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2016 Award Winners - AzASLA

2016 Award Winners

Scottsdale Museum of the West

Award of Excellence - General Design

Colwell Shelor

This adaptive reuse project, located in the heart of Scottsdale, Arizona, demonstrates landscape architecture's exceptional capability to exceed the ordinary - to unite history with the present, the ecological with the sensory, and create a lasting place of substance and integrity. The southern portion of the 2.78 acre site, originally designed in the 90’s by artist Vito Acconci, consists of bold, striped forms emanating from 3 foci, from which all structures, paving patterns and planters were tied. The new plaza design successfully preserves portions of the artist’s design and serves as the point from which all new geometries originate. A large, wedge-shaped bio-sponge intersects the site with a swath of green. Steel grates, reminiscent of cattle guards, bridge across the wedge; seating steps flank the sides allowing visitors to sit amongst the native grasses. Water harvesting plays a major role in the design - all museum roof rainwater is channeled via grated runnels to bio-swales for collection, filtering and infiltration. All surface water along Marshall Way is brought onsite to be filtered and used in the landscape rather than being sent to storm drains – a first for the City of Scottsdale in an urban setting. A sculptural weeping wall in the courtyard artfully directs all condensate to a sunken riparian garden in the courtyard irrigating the native plants. The plaza and streetscape design for Scottsdale’s Museum of the West is derived from our region’s deep cultural roots in the Old West, and transformed the site into one of beauty, discovery and conservation. All landscape and hardscape elements were intricately designed by the Landscape Architect. Sandblasted tooled patterns, evocative of western embroidery and leather designs, are positioned as wayfinding. Majestic Saguaro, Barrel Cactus and Yucca are composed within the plaza’s gardens, creating an immersive experience while showcasing the sculptural qualities of these Sonoran species. Slabs of Arizona brown schist are layered within the gardens to provide a rich backdrop of texture and serves to keep moisture in the soil. The landscape architect designed a saddle bench which was hand-carved from a single trunk of beetle-infested Ponderosa Pine from the Arizona high country. Mature native trees were salvaged and transplanted on the site, bringing instant shade to the sculpture plaza. Significant Sustainable Features • Adaptive reuse of site • Bioswales throughout entire project • Storm & roof water harvesting & filtering • Condensate water reuse • Recycled paving • Salvaged & replanted all mature trees from the existing site • Native Arizona plant palette • Educational signage placed throughout the site explaining the conservation of water & materials • LEED Gold  See More >>

Desert Arroyo Park

Honor Award - General Design

Logan Simpson

In 2012, City of Mesa voters approved a bond to develop a 58-acre parcel at the corner of McKellips and Ellsworth Roads for a park. Adjacent to Zaharis Elementary School, the designer’s and client’s vision was to take full advantage of the existing landscape by creating a park focused on the experiential qualities associated with the Sonoran Desert and its flora and fauna. The Park dedicates 70% of the 58-acre site to preservation of the native landscape while seamlessly embedding 30% as passive recreation. This involved the preservation of saguaro and barrel cactus and desert trees that personify the wild desert upland. A primary and secondary trail system was designed to preserve and enhance the site’s existing washes, setting up the foundation for a unique interpretive educational experience. Located along key points of the trails are four key educational nodes featuring interpretive signage, picnic ramadas, and nature-themed play equipment designed to enhance the already interesting character of the site. The park is bisected by a dry desert washes that direct rain away from the school and provides wildlife corridors. The desert wash was bridged to connect areas during seasonal floods and highlight key views of the adjacent landscape. A comprehensive signage package was designed by the landscape designers and included main entry signs, loop trail signs, wayfinding signs, and interpretive signage. Engaging state-of-the-art green infrastructure (wifi!) and a diverse landscape, the Park has become a living classroom for urban ecology, healthy living, and sustainability in southeast Mesa. The result is park programming that respects its natural context creating a dynamic relationship between built and natural elements.  See More >>

