Landscape Architect & Specifier News

JAN 2018

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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Phoenix has spent years and millions of dollars on preserving and making sensitive connections into the Sonoran Desert through their Parks Preserve program. Since 2009, the city has built over 36 miles of new trails in the Sonoran Preserve. The latest connection to the over 27,000 city acres of preserve land, the Desert Hills Trailhead, is at the intersection of Carefree Highway and 7th Avenue, an access point long used by area residents. J2 Engineering and Environmental Design, LLC (J2) provided overall design project management, site analysis and master planning, landscape architecture, civil engineering design, drainage analysis, traffic engineering, site revegetations and construction management. J2 was supported by a team of subconsultants: surveying by AZTEC Engineering and Kenney Aerial Mapping, geotechnical engineering by RAMM Engineering, electrical engineering by Wright Engineering, structural engineering by Gannett Fleming and Campbell Engineering, building interior architecture by Swan Architects, mechanical engineering by Applied Engineering, and native plant inventory by Native Resources. A main pedestrian walkway—the "spine"—connects Carefree Highway to the preserve. The design includes a pedestrian bridge that spans one of the preserved desert washes. J2 performed multiple sunshade studies to ensure the gathering space between the ramada and restroom would offer comfort and respite from the desert heat. Built components are rusted steel, integrally colored concrete and a sandblasted pattern of "cholla bones" on the restroom walls that cast intricate patterns on the stabilized decomposed granite floor. Rusted gabion baskets, one of the many stormwater harvest basins, blend into the desert landscape. Desert Hills Trailhead This design aesthetic included working with the contours of the natural land to accommodate, in an inconspicuous manner, 180 plus automobile parking lot spaces and a stabilized granite Right: The ramada is made of rusted steel I-beams and board-formed concrete walls. Welded to the steel I-beams are decorative steel panels cut to resemble the trunks ("skeltons") of Sonoran Desert Cholla cacti. Valley Steel laser cut the "cholla bone" panels, which create intricate shade patterns inside the ramada. A circular fan on a timer is set in the square wall space to cool off hikers. PHOTO: CREATIVE COMMONS ATTRIBUTION SHARE ALIKE. Below: The trunk of the cholla, the inspiration for the steel design panels, is used by a host of desert critters to hide from predators or to seek shelter from the desert sun. PHOTO: WESTERN NEW MEXICO UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL SCIENCES 66 Landscape Architect and Specifier News

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