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Black Canyon Trailhead Facilities

New River, Arizona

(in collaboration with Jones Studio, Inc.)

The design of this completely off-grid project springs from a synergy between the experiential elements of “pioneer structures” along the Black Canyon Trail, and the environmental elements of desert and climate harmonious form, materials and systems.  Desert- and vandal-resistant materials of native stone, sandblasted concrete block, concrete slabs and site furniture, recycled and recyclable weathering steel cladding, and galvanized metal roofing are assembled in efficient and elegant forms and ways, making “the most with the least”, just as the pioneers did.  These forms, then, also respond to the sun, wind, rain and views in carefully articulated ways, always looking to layer more environmental responsibility into fewer moves and less material usage.  Intended as the first of a prototype set of structures to be built along the length of the Black Canyon Trail, the project is made of design “components” that can be constructed of different materials, depending on the location and accessibility of a specific facility along the trail.

Beyond the primary building systems, the project also includes composting waterless toilets, photovoltaic electricity to power evening building lighting and fans for the composting tanks, day-long daylighting design, precise natural ventilation design in restroom building, “sheet-flow” parking lot design to minimize site erosion, recycled weathered steel barbecues, bollards, and wastecan enclosures, and erosion and horse-friendly loading/unloading/parking design.