Gateway to the Sandias: Building with Site and Climate

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Cities in the American Southwest such as Albuquerque, New Mexico consume large amounts of resources to build buildings and to operate them under extreme desert conditions. Architecture is the opportunity to investigate thresholds between urban and nature additionally inside and outside for solutions to natural resource depletion. In-between spaces often divided between inside and outside with a simplistic and arbitrary line. By viewing architecture as an ecotone, a transition space between two different ecosystems, designers can begin to stratify the threshold allowing for layered adaptability in different weather conditions. The Sandia Mountain Aerial Tram, at the eastern edge of Albuquerque offers opportunity for investigating a desert mountain ecotone to find solutions to the conflict between urban and nature as well as the built and wild. The building program examines the threshold between botany and land art approaches to the disruption of desert ecotone and natural resource depletion. The disciplines of botany and land art span the sciences and arts and offer innovative ways of looking at our natural environment.