Western Maricopa Education Center

Education // Landscape Architecture

The Western Maricopa Education Center (West-MEC) Northwest Campus provides career and technical education to high school students and adults in the automotive, computer technology, construction, health and beauty, and medical industries. Logan Simpson provided siting and landscape architecture design for Phase I, which includes energy, STEM, administration, and IT/cyber buildings. The campus provides open and flexible spaces to allow programs to overlap, including outdoor labs/work areas; an amphitheater; and student social gathering areas. An assembly space called “The Lightbox” serves as a student gathering space and hosts staffing events and academic conferences by day. By night, the outer shell lights up and serves as a beacon for public awareness. Sustainability measures include low-water-use plants and sustainable stormwater management practices (LID), which capture rainwater where it falls, reducing the need for irrigation and capturing pollutants that would otherwise enter the stormwater system. An east-west orientation controls solar exposure while providing large expanses of shade for outdoor activities and gathering. An outdoor courtyard creates a microclimate by providing a sheltered space with native plant material while the buildings utilize energy-efficient glass and energy modeling to reduce dependency on active systems to cool interior spaces. See a video of the project here.