Architecture Lecturer Oscar Lopez on His Favorite Place in Southern Arizona: The Underwood Garden
This fall, Arizona Daily Star and Arizona Illustrated ran an eight-part series on "Favorite Places," featuring local architects speaking thoughtfully and personally about a favorite building, place or space in Southern Arizona. On October 31, 2020, Lecturer in Architecture Oscar Lopez shared his favorite place in an editorial on Tucson.com and video in Arizona Illustrated: the Underwood Garden at the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture.
"The architecture and the systems of the space are so well designed and integrated that they become invisible," says Lopez in the editorial and video. "The garden then becomes just that, a simple space to be enjoyed, an oasis hidden in the corner of a parking lot waiting to be discovered. A refuge and means of escape for the hundreds of architecture and design students that spend countless sleepless hours and nights trying to invent new ways to solve local and global problems."
"This small project serves as hope for all of those barren urban plazas throughout our cities that they too, against all odds, can be transformed into inspirational, healthy gathering spaces that connect us all with the sensory experience of nature and the social experience of each other," says Christine Ten Eyck of Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, which designed the Underwood Garden alongside the new CAPLA East Building, which was designed by Jones Studio.
Since founding s p a c e BUREAU in 2016, Lopez and his practice have received eight AIA Awards for built projects on the local, state and regional AIA level. He has been a lecturer at CAPLA since 2016, teaching second-year architecture studios and serving as American Institute of Architecture Students faculty advisor and leader of summer study abroad programs. Lopez, who serves as the AIA Southern Arizona associate director and co-chair of the 2020 AIA Arizona virtual state conference, is a recipient of the 2018 AIA Arizona Associates Award, 2019 AIA Mountain Region Jason Pettigrew Leadership Scholarship and 2020 AIA Arizona Presidential Citation.