Fort Lowell State Park

CLIENT
Poster Frost Mirto Architects

OWNER
City of Tucson Parks, East District, Tucson, AZ

AGENCY
Pima County Cultural Resources

PROJECT NOTES
This project received the 2010 Arizona State American Society of Landscape Architects Honor Award, and earned a finalist position in the 2010 Metropolitan Pima Alliance Architecture, Planning and Design award category.

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Fort Lowell ASLA_Board 3 (800x572)

As the Owner and Principal of SAGE Landscape Architecture & Environmental, Lyndes lead the landscape architecture for the master planning and was the historic landscape specialist. Master planning scope of work included site inventory, neighborhood and public involvement, advisory committee coordination, cultural and historic landscape treatments, balance of recreation and historic interpretive park user needs and City /County coordination.

The property is on the Register of Historic Places, and is in a City Historic District. Multiple structures were assessed for integrity and significance, and we reviewed the historical record to confirm the location of site and landscape components not currently evident. Many of the resources were found to be off the publicly owned land on neighboring property, like the site of the garden, root cellar and irrigation canals. The period of significance was the Fort era in the late 1800s through early 1900, but in the 1970’s the County Department of Transportation built a roadway arterial bisecting the historic parade grounds. The proposed approach to visually integrating the parade grounds on both sides if this modern-day roadway corridor was to focus on key visual elements of the cottonwood tree allee, and the perimeter fence of the parade grounds, provide a pedestrian crossing to re-unify both parts of the park.

The park is owned and managed by the City, and the improvements are funded by the County. Coordination across both County and City departments was required. The right level of coordination in many forms (site meetings, group meetings, one-on-one meetings, charettes, public meetings, political representative update phone calls and contractor meetings) achieved to goals of addressing stakeholder concerns. Recreational demands on parks are high, while public parks with historic resources also present great educational opportunities. The right balance was built into the master plan from assessing the significance and integrity of the historic resources, and proposing treatments that foster improved quality within like-activity zones; and also consolidating recreational resources in non-fragmented functional zones, associated with support components like parking, restrooms, and lighting.

The hierarchy of announcement and orientation achieved with paths, trails, and roadways is reinforced in the plan using a wayfind­ing scheme that adapts to the build environment and the human expectations for orientation and navigational purposes. Under­standing the build envi­ron­ment and where infor­ma­tion, accessibility, signage and materials are needed to max­i­mize leg­i­bil­ity is integrated into the plan forming a mobility framework. The collaborative process included multiple public discussions and task force meetings with the citizen‘s advisory committee.  The Phase I Master Plan includes preservation of the historic setting, design of an entry road, parking lots, trails, an interpretive program, interpretive signage, natural resource preservation and interpretation, enhancement of the existing recreational facilities, a maintenance facility and entry monumentation.