The east downtown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, has a new look. That was the goal of the EDO Project, which used New Urbanist thinking to revitalize Central Avenue, Broadway Boulevard, and the Old Albuquerque High School, which is now lofts. Sites Southwest contributed to EDO's overall design plan, worked with other team members on site composition, and conceptualized landscapes for the initial development phases.
The rehabilitation of the Old Albuquerque High School structures and campus was one of the first redevelopment projects. The High School Project rehabilitated a classic old building and plaza into residential lofts. Outside, there was a new central plaza with landscaping, sitting areas, and outdoor "rooms" for entertaining. The project was a huge success, and there was a waiting list for tenants.
The role of Sites Southwest in this project included conceptual design and cost estimating for the streetscapes, parks, roundabouts, and crucial public plazas.
Within the Old Town museum district, this project is a premier attraction for the city of Albuquerque. The landscape was created to complement the facility's innovative architectural articulation while also providing a sustainable environment that is appropriate for the Rio Grande valley setting. The plan emphasizes native and adaptable plant materials, as well as water harvesting strategies. Furthermore, the landscape design includes an educational component in and of itself.
Sites Southwest collaborated with City staff, museum personnel, and architects to create a landscape design that serves as a flexible aesthetic element that can be interpreted on-site for things like historic components, traditional farming techniques, and special or endangered ecosystems.
Las Cruces City Hall
Sites Southwest returned to downtown Las Cruces to design the new city hall's landscape. This project was an extension of the previous Downtown Main Street revitalization and master plan.
The site plan includes a large entry plaza with distinctive landscape elements that complement the architecture. Shade trees and colorful ground level plantings reminiscent of local agriculture can be found in the plaza. Other elements are based on the historic acequia that runs beneath the property. Water is collected in parking lots and directed to planting areas or porous paving techniques. Sites' previous downtown Main Street designs incorporate native and low-water-use plants. Local traditions are reflected in the materials and colors used. Along a common streetscape, an art wall transitions from the grounds into a nearby neighborhood.
Sites Southwest was commissioned by the City of Las Cruces and the Downtown Partnership to develop a vision and revitalization strategy for the downtown area. The redevelopment strategy included plans for a new civic plaza and government office buildings, as well as attracting specialty retailers and service providers and enhancing downtown’s role as a cultural and arts center. According to the vision, capital improvements included a new city hall, a new Federal Courthouse, and a new main street. The new Main Street features special paving in areas that can be closed off for special events. Permanent shading elements adjacent to the new plaza will allow it to be easily transformed into a pedestrian-friendly environment for major public events.
Graphic visual simulations concepts were used as part of the design process to help community members and policymakers envision the downtown of the future. Sites Southwest also collaborated with LCDT and the City on legislative and other funding strategies.
Las Cruces Federal Courthouse
The designers of the Las Cruces Courthouse in southern New Mexico collaborated closely with Sites Southwest. The resulting design respects the environment by incorporating native plant and landscape materials. The architecture was also respected by using landscape forms and materials that were similar to the building's façade. Extra effort was made to create security elements that did not detract from the aesthetics of the landscape or the building. Exterior walkways with meeting and gathering areas provide shade in the summer and sun in the winter, resulting in usable outdoor spaces all year.
Project Vida Administration Facility
The architects' stated priorities for meeting the client's needs were to renovate and maximize the use of an existing building and to construct a new building with a vegetative roof. The clinic, wellness center, and administration building of ProjectVIDA provide much-needed services in an economically depressed area where outdoor space is scarce. Sites Southwest designed an outdoor classroom for wellness classes and afterschool gatherings, in addition to an organic vegetable garden for cooking classes and play areas for families waiting to be seen by the clinic's doctors and dentists. Rain gardens, stormwater catchment, and plants are used in the design to clean the captured water.
Organic vegetable gardening is provided for the wellness classes through an integrated vegetative roof design on the LEED PLATINUM Wellness and Administrative Building. Grey water collected from the building is collected in a cistern, filtered, and reused for site irrigation, including the green roof. These techniques, in conjunction with the planned permeable pavement on the paved surfaces surrounding the building, will reduce the amount of potable water used for the building and site landscape.
This large Montana property now houses a beautiful new facility for Administration and Maintenance of El Paso's public transportation system, which is a LEED Gold project for the City of El Paso and Sun Metro. It includes colorful waves of low-water flowering and evergreen plants, a large variety of trees (to reduce heat island effect and improve vehicular and pedestrian experience), and a courtyard that will be used by employees for break, lunch, and outdoor meetings, all of which are rabbit resistant (due to its proximity to native desert areas).
Large, planted berms and colorful low-water plants were used to blend a visitor and bus parking lot into the landscape. The Civil Engineer meticulously coordinated stormwater collection ponds and highly particular requirements for bus access and egress from the site. The public artist was chosen as the design was coming to a close, and Sites Southwest designers expertly incorporated the sculpture after careful cooperation with the artists. Concerns over bird populations necessitated coordination with EPIA due to the airport's flight pattern being next to this facility. TXDOT worked closely with us to maximize design potential and then incorporate them into the final design, allowing trees to stay in their ROW.
Tiguex Park has been a part of Albuquerque and its residents since its inception in the early 1970s, when it was designed by Antoine Predock. It has been redesigned to provide a lovely shaded promenade connecting Old Town and the City's three museums to the northeast. Tiguex Park is not only a neighborhood park with playgrounds, ball courts, and soccer fields; it also serves as a focal point for Old Town Fiestas and a gathering place for the greater Albuquerque metropolitan area. Sites Southwest reviewed the context, street crossings and linkages, and programmatic needs to redesign this special place. This analysis was used to assist in the development of a spatial framework for the new park, including the activities and uses that define the immediate park context. The new design restored the soccer fields as a dual use with an amphitheater, integrated water conservation strategies with seat walls along the park's edges, improved safety and visibility by opening up the park's berms, and updated the park's orientation and connection to its neighbors: neighborhoods, the Museum District, Mountain Road, and the Sawmill Area. Sites Southwest created a series of aesthetic elements to make the park more identifiable, highlighted by the iconic gateway monuments fabricated with New Mexico Travertine that linked the design to the building forms of the Albuquerque Museum. This winning combination, along with gorgeous and sustainable landscape design, has proven to be a huge success for this beloved Albuquerque Park, ensuring that future generations can enjoy it.