Combining integrated project delivery (IPD) and integrative environmental design with close community involvement and creative solutions, Scottsdale’s Museum of the West realized significant impact on a modest budget ($325.69/sf) for a major cultural attraction. The client partnership between the City of Scottsdale and a nonprofit organization requested high standards of resiliency and environmental performance, to reduce energy consumption and operational and maintenance costs while meeting and LEED Gold criteria. The iconic, human-scaled result catalyzes Scottsdale’s walkable historic arts district on an adapted transit station site.
Inspired by Western icons including woven baskets and the Colorado Plateau’s red cliffs, the building opens to public spaces organized like horseshoes around a vertically articulated courtyard. The court’s natural light is a central, organizing element, recalling the colorful, dramatic western landscape. Economical tilt-up concrete and pre-engineered steel structures add thermal mass and adaptability, with exposed materials or natural wood as interior finishes. Low-E glazing, cool roofing, and exterior shading elements reduce heat gain and HVAC loads. Natural daylighting with interior shading complement electrical sources. Resulting energy and water use outperform proposed targets.
For the desert location, water-efficiency measures include the city’s first reuse of street stormwater, condensate and rainfall harvesting, landscaped bioswales capturing rainwater, and native plantings. Healthy, welcoming interiors invite visitors up open stairs, across a pedestrian bridge, and through galleries. Materials inspired by the scenic west include economical yet tactile, textured palette of durable surfaces in concrete, patinated steel, and fragrant Western red cedar. Highly flexible interiors accommodate future shifts in client programming and use.
Near public transit, the Museum enhances local historic context and adds to a vital cultural hub with vibrant outdoor life. Resilient and efficient, it cost about a third of comparable museums construction while harmonizing with the city and regional ecology.
Material and resource selection for the Museum combined life-cycle analysis and considerations for flexibility and future uses of gallery spaces and public zones, with resulting CO2 intensity of 58lb/co2/sf. The IPD project team evaluated multiple construction options and system/material choices based on cost, suitability, durability and sustainability. A summary matrix compared available opportunities to reduce resources required. During the project, over 75% of nonhazardous construction debris was recycled or salvaged. Construction materials included reusing wood boards for tilt-up forming, and interior sound attenuation blankets for a large theater are made with locally sourced cotton. Custom metal panels are formed from nominal sheet sizes to eliminate waste.
Natural, raw materials used throughout the building’s design evoke the colorful and rugged quality of the Southwest environment. Many are regionally and sustainably sourced, with inspiration from the scenic west: horseshoes, woven baskets, red cliffs and mesas of the Colorado Plateau. The economical building palette highlights beautiful, tactile and textured materials including concrete, patinated steel, and Western red cedar, which recalls historic regional “snake fencing” and vernacular house cladding. Inherently durability, the exposed materials retain their character, coloration, shape and utility for many decades.