Originally the home of the painter Burt Harwood and his wife Elizabeth, the Harwood has been the center of Taos' cultural life since the early 20th century. The Harwoods donated their home to the University of New Mexico in 1935, and a major addition was built in 1937 to the designs of the noted architect John Gaw Meem.
A series of terraces at the rear of the site drops twenty-two feet allowing the insertion of a two level addition. The addition's lower level contains art storage and climate control areas, while its second level, at the level of the Harwood's main floor, contains the Agnes Martin Gallery. A new stair hall on the second level organizes and ties together all of the galleries in both the old and new buildings. The Meem addition's first floor, originally designed as a library, and its second floor, originally designed as an auditorium, were reconfigured through the insertion of contrasting contemporary forms to serve the needs of modern gallery space. The project received an Association of General Contractors “Best Building” Award in 2001.