Central Arizona College Maricopa Campus

Honor Award - General Design


With a focus on integrated design SmithGroupJJR completed the campus master planning, architecture and landscape architecture for the Central Arizona College – Maricopa Campus. Lying within the Gila River Valley several of Arizona’s rivers have allowed Maricopa to thrive – The Gila, Santa Cruz, Verde and Santa Rosa. Native Americans utilized these rivers, arroyos, bajadas and valleys to establish farming in the area. Agriculture allowed the area to thrive and the railroad made Maricopa a destination. Today, agriculture in the area is challenged by drought and increased evapotranspiration rates resulting in a decline of farm size leaving behind dusty fields and erosion. Previously an agricultural field, the Maricopa Campus creates a relationship with nature through an understanding of climatic conditions and the sensitive desert ecosystem. The sustainable prototype focuses on climatic influences overlaying solar, drainage and wind angles to guide the orientation of the campus. The site design provides a unique desert experience featuring a network of shaded pathways, green screens and desert gardens. A utilitarian vernacular respects the heritage and the history of the Gila River Valley and Maricopa. A palette of rammed earth, concrete and cor-ten steel forms collaborative outdoor learning environments including an amphitheater, student quadrangle and shaded seating areas providing a connection to nature proven to increase academic performance, reduce stress, enhance health and improve cognitive abilities. The landscape provides ecological benefits by reintroducing valuable habitat, increasing biodiversity, reducing erosion, replenishing soils and cleansing storm water reversing the negative impact of the vacant land. Hundreds of native Sonoran Palo Verde, Ironwood and Velvet Mesquite trees throughout the campus provide valuable habitat, food and cover for native wildlife that can now be seen across campus. Throughout the landscape design numerous species historically utilized by the Native American community are displayed including nut producing Jojoba fields.  See More >>

College Avenue

Honor Award - General Design

Floor Associates

College Avenue has served as a primary transportation connection linking downtown Tempe with the sports and academic districts of Arizona State University. Developed over several decades, the street that once served residential uses was widened to accommodate varying modes of vehicular circulation. With the introduction of Light Rail and Tempe Transit Center, many of the bus routes and stops were redefined. As a result College Avenue suffered from a system of unused asphalt that often impeded pedestrian circulation. Conceived through a unique public–private partnership between ASU and the City of Tempe, the vision for College Avenue was to transform the existing multi-use transportation corridor into vital public realm space focused on walkability and serving as a catalyst for infill development and adaptive reuse of vacant land and buildings. Incorporating strategies from the National Complete Street Coalition the design eliminates unused vehicular pavement by narrowing travel lanes to incorporate dedicated bike lanes and shaded pedestrian walkways that support daily use and a flexible urban plaza for programming events of all sizes. The project was designed as an extension of indoor and outdoor program associated with the adjacent retail spaces as well as College Avenue Commons. This was accomplished through the use of a unified, integral concrete paving design for the street, sidewalks, retail dining and plazas. To support circulation, the use of bollards, lighting, integral concrete paving and street trees delineate traffic creating separation for bicyclists and pedestrians while allowing for flexibility in event staging. This was accomplished in concert with meeting strict city drainage, accessibility, and safety requirements. The “new” College Avenue has transformed this district within the urban core into a vital active space providing a gateway to ASU and the City of Tempe, creating a people focused space that will serve generations to come.  See More >>

