Congratulations to CAPLA landscape architecture graduate students, Sara Sullivan and Aaron Liggett, on placing in the top 10 of the international 4th Annual Biomimicry Student Design Challenge!

Saguaro Way

The arid southwest faces two critical water issues; water scarcity and stormwater management for heavy monsoon rains. The quantity and seasonality of rainfall are distinct characteristics of the Sonoran Desert, in which species have specially adapted to survive these conditions. The Sonoran Desert is rich in biodiversity despite the absence of water during many months of the year. When rains do arrive the desert comes alive! Succulent plants have evolved to withstand not only long periods of time without water, but flourish under the intense sunlight and extreme heat of the desert. This project explores the adaptations of succulent plant species, specifically for their efficient collection and use of water. The saguaro, the largest succulent of the region, is only found in the Sonoran Desert. Thus, the organism bears the same climatic conditions we feel in Tucson, Arizona. For this reason we chose to study the adaptations of the saguaro that allow it to thrive in this region. In an effort to utilize stormwater as an amenity, a prototype for green infrastructure is modeled after the root structure and cortex of the saguaro. As a result, efficient stormwater collection allows natural habitat to be restored to this urban campus while creating an educational environment.

Project image of Saguaro Way



Thursday, January 17, 2013 - 10:30am