Last fall semester, most of my classes were on the west end of campus, and I spent my time between classes in a quiet little courtyard / pedestrian alleyway behind the Arabic department that I called “my office,” since it didn’t feel safe to work at a carrel inside while contagion still abounds.
This spring semester, I taught a good bit farther away from the Arabic department, and made “my office” in a shaded corner of the architecture department, the Underwood Family Sonoran Landscape Laboratory.
… a demonstration landscape as a high performance integration of the building and site. The project employs classic low-cost arid land design principles like water harvesting, water reuse, and mitigation of desert microclimates.Underwood Family Sonoran Landscape Laboratory, Landscape Performance Series
The award-winning space, with three micro biomes representing different regions of the Sonoran Desert, has tables mostly in the shade during the heat, with some benches mostly in the sun when it’s cold.
While all of that made a beautiful setting for work, it also provided some distraction when I wanted it: trees, birds, flowers, and students frequently emerging from the architecture building with intriguing models to photograph them in the sunlight of the parking lot.
Anna’s Hummingbirds and Verdin
I never managed to capture my own photographs of a hummingbird, and barely captured the verdin, but they were both everywhere! The verdin, I now know, were nesting all throughout the mesquite trees above me.
These were kind of a pain, actually. Every time the wind blew ever-so-slightly, my laptop and bag would be showered with little blossoms that infiltrated everywhere.
and other flowers
I’m a little sorry to know that I’ll most likely be back in my prior “office” behind the Arabic building next semester. I’ll miss the Sonoran Garden.