2011 Awards of Excellence: Phoenix Convention Center

Phoenix Convention Center Green Wall
Some of the landscaping features of the green wall at
Phoenix Convention Center.

Green Walls

Project: Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, AZ – 1,400 square foot green wall
Award Recipient: Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, Inc. (Design Landscape Architect)
Landscape Architect of Record: A. Dye Design Inc.
Architect: Populous
Mechanical Engineer: Syska Hennessy Group
Structural Engineer: Magnusson Klemencic Associates
Initial design for Condensate Treatment: Wass Gerke & Associates
Client Representative: Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture
Landscape Contractor: AAA Landscape

The gardens and architecture do more than just exist together; they each make it possible for the other to thrive.
- Judeen Terrey, RLA LEED AP, Senior Landscape Architect, Ten Eyck Landscape Architects
Phoenix Convention Center Green Wall
The purified condensate descends through
three stainless steel discs to nourish
the living wall.

A Vertical Cooling System in the Desert

In a quest to make the desert city of Phoenix more comfortable, sustainable, and more in harmony with its natural environment, the leaders of this project created a habitat garden that thrives on the urban structure that embraces it. The living wall was inspired by the sheltered canyon habitats of the Sonoran Desert and the settlement of Hohokam Indians that lived on this site. As an adaption to limited water resources, it was proposed that the water the building produces – condensate from the air conditioning system – be used to support and allow nature to thrive within the urban desert context.

At its peak flow, the building generates over 800 gallons of condensate water per day from 15 of its air handling units. Typically this water would be directed into the sanitary sewer system. However instead it is collected, stored, and used for irrigating the garden. Condensate is harvested and stored in two collection tanks. One of the tanks is located on the second floor of the Convention Center, where a window to Building Condensate Collection Point is a visual display to conventioneers of the condensate collection point before its entry into the habitat garden. The condensate generation is directly correlated with seasonal irrigation demands of the garden.

The harvested condensate is UV-treated for purification, then pumped outside. In celebration of water’s movement, the purified condensate descends through three stainless steel discs, trickling down an Arizona rain chain before its journey through a steel angle channel to nourish the living wall.

The overstructure living wall is constructed of steel columns, wire mesh, light weight soil, filter fabric, volanic rock and then planted with a native seed mix and seedlings such as Octopus Agave, Yucca, Chuparosa, and Brittlebush. All water runoff from the wall is then diverted via runnels to the adjacent sunken water harvesting garden.

The gardens and architecture do more than just exist together; they each make it possible for the other to thrive. The building supplies the desert gardens with condensate water and the landscape provides comfortable outdoor gathering spaces.

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To view pictures and profiles of the other 2010 winners, please return to our 2010 awards page.

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