Sustainability Laboratory and Urban Garden (SLUG) at CITY High School

April 10, 2020

Sustainability Laboratory and Urban Garden (SLUG) centers on a narrow alleyway located between Tucson, Arizona’s CITY High School and a neighboring property acquired as part of a middle school expansion. Measuring just 12 feet wide and 127 feet long, the alley represented the school’s only outdoor space.

Over the course of a year, the SLUG team—which was led by Assistant Professor of Architecture Christopher Trumble and included CAPLA students Dulce ArambulaDengjie ChenAndrew CusickPeng GaoRyan HainesNikota LitzinDailong MaDillon MarianoJoe MirandaJordan PascuaCrosbie RoperMichael VoMekael Wesley-Rosa, plus landscape architect Gina Trautner, architecture lecturer Dan Maher and resident architect Samuel Paz and gardeners and middle and high school students—reimagined and rebuilt the alley as a place for hands-on learning, play and urban agriculture.

A historic façade renovation grant put the purchase of a neighboring building that would become the middle school within reach, though that resulted in an uninhabitable and publicly accessible alley between the original CITY building and its future expansion. A $35,000 Green Fund grant seeded the CAPLA outreach studio led by Trumble that would partner with SCP and CITY.

SLUG accommodates multiple age groups, school-based and public events, growing and eating space, and formal and informal teaching and learning. Every component is flexible, adaptable and multi-functional, guided by the SLUG performance criteria: sustainability+laboratory+urban+garden. The space today is an active component of the CITY culture and curriculum and a model of sustainable design in downtown Tucson.

For additional information, view design/build project details, photos and testimonials:


Associate Professor of Architecture Christopher Trumble, CAPLA Students and Others


Design/Build Project, Faculty Work, Student Work


CITY High School in Tucson, Arizona