Scott Avenue

Honor Award - General Design

Wheat Design Group

The Gem of Tucson’s Downtown Streetscapes, Scott Avenue exemplifies how exceptional urban environments can materialize when businesses, the community, local governments, and the design team work together toward a common vision: creating a pedestrian-friendly and inviting “strolling street” that links the Modern Streetcar to cultural and historic landmarks along Scott Avenue. Completed in 2009, Scott Avenue was part of the first phase of a larger plan to revitalize Tucson’s downtown through improved infrastructure and associated streetscape improvements. The existing Scott Avenue roadway was narrowed (and on-street parking reduced), affording wide sidewalks and spacious planting areas. Today, visitors can appreciate the shaded walkways linking the Temple of Music and Art, the Scottish Rite Cathedral and the Children’s Museum (the former Carnegie Library). Obelisks at the gateway reveal the area’s cultural history, while ample seating, public art, and embellishments to the existing historic Turquoise Trail enhance Scott Avenue. Sustainable design features include passive water harvesting, reuse of existing materials (concrete from former sidewalks was crushed and reused as groundcover in planting areas), low-water use plants, and solar and LED lighting. In collaboration with the Pima County Regional Flood Control District, Pima Association of Governments, and design consultants, the LID/GI features along Scott Avenue were evaluated using the BCE (Business Case Evaluator) software that assigns numbers to sustainability. Scott Avenue accomplishes quantitative LID/GI goals of stormwater mitigation, increased property value, and improved air and soil quality, while qualitative goals such as creating a “sense of place”, creating a healthier urban environment, and achieving stakeholder and resident support were also accomplished.As the first water harvesting project designed for and implemented by the City of Tucson Department of Transportation, Scott Avenue has become a template for future City projects, ensuring “Ribbons of Green” throughout the City.  See More >>

Levine Residence

Award of Excellence - Residential

Greey Pickett

Nestled perfectly along a mountainside in the North Scottsdale Estancia Community, with views of Pinnacle Peak, and the Valley below, this landscape design honors the surrounding desert and the contemporary architecture of the home. A meandering driveway ascends the hillside to an auto court area where we placed mature specimen Cereus peruviana, Lophocereus schotti, Yucca rigida, and Yucca peruviana which were salvaged from a closing resort. These ancient unique species are the main feature and were perfectly placed as you approach the entry to the home. In the back, terracing was used to create interest and support from the intense hillside. We brought in mass boulders to retain the slope, while adding to the existing terrain. A succulent garden was placed in the terraced hillside using unique and rare species. Olneya tesota and Cercidium floridum were salvaged from the property and relocated as featured trees. Carnegiana gigantea, Ferocactus, Echinocactus and Agave species were also salvaged from the property and were planted to enhance the natural desert. A vertical fence of well casing rods was installed to preserve the view, while still securing the property. An infinity edge, glass tile pool is the perfect extension of the contemporary home. A barbeque area was effortlessly crafted from the stone wall and blends into the surroundings of the sun deck where you can relax and soak up the amazing views.  See More >>

Jackson Residence

Honor Award - Residential

Greey Pickett

We sought to create a minimalistic and organized landscape with a modern feel for this 1930’s historic bungalow in downtown Phoenix. Utilizing rustic materials and raw metals, we created a space that was low maintenance and preserved the historic feel of the neighborhood, yet honored the owners’ modern desire. In the front yard, we retained the established Pine tree and added unique and minimalist landscape; using mass planting, in custom square steel planters. Mass plantings of Agave americana and Pedilanthus macrocarpa were used to play off the blue/green paint color of the house. Euphorbia rigida was chosen in mass planting to provide a beautiful chartreuse blossom and an architectural look for the garden. We designed a terraced slate path and steps to take advantage of the grade differential between the home and the street. We added wire welded mesh steel railings on the patio which are functional as well as add a unique architectural aspect to the design. The urban industrial design of the backyard is anchored by a specimen Olneya tesota. Surrounding the Olneya we used bold, clean lines to create a flexible space for entertaining. We added a barbeque and bar made from rebar gabion filled with angular cobble as the base and a poured concrete counter. This gabion effect was used on the fire pit with acid washed, board formed concrete seat walls. A sculptural water feature and hammered chrome spire were created by the owner’s artist brother and were incorporated in the backyard design. Using wire welded steel fabric and woven stainless strips, we constructed fencing around the AC unit and a Z trellis gate with hidden door panel. We integrated woven brick pavers and added recessed lighting in board formed concrete walls. Citrus aurantium were planted along the property perimeter for privacy.  See More >>

