2014 Committee on Architecture for Education Design Excellence Award
Known for its history as a pre-railroad stagecoach town, the town of Maricopa has balanced its agricultural and Native American identities for the past century. Most recently Maricopa, a community 40 miles south of Phoenix, has been chronicled by the NY Times as a bedroom community boomtown gone bust. Central Arizona College has made an investment in the community and is betting on its future. This campus represents a glimmer of hope in an area struck by the national recession.
This new campus building, on a site resulting from a land swap with the local Native American Community, contains community rooms, a library and classrooms that create a place where community and college can come together. A well conceived passive sustainable desert architecture results from the masterful interplay of 30’ deep overhangs, rammed earth walls, light scoops and gently sloping roof plains. Large barn doors and generous but filtered natural light and views define flexible, interconnected spaces that support a variety of community and learning activities.There is an aspirational quality to this interpretation of vernacular architecture embodied in consistent, balanced and understated detailing both within the complex and in the surrounding exterior spaces.
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