the venue hosted a number of notable acts, including Led Zeppelin in 1969 and Jimi Hendrix in 1970, just three months before his death.[5] However, the auditorium had poor acoustics and eventually fell from popularity as a music venue in favor of Tingley Coliseum and Popejoy Hall.[6] It was demolished in 1987.


  1. ^ "Civic Auditorium Designs Follow Modernist Trend". Albuquerque Journal. NM. April 22, 1955. p. 36. 
  2. ^ "Mound-Made Auditorium". Life. 42 (23): 58. June 10, 1957. 
  3. ^ Mahoney, Jane (November 29, 2004). "The First 60 Years". Albuquerque Journal. NM. 
  4. ^ Venue information and background
  5. ^ Herrera, Dan (January 1, 1999). "Musician recorded '60s music scene". Albuquerque Journal. NM. p. E13. 
  6. ^ Palmer, Mo (February 14, 2008). "Albuquerque's Civic Auditorium went from a landmark to the dustbin of history". Albuquerque Tribune. NM. Retrieved June 27, 2011. 

Coordinates: 35°05′15″N 106°38′14″W / 35.08750°N 106.63722°W / 35.08750; -106.63722