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

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