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Wheat Scharf Associates
Tucson, Arizona

Wheat Scharf Associates (WSA) is a landscape architecture firm with 30 years of predominately public works experience: institutional facilities, urban streets and plazas, parks and public open space, roads and highways, and agency manuals. Established in 1982, WSA is proud of its 30 years in business and the long tenure and dedication of the staff. The staff of eight includes five Arizona-registered landscape architects, a LEED accredited professional and four ADOT-certified erosion control coordinators. WSA provides planning, design and construction administration services for the University of Arizona, cities, counties, Arizona DOT and Native American nations.

Interstate 10 / Interstate 19 Traffic Interchange, Tucson

The bold formliner design depicted on the bridge piers and walls acknowledges the site's visual importance and historic and cultural significance. It celebrates more than 4,000 years of Yaqui, O'odham, Apache, African, Asian and European peoples who have built communities, cultivated crops and continue to travel these historic routes. The corn, beans, squash and sunflowers symbolize our common ground. The landscape design concept reflects a gateway to the United States theme containing a circular grove of palo verdes that encompasses the interchange. Landform, inert materials and sculptural desert plants within the circle display ''threads'' of color and reflect forms from the wall and columns. Native plant material includes ocotillo, saguaro, blue palo verde and mesquite. In 2006, the project received a Best of Tucson award from the Tucson Weekly newspaper. Among the comments: ''Who knew a column supporting an overpass could also support a history lesson?''

Downtown Infrastructure Improvements Project, Scott Avenue, Tucson

The Scott Avenue segment is phase one of downtown Tucson's infrastructure improvements to encourage private development. The goal is safer, more pedestrian-friendly and inviting, day and night ''strolling streets'' to link streetcar stops and parking garages to the Temple of Music and Art, Scottish Rite Cathedral, the Children's Museum (Carnegie Library) and other landmarks. Ten Eyck Landscape Architects worked with WSA to create the streetscape design concept. Infrastructure and streetscape improvements include:
• Wide sidewalks, street trees, street furniture and intermittent parallel parking bays; demolished concrete was crushed and reused in planting areas.
• Energy-efficient, street and pedestrian lighting; white light for good color rendition.
• Native and drought tolerant tree, shrub and accent plant palette, including signature Sonoran desert species.
• Water harvesting/stormwater mitigation; curb cuts to recessed planting basins.
• Solar-powered gateway features, with images and text, illustrating the historic and cultural significance of Scott Avenue
• Public art that adds a twist to the story of Scott Avenue.
• Upgraded ''Presidio Trail'' markers: glass aggregate pavers and self-contained solar powered paver lights. A segment of the historic walking trail passes through the project.

University of Arizona Sixth Street Residence Halls, Tucson

The University of Arizona's newest residence halls were the first residence halls in the state to be certified LEED Platinum. Design elements include blending indoor and outdoor functions, ''green gateways,'' sustainable site and landscape systems and native Sonoran Desert plant species. The building arrangements, designed by NAC Architecture, create shaded, canyon-like courtyards and extensive water harvesting opportunities. Passive stormwater harvesting techniques include traditional micro-basins, swales, check-dams, and recessed grading, plus a system to distribute water to subsurface soil depths devised in collaboration with Stantec's civil engineers. To improve water delivery, irrigation consultant Carl Kominsky specified separate valves for the mesoriparian tree species and deep drip stakes used in combination with drip emitters. Soil moisture sensors at depths of 8 and 24 inches prevent under and over-watering.

University of Arizona Women's Plaza of Honor, Tucson

The plaza was conceived by the director of the university's department of women's studies and championed by its advisory council as a means to celebrate and honor women, publicly and permanently, and to build an endowment for the department. The project was entirely donor funded; honoree names (not donor names) appear on various plaza elements. The linear form of the site inspired a concept of three themed sequential plazas: the playful exuberance of young women in the Youth Plaza; the demands of family, career and community in the Maturity Plaza; and creativity, reflection and perspective in the Seniority Plaza. The project transformed an underused corridor into a popular meeting-lunch-study place, and a destination for receptions and performances so popular that events must be scheduled months in advance.

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November 19, 2019, 11:09 pm PDT

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