Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sustainable Built Environments students in this summer’s SBE 301 Foundation Studio are taking on an exciting design project that has been gaining a lot of talk: a new Wildlife Viewing Pavilion for the Tucson Audubon’s Paton Center for Hummingbirds. The Paton Center is a paradise for birders from all over the world, nestled in a natural, welcoming, quaint neighborhood in the small town of Patagonia, Arizona. Originally Marion and Wally Paton’s backyard, the Paton’s shared their love for birding by warmly inviting all who wished to experience the beauty of some 200 species of birds to grab a seat in their backyard and watch. Now under the leadership of the Tucson Audubon Society, the center remains open for visitors, students, and birders while maintaining the comfort of sitting in your neighbor’s backyard. With funds provided through ArtPlace's National Grants Program, this dynamic project involves designing a new structure for visitors to sit while they watch, photograph, and experience their surroundings. The Sustainable Built Environments students will research and plan for environmental conditions, varying landscape, historical and cultural context of the center and the town, as well as the behaviors, species, and migrations of the wildlife in the area. This project provides students with experience in communicating and working with many different audiences. Some of the key stakeholders include project lead Keith Ashley of the Tucson Audubon Society, their board members, the site’s caretaker Larry Morgan, conservation ecologists, tour leaders, and visitors. Under the instruction and guidance of Annie Kurtin, Lecturer in Architecture and Sustainable Built Environments, students will consider sustainable design practices such as the use of recycled construction materials, rainwater harvesting, and more. This new Wildlife Viewing Pavilion is planned to become the “heart” of the center and, as time alters other structures and features at the center, remain not only a viewing space but a strong sense of place for the decades to come. Keep track of the project’s progress throughout this summer at http://facebook.com/UASBE. Learn more about the Tucson Audubon’s Paton Center for Hummingbirds at http://www.tucsonaudubon.org/work/patons.html