Desert Hills Trailhead
The Desert Hills Trailhead was designed to provide pedestrians and equestrians a connection to the desert preserve. This design included working with the land to accommodate in an inconspicuous manner a 180 automobile parking lot and an equestrian parking lot. Extensive site analysis ensured that the project respected, celebrated and connected to the site and was not forced “onto” the site but grew “out of” the site. Existing native plants were inventoried with the goal of either protecting the plants in place or salvaging them and replanting them on the site. The ramada and restroom building create a gathering space between them that offers respite from the desert heat with large roof planes that optimize the shade cast below them. The structure frames the desert beyond. Raw steel will naturally patina into the rich oranges and deep browns that are so readily apparent in the surrounding preserve. Large concrete walls ground the structures and provide a corresponding relationship and scale to the mountain preserve. A pedestrian walkway transects the site and connects Carefree Highway to the preserve. A pedestrian bridge spans a preserved wash. Gabion baskets serve as the backdrop to storm water harvest basins.