Dust Devil Park, located on 14 acres in west Phoenix, first grabbed the judge's attention for its aesthetics, but then won them over for how it blends with and serves the surrounding community.

Photo by Tomas Perez
Dust Devil Park, Phoenix, Ariz.

Because the project site was directly adjacent to Villa La Paz Elementary School, the planning effort began with ways the park would complement and supplement those existing facilities. The name "Dust Devil," was chosen because that is the name of the school's mascot.

And, since the school hosts recreation league sports and playing fields, the park features three large ramada areas, several open-turf areas, a skate park and splash pad.

Water is not exclusive to the splash pad though, as it is a dominant feature at Dust Devil Park —a striking theme for a project in the arid Southwest. Agricultural water from a nearby canal is used to create a rivulet that meanders through the length of the park. The water feature is punctuated by boulders and native ash trees. When combined with the two other tree-planting zones that feature mesquite and blue Palo Verde, respectively, designers say nearly a quarter of the park will be shaded when the trees reach maturity.

The nearby irrigation canal that feeds the rivulet was moved underground as part of this project. The agricultural water demands served by the canal, owned by the Roosevelt Irrigation District, translated into only a brief winter shutdown and therefore a small window for construction activity. Since this portion of the work needed to coordinate with the shutdown opportunity, it needed to happen in advance of the park design completion. The construction team fast-tracked this work and established a separate budget, which the Phoenix Parks Dept. released early.

The custom ramadas were designed to further accentuate the water features. The blue circular rooftops and green support columns were designed to represent the water's surface. The rooftops of the ramadas are capped off by solar panels, which can offset 25% of the park's power consumption.

"Aesthetically, and functionally, what the project team did was just fantastic," one judge said.

Dust Devil ParkPhoenix, Ariz.

Key Players

Contractor ForeSite Design & Construction Inc., Gilbert, Ariz.

Owner City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Dept., Phoenix

Lead Design J2 Engineering and Environmental Design LLC, Phoenix

Electrical Engineer Wright Engineering, Chandler, Ariz.

Ground Survey Aztec Engineering, Phoenix

Geotechnical Engineer Ricker, Atkinson, McBee, Mormon, and Associates, Tempe, Ariz.

Structural Engineer JG Engineering, Phoenix

Civil Engineer Stantec, Phoenix

Safety Consultant Universal Safety Compliance, Phoenix

Subcontractors Sandstorm Construction, Phoenix; Uranga Landscape Co. LLC, Phoenix; California Skateparks, Upland, Calif.; Fisher Shotcrete, Higley, Ariz.; L.R. Cowan Concrete Co., Phoenix; Milling Machinery, Mesa, Ariz.; Michael L. Riddle Painting, Phoenix