Cuenca Del Rio, meaning river basin in Spanish, allows the natural fluidity of collection and dispersal to shape its form and function. Driven by the ideas of ecology, education, and contextual appropriateness, the redesign of the Rio Salado Audubon Center provides a unique environmental experience through the changing of vantage points, that is intended to bring awareness of the vast work of the Audubon Society while inspiring a greater environmental and community ethic.
Conceptually the project is driven by the desire to educate visitors using three unique vantage points of a riparian ecosystem. As visitor’s arrive they descend into the building allowing them to explore the underwater world from the sunken exhibition gallery. As they make their way through the site they are treated with a series of educational trails that meander amongst three biofiltration basins, each planted with a unique riparian biome, giving visitor’s a comprehensive experience of the desert riparian habitat. Finally, a large raised walking path dominates the cottonwood/willow biome allowing visitors to experience the site at “bird level” creating a place that doesn’t just educate visitors, but captivates them.