Trumble, who teamed with Washington University’s Linda Samuels, guided CAPLA students in the design and creation of SLUG, the Sustainability Laboratory and Urban Garden at Tucson’s CITY High School.
Christopher Trumble, associate professor of architecture in the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona, and Linda Samuels, associate professor of urban design at Washington University in St. Louis, and have been awarded the prestigious 2020 Collaborative Practice Award by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA).
The project, titled Sustainability Laboratory and Urban Garden (SLUG), centered on a narrow alleyway located between Tucson’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 included CAPLA students Dulce Arambula, Dengjie Chen, Andrew Cusick, Peng Gao, Ryan Haines, Nikota Litzin, Dailong Ma, Dillon Mariano, Joe Miranda, Jordan Pascua, Crosbie Roper, Michael Vo, Mekael 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.
Trumble, who is also program chair of CAPLA’s Master of Architecture, is a LEED-accredited professional architect. His research and creative work investigate structure, material, geometry and fabrication processes. He researches design in nature and the harvesting of natural technologies, while furniture design is a primary component of his creative work. Trumble’s professional practice focuses on small-scale commercial, residential and community service projects.