Groundwork Studio worked with Albuquerque Academy on a transformative project to revitalize the central spine and activity centers on campus by replacing “The Path” and main Quad. This renovation took significant strides to improve the accessibility and visual character of these iconic campus landscapes, while integrating outdoor classroom areas, green stormwater infrastructure, pollinator habitat, and increased campus biodiversity. This vibrant space also aided the Academy in progressing towards their goals of improving sustainability and safety on campus.
By replacing turf areas with organic mulch, the Academy’s water use was reduced by over one million gallons. Simultaneously, the addition of 80 trees and pollinator plants has not only heightened species diversity but also created a valuable urban wildlife habitat. Recycling or donating the brick from the old path while repurposing the removed concrete, were decisions that further emphasize the joint commitment to sustainability by Groundwork Studio and Albuquerque Academy. With enhancements to infrastructure and drainage, the Academy saw significant improvements to facility functionality and maintenance requirements. The path, a third of a mile long, provides direct drainage from the higher east side of campus to the west and south, efficiently channeling stormwater runoff between seat walls into landscaped basins. During construction, close coordination allowed the Academy to install the much needed utility lines and extensions without additional costly demolition. Notably, improvements to the fire lane and maintenance access routes have made the campus much safer for emergency access.
Academy students and staff actively participated in the design process, voting on their favorite brick color and weighing in on decisions to remove turf and replace with landscaping that uses less water. Project construction became a learning laboratory, as Groundwork Studio staff visited multiple engineering classes to work with students on problem solving strategies, project management considerations, and construction methods. The project began with conceptual design in 2015, with construction documents being completed in 2022, culminating in the project’s successful completion in the summer of 2023. Continuing their commitment, Groundwork Studio continues to work with the Academy to implement water conservation strategies and enhance accessibility across various areas on campus.