Arboretum at Flagstaff Visitor Center

Arboretum at Flagstaff Visitor Center


Flagstaff, Arizona

The Arboretum's overly dense ponderosa pine forest demands a sort of elbow room not easily understood by viewers of the current snapshot. An alpine meadow in its revealing openness offers the ideal foreground to the centerpiece of the view shed; an unobstructed view of the San Francisco Peaks. A new Visitor Center with the mission of educating patrons on the Colorado Plateau is integrated with its forest site, yet postured in a way affirming certainty; the center of indoor programs and educational endeavor.

Key to the meaning of the Arboretum, the forest and gardens, are not seen as separate from structure since they are the basis of all lessons to be learned here. Earth berms provide visual integration of the land and steady state shelter within, while maximizing the area available for gardens to demonstrate how plants of the Colorado Plateau may be used to bring joy to daily life. Translucent wall panels atop a linear atrium reach for the sun to supplement lighting. Water harvesting and grey-water reuse seem to be logical extensions of the place; rational form givers and shapers of architecture.

Offering clues independent of style or label, nature directs the design.

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