Mcdowell Sonoran Preserve, Gateway – Weddle Gilmore Architects
Designed by Weddle Gilmore Architects, The Gateway has been created to serve as the entrance to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The architects worked with the client to make sure the new addition to the property became a positive addition to the local landscape, and didn’t detract from it in any way.
The structure works well to give off a minimalist feel, and the roof sits beautifully atop the supports, seemingly appearing to just exist in the air from various angles. The material treatment of the entire build is respectful of the location, and serves to enforce the importance of the balance between the natural surroundings and the manmade incursion.
The addition of the solar panels on the roof in our eyes is an exceptionally good thing considering the hot climate of the location. Lessening the environmental impact such a structure can have on its natural setting at all points during its life is something that has been well considered by the design team, and dealt with in a sensible manner for the location.
“The Gateway was designed to celebrate the entry and passage into the 36,400 acre McDowell Sonoran Preserve while minimizing the impact on the native desert. The Gateway is the point of access to over 45 miles of trails within the McDowell Sonoran Preserve for hiking, bicycling, and equestrian enjoyment. The project site design achieved the complete preservation of the existing network of arroyos and minimized earthwork alterations of the natural habitat. The building walls are made of rammed earth, recalling a tradition of indigenous desert building while meeting all of the performance requirements of modern use. The roof is covered in native desert cobble so that it blends into the desert when observed from the mountain trails to the east. The Gateway incorporates numerous strategies for resource conservation. An 18 KW solar system generates as much solar electricity as the Gateway consumes to realize a ‘net zero’ of energy consumption. Up to 60,000 gallons of rainwater is harvested through roof collection and storage in an underground cistern–providing 100% of the water needed for landscape irrigation”, Weddle Gilmore Architects
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