The absence of potable water in Tucson, Arizona is of growing concern to the region. From 1940 to 1990 the water table was lowered by 150 feet as a result of the over pumping of wells. At the same time, the population expanded by over 450%. To avoid a disaster, the people of Tucson must invite innovation in the redesign of their city.
Our studio assignment was to reuse the site of a former bank in Tucson and to build a facility that would be used both by the local community and the world community. These two user groups would analyze water shortages in the region, come up with possible solutions and present their findings to their peers.
By creating a facility for use by both groups, I hoped to foster cross fertilization of ideas. Daily interaction with the public would help the scientists to better understand and address the real needs of the community, while being involved in the scientific process would help the public understand, develop, and make use of new ideas.
In order to fulfill its dual purpose, my design incorporates separate but related spaces for research and public education. Classrooms, workshops and research labs are included for these purposes and housed in separate research and education wings. The two wings are brought together around a central, wedge shaped courtyard which thrusts between research wing and education wings. Within this space, students, teachers, and researchers can all find an oasis from work and a place to reflect and interact. The garden space also acts as a model for local water retention and purification practices.
Status: School Project
Location: Tucson, AZ, US
My Role: Designer
Additional Credits: University of Oregon