Hamline Residence

Honor Award - Residential

Azul-Verde Design

Positioned on the side of a hill in Carefree, this site presented numerous opportunities and challenges for design; existing grade change, natural vegetation and numerous boulder outcrops became the canvas for this project. The task was to incorporate a swimming pool, firepit/barbeque area, sunny patios and dining patios, while maintaining a sensitivity toward the existing site features. The architecture of the home also played a key role. Its “rusty” skin and unique features were immersed into the design. Most dramatic of these is the pool fountain whose water appears to be flowing right out of the mountain. The plant palette for this space primarily utilized the same native vegetation as was existing on site. After construction, all of the disturbed areas were revegetated creating a seamless and sustainable transition back to the native desert.  See More >>

Low Impact Development Toolkit

Award of Excellence - Analysis and Planning

Logan Simpson

Low Impact Development (LID) is an aspect of green infrastructure design that has not been widely recognized in the DesertSouthwest until recently. Spurred by EPA incentives to include LID is as part of their MS4 permit renewal, the City of Mesa teamedwith the City of Glendale to procure a grant from the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona to develop guidelines and educational tools that could be used in policymaking, development of new design guidelines and details, and the education of thecity agencies, developers, businesses, and residents. The project team, led by landscape architects and including engineers, developed a highly graphic toolkit approach that describes the need, benefits, and best practices in a concise presentation that is easily communicated and understood by a range of audiences. LID is a sustainable approach to stormwater management that utilizes designed landscapes to reduce offsite flows that can contribute to poor water quality, flooding, and added infrastructure costs. The goal of LID is to mimic the predevelopment hydrologic regime of a watershed area or site by utilizing techniques that are illustrated in the toolkit. By defining how implementation of green infrastructure techniques can impact representative areas within Mesa and Glendale, the LID Toolkit will help these cities find ways to integrate it into their stormwater management systems. The ultimate benefit of utilizing LID is to reduce stormwater impacts while conserving water and improving urban landscapes. The landscape architects worked closely with the various departments at each city, presenting examples of LID that were tailored to the Lower Sonoran Desert landscape, as well as identifying concerns and potential barriers to implementation in each jurisdiction. Once the Toolkit was developed, the landscape architects presented to public forums that included city agencies and staff, developers and builders, and the general public.  See More >>

El Rio Design Guidelines and Planning Standards

Honor Award - Analysis and Planning

J2 Engineering & Environmental Design

The vision of a restored Gila River, serving as a catalyst for economic development in the Southwest Valley, was born in 1999. That vision has flourished through the cooperative efforts of Maricopa County and the Cities of Avondale, Buckeye and Goodyear. The El Rio Design Guidelines and Planning Standards provides these partners and their communities with guidelines to supplement current development regulations. These guidelines create a focus on techniques that increase awareness and appreciation of the Gila River. These design guidelines illustrate development options and solutions to developing in a floodplain, while maintaining access to the Gila River, improving the aesthetic quality of the river and its surrounding communities, increasing the availability of publicly accessible open space, and effectively utilizing planning efforts to maximize the potential of the surrounding area for development and economic growth. Purposes of this document include: • Communicate the design qualities expected within the El Rio area • Facilitate fair and consistent application of design objectives throughout the El Rio area • Protect investment within the El Rio area by encouraging consistently high-quality development • Establish a positive interface with the river by integrating the river into the future development potential along the corridor • Promote pedestrian and multi-modal connections to the river to foster an interconnected society • Promote the economic viability of this area for future development An overriding goal is that development within the El Rio corridor will provide an interconnected, multi-modal system with a mix of uses and green spaces. Development in the corridor will link to the El Rio Trail system and the river environment. This interconnected ‘ribbon’ of green will transform the El Rio corridor into a unified, cohesive setting where residents and visitors can connect with nature, pause and enjoy life, and allow nature and humans to flourish.  See More >>

