PROJECT TYPE

  • Urban
  • University
  • Campus
  • Garden
  • Grayfield

Environmental Benefits

  • Cools Air Temperature
  • Creates Habitat for Wildlife
  • Ecologically Manages Stormwater
  • Provides Shade
  • Reintroduces Native Plants
  • Re-uses Waste
  • Salvages Materials

Links

Underwood Family Sonoran Landscape Laboratory

Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.
  • NE Siskiyou Green Street
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    Once a campus parking lot, the Sonoran Landscape Laboratory transformed a barren concrete “gray field” into a desert oasis for students, professors, and numerous varieties of plant and animal species.

    ASLA Honor Award Recipient, Underwood Family Sonoran Landscape Laboratory by Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, Inc.
    (Photo: Bill Timmerman)

    Photo 1 of 8

  • NE Siskiyou Green Street
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    From its inception, the project was intended to complement the adjacent College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture by serving as a living laboratory and demonstration facility for students in architecture, landscape architecture, and planning.

    ASLA Honor Award Recipient, Underwood Family Sonoran Landscape Laboratory by Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, Inc.
    (Photo: Bill Timmerman)

    Photo 2 of 8

  • NE Siskiyou Green Street
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    Because the site was a natural catch point for stormwater, construction of a retention pond and bioswales laced with native Arizona vegetation enables the landscape to productively treat and retain runoff on site. By diverting water away from storm sewers, heavy rainfalls put less stress on the city’s drainage infrastructure.

    ASLA Honor Award Recipient, Underwood Family Sonoran Landscape Laboratory by Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, Inc.
    (Photo: Bill Timmerman)

    Photo 3 of 8

  • NE Siskiyou Green Street
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    A water-harvesting system actively collects “graywater” from the new classroom building and directs it to an 11,600-gallon storage tank. As needed, the non-drinkable water is circulated into the landscape garden to nourish its resident plant life.

    ASLA Honor Award Recipient, Underwood Family Sonoran Landscape Laboratory by Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, Inc.
    (Photo: Bill Timmerman)

    Photo 4 of 8

  • NE Siskiyou Green Street
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    Native, drought-resistant plants were chosen for the site to conserve water needed for irrigation. Over the next few years, the need to use drinkable water will be totally eliminated, resulting in a completely self-sustaining landscape, rare in such a harsh and inhospitable environment as the desert Southwest.

    ASLA Honor Award Recipient, Underwood Family Sonoran Landscape Laboratory by Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, Inc.
    (Photo: Bill Timmerman)

    Photo 5 of 8

  • NE Siskiyou Green Street
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    An architectural scrim serves as a step ladder for vines to grow vertically up the building’s south façade, creating a “green wall.” The vines have climbed to a remarkable 50 feet high and have started to shade and cool the building.

    ASLA Honor Award Recipient, Underwood Family Sonoran Landscape Laboratory by Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, Inc.
    (Photo: Bill Timmerman)

    Photo 6 of 8

  • NE Siskiyou Green Street
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    The five distinct biomes, or ecological communities, of the Sonoran Landscape Laboratory are now a haven for biodiversity. The pond is home for endangered fish and listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a "Safe Harbor" urban site.

    ASLA Honor Award Recipient, Underwood Family Sonoran Landscape Laboratory by Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, Inc.
    (Photo: Bill Timmerman)

    Photo 7 of 8

  • NE Siskiyou Green Street
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    The cooler microclimate created by the garden has increased the opportunities for outdoor gathering and social interaction among students and professors. The site now inspires today’s students to incorporate sustainable principles in tomorrow’s designs.

    ASLA Honor Award Recipient, Underwood Family Sonoran Landscape Laboratory by Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, Inc.
    (Photo: Bill Timmerman)

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Project Facts

  • To demonstrate its commitment to sustainability, the University of Arizona pulled down its deteriorating architecture building and parking lot and replaced it with the Sonoran Landscapes Laboratory, a productive learning landscape and model of sustainable design.
  • Each year, the site’s water-harvesting system collects approximately 230,000 gallons of non-drinkable wastewater from the new classroom. The system supplies 83 percent of the water needed to sustain the landscape’s plant life.
  • The diverse native vegetation creates an urban wildlife habitat for many species of birds, ground mammals, reptiles, and fish, dramatically increasing biodiversity on the site.
  • As a living laboratory, the landscape promotes sustainability education and research within three design disciplines - architecture, landscape architecture, and planning – helping to raise environmental awareness and stewardship.