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Santa Fe Board Crushes George R.R. Martin’s Plan for ‘Medieval Castle’


It was not quite as dramatic as Daenerys mounting her last living dragon to destroy a rival kingdom.

But this week the Santa Fe Historic Districts Review Board crushed a proposal by the “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin to construct a 24- to 26-foot, seven-sided tower with battered stucco walls on his property in the New Mexico city.

The edifice, complete with an elevator and a roof deck, was designed to house Mr. Martin’s vast library. It was to be named the “Water Garden Keep.”

But the board said the size and design were out of scale with the traditional, low-lying Southwestern architecture typical of Santa Fe.

“It is so clear that this is not an adobe building,” Frank Katz, the vice chairman of the review board, said at a meeting on Tuesday. “It is a medieval castle, and I don’t understand how we could possibly approve it in its style.”

But Mr. Katz, the board’s vice chairman, said those were “cosmetic, little changes” that did not change the imposing appearance of the building.

The architect, Mr. Dzurec, said the height of the tower was needed to accommodate an elevator, which was designed to reach the roof. During his presentation, Mr. Dzurec did not identify Mr. Martin as the owner of the property, only saying that his clients were two people in their late 60s with mobility problems, one of whom relies on a wheelchair.

“Our clients will not be able to access that roof without an elevator,” he said.

Neighbors who participated in Tuesday’s meeting, however, said they believed Mr. Martin wanted access to the roof deck to entertain people. Forty-three neighbors signed a letter opposing the project.

Guy Gronquist, a neighbor of the property owned by Mr. Martin and who read the letter on Tuesday, said he declined to meet with Mr. Dzurec to discuss the proposal because he did not feel the changes he made were substantive enough.

“Our neighborhood does not need nor want this folly,” he said.

After the board voted to reject the proposal, its chairwoman, Cecilia Rios, told Mr. Dzurec that he could appeal the decision to the City Council or submit a different proposal.

Mr. Katz compared the property owners’ plan to install an elevator to the roof to a medieval lord’s wish to look out over a kingdom. “A castle keep is the castle. That’s where the lord lives,” he said. “The lords want to be able to view over everything.”

The library’s deck, Mr. Katz said, was “entirely for that, so they can look over all of Santa Fe.”

He added, “That is not a hardship to be denied elevator access to that.”



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