Underwood Family Sonoran Landscape Laboratory

Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.

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.


  • 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