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Unm estufa.jpg
Estufa is located in New Mexico
Estufa is located in the US
Location Southeast corner of University Boulevard and Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard, Albuquerque, NM
Coordinates 35°5′2.00″N 106°37′32.84″W / 35.0838889°N 106.6257889°W / 35.0838889; -106.6257889Coordinates: 35°5′2.00″N 106°37′32.84″W / 35.0838889°N 106.6257889°W / 35.0838889; -106.6257889
Built 1908
Architect Charles Lembke (Tri-Alpha member): University President William G. Tight: members of the Alpha Alpha Alpha Fraternity
Architectural style Pueblo Revival
MPS New Mexico Campus Buildings Built 1906–1937 TR
NRHP Reference # 88001542 [1]
NMSRCP # 1412[2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP September 22, 1988
Designated NMSRCP January 7, 1988

The Estufa is a historic structure on the University of New Mexico campus in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was built around 1908 by a local social fraternity and has served since 1915 as the primary meeting location of the university's Pi Kappa Alpha chapter. The building's history is steeped in fraternity lore and supposedly no woman has ever seen its interior. It is listed in both the New Mexico State Register of Cultural Properties and the National Register of Historic Places.

The Estufa is modeled after a kiva, a ceremonial meeting place used by the Pueblo people. It has thick adobe walls and contains a single windowless room with seating around the edges. Construction of the building was guided by university president William G. Tight, who promoted the use of Pueblo Revival architecture on campus. The Estufa was one of the first buildings in New Mexico to employ this style.


An estufa [Sp., a stove, a warm room. Cf. Stove] is an assembly room in a dwelling of the Pueblo Indians (i.e. a kiva), per Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1998.


The Estufa was built in either 1906 or 1908 by the local social fraternity Alpha Alpha Alpha, previously known as the Yum Yum Society. The project received support from university president William G. Tight, who wanted to establish a Greek system on campus and also had an interest in Pueblo Revival architecture. In 1915, Alpha Alpha Alpha became the Beta Delta chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha, the university's first national fraternity.[3] The Estufa has continued to serve as the chapter's primary meeting location for nearly 100 years.[4]

During its long history as a fraternity council room, the Estufa has been involved in numerous pranks[3][5] and has survived both vehicular collisions (owing to its proximity to University Boulevard)[4] and a natural gas explosion in 1958.[3] The building is accessible only to members of Pi Kappa Alpha, and according to fraternity lore no woman has ever seen its interior.[3][6] The Estufa was added to the New Mexico State Register of Cultural Properties and the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.[2]


The Estufa is a round, one-story building loosely modeled after a kiva at Santo Domingo Pueblo.[6] As such, it was one of the earliest expressions of the Pueblo Revival style in New Mexico. The walls are adobe and are approximately 14 inches (36 cm) thick. The building was originally accessed via an external staircase and roof trapdoor, but this arrangement has since been replaced by a more conventional door. The interior of the Estufa contains a single windowless room, approximately 500 square feet (46 m2) in area,[4] which has been described as a pit with seating around the edge.[7]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b "Listed State and National Register Properties" (PDF). New Mexico Historic Preservation Commission. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d Hooker, Van Dorn (2000). Only in New Mexico: An Architectural History of the University of New Mexico. Albuquerque: UNM Press. p. 27. ISBN 0826321356. 
  4. ^ a b c "Mysteries of the Estufa" (PDF). Shield & Diamond: 21–23. Summer 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 16, 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Uyttebrouck, Olivier (February 23, 2002). "Frat Items Stolen Long Ago Resurface at UNM". Albuquerque Journal. 
  6. ^ a b Casaus, Phill (October 28, 1995). "It's dumpy and frumpy, but UNM's Estufa packs a lot of history". Albuquerque Journal. 
  7. ^ "History of UNM campus tour". Archived from the original on April 18, 2005. 

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