Pima County Low Impact Development & Green Infrastructure

Honor Award - Analysis and Planning

Pima County Regional Flood Control District

The Low Impact Development (LID) Working Group was formed to gather information to create a detailed guide for our community to manage stormwater. This Group consists of a mega-disciplinary cross section. As we gathered information, it became clear that the majority of current practices for managing bountiful rainfall on the east coast or northwest forests had little to do with the unique conditions of the desert. Typically we receive 12” annual rainfall. We realized quickly there was limited knowledge of our local conditions, making the publication of this manual all the more critical. We also realized no matter how beneficial and critical our group thought LID was, the community at large was still very much uninformed. This manual provides technical guidance for professionals and homeowners for implementing neighborhood-scale Low Impact Development and Green Infrastructure (GI) practices within Pima County’s desert climate. The basic concepts of LID and GI are discussed, with emphasis on why rainwater harvesting and conservation through LID/ GI planning and structural practices is relevant to managing our natural resources. The manual contains guidance in the following categories: The Site Assessment, Planning and Design Process GI/LID Planning Practices Structural LID Practices Common LID Components Inspection and Maintenance of GI/ LID Practices  See More >>

January 8th Memorial Competition

Honor Award - Unbuilt

Logan Simpson

Well-designed public spaces can do many things. They exhibit a community’s value on quality of life. They entertain, bring pleasure or comfort, or display the character of a place or environment. The January 8th Memorial site requires special attention to aesthetics for another reason: to enrich an emotive experience. Balancing form and function with vision, desire, and need is achieved through connecting aesthetics to place. The feeling of authenticity of the memorial, its connection to the site and to the Greater Tucson community, is a crucial test of the aesthetic impact. Understanding of the site’s individual elements, such as the way materials age in the desert air or the particular character of Tucson, is essential to the visual, tactile, and experiential beauty of the memorial. Detail-driven, innovative, functional, and visually striking, the Memorial is rooted in the physical and cultural elements valued by the community while complementing the historic character of El Presidio Park. By using: • A simple, authentic palette • Clean, bold lines • Clear, meaningful sequencing the memorial’s simplicity focuses viewers on a place and people by highlighting the individuals and stories of January 8, 2011, and the community's response in the aftermath. Visitors to a memorial often report a heightened sense of their surroundings, making sensory details critical. Attention must be paid to light, its intensity, color rendering, reflection, and control. Changes in light and shadow throughout the day enhance the experience, enrich the materials and spaces, and focus attention on the individual memorial elements. The final result uses simple, powerful design to layer thought and meaning, creating a dynamic and deeply interconnected series of spaces and forms that hint at complexity while keeping the visitors’ experience focused on the message and experience.  See More >>

Manufacture Ecology

Honor Award - Student Collaborative

Xin Tan + Baldwin Sear

The district is located in University of Arizona, Tucson. In the desert environment, water source is important. There is a urgent problem for our residents. How can we make a resilient landscape to reuse waste water and runoff? Now, University of Arizona is looking for a great solution for the problem. This campus design will be a example explore it. This design leverages urban hydrology to create a green corridor that serves as a demonstration site for water conservation. By daylighting waste and excess water from surrounding buildings, the design creates, in the process, an infrastructure network to mitigate flood events, reduce heat, and provide space for social interaction. By integrating productive crops with native vegetation, the design is able to provide another resource. This controlled hydrological process can be used to generate food and create a landscape that changes with the seasons, bringing attention to climate and regional identity. The water collection system is designed to bring all AC condensate and run-off into concentrated cells, where toxins can be removed before the water is eventually dispersed underground by pump (landmark structure)or stored for re-use as irrigation. Overall, the site will be transformed by exposing AC condensate and surrounding rain run-off to create a lush environment that will enhance the quality of the water moving through the site, provide canopy and shade for human comfort, reduce urban heat, provide wildlife habitat, and offer educational opportunities. Our design addresses critical concerns of sustainability and resiliency in the arid southwest. By utilizing multiple water sources and seeing rain events not as a problem to mitigate but as a resource to allocate, our plan provides a sharp contrast to the typical landscape found in Tucson. We can not only provide a rich and lush vegetated environment that provides multiple ecosystem services and food for the community, our design achieves this without the need for any city water.  See More >>

