Pueblo of Isleta Hotel and Convention Center - Albuquerque, NM

Location featured in AMC’s “Breaking Bad” series.

VAA provided civil and structural services for a 300,000 SF addition to the four-star casino and convention center owned by the Pueblo of Isleta. The expansion added a seven-story, post-tensioned tower containing conference rooms, hotel rooms and banquet facilities housing state-of the-art graphics and telecommunication capabilities. A grand atrium running 100’ into the air called for fountains and a glass elevator. A new porte cochere with a V-shaped roof resembling bird wings was designed to protect visitors from the weather for car and bus loading.

The open-air spa constructed in the iconic shape of Pueblo pottery was a unique challenge. Overall, the facility’s complex geometric shapes and climate-related conditions contributed to the project’s complexity.

Our Approach

Due to the tight timeline, VAA’s civil and structural teams prepared multiple bid packages and provided several value-engineering ideas. For example, the porte cochere required design integration to match the exterior look of the hotel while isolating it from the building for seismic events. In collaboration with the project architect, VAA also delivered constructability solutions for the outdoor spa and 360-degree domed seminar room.

The civil engineering team designed a site plan for 30 acres, including the main entrance and drop-off area, three main parking areas, valet lots and entrance, tour bus drop-off area, site roadways and circulation. A 40-foot vertical terrain differential required alternative storm water methods. To meet the schedule, VAA offered design flexibility for contractors to do work out of sequence.


VAA contributed an experienced civil and structural engineering team to manage a fast-track scheduling and construction process for multi-faceted engineering challenges. The relationship with the lead architect was strengthened, and the two firms have since worked on other complex convention / hotel / casino and hospitality projects together.