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Celebrating Buckeye's Rich History and Breathtaking Natural Landscape

Desert Sunset Elementary School

Buckeye, AZ

The White Tank Mountains consist of beautiful Sonoran Desert terrain that display a series of breathtaking canyons. The site for Desert Sunset Elementary School is located within miles of these mountains, which helped serve as the design inspiration for this campus.  

Desert Sunset Elementary connects the new Tartesso community to its rich history in Buckeye, near the beautiful White Tank Mountains. The geographically inspired design incorporates a series of eroded “canyon” walls in between buildings, creating a naturally carved facade with various textures that honor the White Tank’s organic beauty. Shading canopies mimic the elevated ledges of hard rock walls and filter light into the canyon areas creating shadow patterns that change as the sun rotates. This Biophilic design aspect allows outdoor walkways and group gathering areas to be a focal point of the building’s exterior. The “canyons” will also serve as breezeway utilizing wind ventilation.

The new school balances the native landscape with the functionality of a centralized administration, with classroom buildings supporting K-8 classes, a separate Pre-K space, and a new multipurpose cafeteria and gym.