Lehi Green Link

Award of Excellence - Student Collaborative

Anna Chen + Vincent Vhung + Nathaniel Kirby

Initiative to revitalize derelict landscapes along the Rio Salado corridor, where gravel mines and landfills are commonplace, emerged from a dedicated Mesa community. The community vision was to enhance existing Sheepherders Park and utilize the surrounding land, canals, falls and trails to create a truly unique community space. Lehi Green Link provides a solution that will contribute to the success and needs of the community while also setting the framework for thriving natural landscapes through green infrastructure, landscape ecology and habitat restoration efforts. Lehi Green Link connects Caballo del Rio Trailhead and habitat restoration to Cascades at Lehi and its adjacent neighborhoods. The two sites are linked to the rest of Mesa through an urban trail system including hiking, biking, equestrian, complete streets and enhanced canal paths. Cascades at Lehi is transformed into a cultural space primarily focused on arts and recreation. The park’s program includes open picnic meadows, a hammock grove, cactus sculpture garden, sport fields and performance amphitheater. Caballo del Rio Trailhead (Horse of the River), located adjacent to Rio Salado and Tyler Farms Arabian horse stables, focuses on the preservation and restoration of the region’s native habitats.  See More >>

Cady Mall

Honor Award - Student Individual

Paula Wheeler

This project aimed to enhance Arizona State University’s adaptive capacity of water resources through a redesign proposal of the northern section of Cady Mall in Tempe, Arizona. Analysis for this project examined the local and regional social-ecological systems of urban ecology such as climate trends and “socio-economic” characters, as well as water resources (stormwater runoff, irrigation, and water consumption across campus). The project applied principles of ecological and resilient design by implementing modular design components, developing multi-use/ multi-functional elements, and intelligent use and reuse of water throughout multiple systems. It envisions a future where ASU’s Tempe campus is a national leader in sustainable water management. The resilient strategies embraced by ASU support a biodiverse campus through visible and educational systems that inspire innovative designs for integrating the human environment with ecological systems in which systems complement and enhance one another. The resilient social-ecological systems will sustain not only the ASU Tempe campus but the surrounding city of Tempe to withstand and mitigate increased extreme weather from climate change. The design adopted Walker and Salt’s resilience concept that “resilience capacity can be strengthened by bio-diversity, modularity, tight feedbacks, social capital, acknowledging slow variables and thresholds and innovation” to create guiding principles for the site. Resilience is defined as ”the capacity of the system to respond to change or disturbance without changing its basic state” (Walker & Salt, 2006).  See More >>

Symbiotic Urban Water System

Award of Excellence - Student Individual

Ali Abbaszadegan

Opportunities do not come often in a student’s studio career where they can live in another country for a semester and work on meaningful social projects directly tied to landscape architecture. The project in this packet is the culmination of a years work across two countries (Argentina + U.S.A) and two masters degrees (Landscape Architecture + Architecture). Working alongside the municipality of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires this project proposed solutions to dire ecological challenges in the lower economic areas of the metropolis. Through extensive research, mapping and gathering of materials about informal settlements the project became a tool that proposes to place pieces of community infrastructure (high school) that would revitalize a historic wetland that has turned into a landfill. The issues of unsustainable practices, water management and social welfare all culminate within this area called Comuna 8. This area will serve as a pilot project for the city and will act as a case study to other sites across the globe that face similar challenges of how to manage and plan for social housing public space, urban ecology, context related building typology and sustainable infrastructure. This area contains strong assets like the Riachuelo River and an abundance of water flowing through the site. The main plan will be to focus on using existing infrastructure as an armature to help revive the lost landscape and design a network of connected greenways that will rejuvenate the polluted and strained ecosystem of the Banado (wetland) spanning the full distance of the metropolitan. After working with local officials and presenting the project real change began to take place. Having spoken to people living in this area we knew they had enough of the poor conditions and the city responded beautifully with the beginnings of an incredible transformation.  See More >>

ASLA's Mission is to lead, to educate, and to participate in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environments.
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