The intent of the Reach 11 design competition was to create shade on sun-blistered recreation fields located along the Central Arizona Project Canal. The fields comprise 1,500-acres of xeroriparian habitat owned by the Bureau of Reclamation and managed by the city of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department. The primary function of Reach 11 is a flood detention basin designed to protect the canal from damaging flood waters, and its secondary function is recreation. The recreational facilities include a 100-acre sports complex, 10 soccer fields and 18 miles of multi-use trails frequented by hikers, bikers and horseback riders. We conceived a buoyant shading system as a way of reducing the shade structure’s footprint and minimizing displaced detention volume. Focused on diurnal ritual and celebrating aspects of climate, buoyancy is achieved like a hot-air balloon. The balloon skin acts as a greenhouse shell. It captures thermal radiation form the sun heightening the difference between balloon air and exterior air temperature. The difference creates buoyancy, resulting in patterns of shade as ephemeral and organic as cloud formations.
City of Phoenix