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Arizona’s Water Education Center will teach visitors about water conservation and reuse strategies

Cultural Facilities

Arizona’s Water Education Center will teach visitors about water conservation and reuse strategies

The new center will be located at the headquarters of Central Arizona Project, a 336-mile system that delivers water to more than 80% of the state’s population.


By Novid Parsi, Contributing Editor | November 21, 2023
Arizona’s Water Education Center will teach visitors about water conservation and reuse strategies - Renderings courtesy Jones Studio
Rendering courtesy Jones Studio

Phoenix-based architecture firm Jones Studio will design the Water Education Center for Central Arizona Project (CAP)—a 336-mile aqueduct system that delivers Colorado River water to almost 6 million people, more than 80% of the state’s population.

The Center will allow the public to explore CAP’s history, operations, and impact on Arizona. With safe, up-close views of the canal, the space aims to enable a larger audience to understand CAP and how it fits into Arizona’s history. The Water Education Center also will host gatherings such as large water-stakeholder meetings, elected official briefings, and school field trips.

The Colorado River Basin is experiencing the effects of a decades-long drought and climate change, and Arizona has been experiencing a Colorado River shortage since 2021. Located at CAP’s headquarters, the new 8,000-sf, net-zero water facility emphasizes climate resilience and features onsite stormwater harvesting and passive rainwater harvesting from the building. The architecture and landscape will be used as pedagogical tools to illustrate innovative water conservation and reuse strategies.

“With this new Water Education Center, we endeavor to create an extremely energy- and resource-efficient building that embodies and expresses sustainable technologies,” Brian Farling, principal of Jones Studio, said in a statement.

Design ideas include a weathered steel cylinder embedded in the earth that acts as a sculptural catch basin for stormwater. In the entry plaza, a diagram of the Colorado River watershed, highlighting the CAP canals and prominent rivers, will educate visitors about the water system’s footprint.

Flexible multipurpose spaces and educational exhibit spaces will open to an outdoor gathering space that bridges the canal. A 27,000-sf canopy will protect visitors from the desert sun and collect rainwater for reuse. Traditional passive design strategies, such as thermal mass and self-shading, will be supplemented by a 6,000-sf photovoltaic array.

On the Building Team:
Owner: Central Arizona Project (CAP)
Design architect and architect of record: Jones Studio
Mechanical and plumbing engineer: Associated Mechanical Engineers
Electrical engineer: Woodward Engineering
Structural engineer: Rudow + Berry

Arizona’s Water Education Center will teach visitors about water conservation and reuse strategies
Rendering courtesy Jones Studio
Arizona’s Water Education Center will teach visitors about water conservation and reuse strategies
Rendering courtesy Jones Studio
Arizona’s Water Education Center will teach visitors about water conservation and reuse strategies
Rendering courtesy Jones Studio
Arizona’s Water Education Center will teach visitors about water conservation and reuse strategies
Rendering courtesy Jones Studio
Arizona’s Water Education Center will teach visitors about water conservation and reuse strategies
Rendering courtesy Jones Studio
Arizona’s Water Education Center will teach visitors about water conservation and reuse strategies
Rendering courtesy Jones Studio

 

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