ESTRELLA MOUNTAIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Sustainability plays a key role in this landscape. Passive water harvesting increases infiltration, filters rainwater, and supplements irrigation. The land formations act as a sculptural expression of water movement; landforms of positive and negative relief orchestrate water flow from high points to low points of collection and conveyance, and serve to screen and enclose more intimate areas. Plant species within the low areas, flourish in occasional excess water, while the plant species on the berms depend on a drier microclimate. Natural steel cisterns designed by the landscape architect collect and release roof rainwater through a series of spillways into the landscape in a celebratory way. Textured steel grating bridge the swales.
The low-maintenance landscape appears deceivingly complex and wild; however, it consists of all low-water-use, climate-appropriate plantings with drip irrigation. The budget was extremely modest. Nearly all of the plant species do not require any maintenance other than strategic pruning of the Palo Brea Parkinsonia praecox and Mesquite Prosopis hybrid groves. The grand lawn is located centrally, both within the overall campus fabric as well as to the library, featuring a stage for graduation ceremonies as well as a social gathering space and commons used daily. This space allows for informal play and larger events such as outdoor movies, festivals, and group exercise.
Location: Avondale, Arizona
Size: 1 acre
Client: Maricopa County Community College District
Completion Date: 2014
Richärd + Bauer
Hardscape Design and Landscape Design
World Landscape Architecture | Jul 2016
Estrella Hall at Estrella Mountain Community College
Landscape Record | Feb 2015
2014 ASLA Arizona Design Honor Award
2014 Arizona Forward Association Environmental Excellence Awards, Crescordia Award