We Are Arizona: A-I-R

Scottsdale-based architecture firm, A-I-R, Inc., incorporates infrastructure and design into it work and finds creative methods to advance architectural practice.

“A-I-R is [an] architecture office, but we also work on urban design projects. We like to think we focus really on three main realms: architecture, infrastructure and research,” Darren Petrucci, architect and urban designer, principal and founder of A-I-R Inc., and SunCorp Professor in The Design School at Arizona State University, said.

Petrucci explained that A-I-R connects architecture and infrastructure in its work, but it also separates it. Doing this allows the firm to look at infrastructure needed to develop a building or an urban area, and then figure out how to turn it into an amenity.

For example, Petrucci said one of the homes A-I-R designed includes a wash down the middle that produces energy and cools the home.

In addition to the necessities it supplies, the wash provides the pool, gardens and other attractive amenities for the residents of the home.

A-I-R focuses on projects that fit its mission.

“When we do a sort of high-end residence for someone, we try to minimize the amount of maintenance that the house needs. We try to make it very environmentally responsive- that’s a big core of what we do,” Petrucci explained. “All the work we do is, let’s say, very sustainable at the highest levels we can achieve.”

A-I-R’s research component, Hotter. Drier. Smarter., addresses climatic shifts and beneficial ways to adapt as architects.

“We accept the fact that climate change is happening and places like Arizona are not only getting hotter, but drier. Water is going to be a big issue,” Petrucci said. “So rather than looking at that as an alarmist situation, how do use that and leverage that to be smarter about the way we build things?”

A-I-R produces designs that function like nature, which is biomimicry.

Petrucci said one of A-I-R’s designs features “a high canopy roof that sits over the living area that also nurses the landscape and helps shade and cool the environment.”

The canopy roof resembles a tree that provides shade and cools the surrounding area.

A-I-R’s high-end projects do not take its focus off of its not-for-profit projects.

These projects include bus shelters, a stripscape on 7th Avenue and Glenrosa Avenue, garden rooms for the City of Scottsdale and more.

Petrucci explained that A-I-R is in the early stages of developing fA-I-Rtrade Architecture and Urbanism, which connects high-end infrastructure and architecture with low-income groups and communities that will benefit from the work.

For the 7th Avenue and Glenrosa Avenue stripscape, Petrucci said, “we developed a series of shade canopies and art panels and vine screens and things that help cool the space but also provide identity for the area. So, they’re infrastructure in the form of bus shelters and market display areas for the merchants. But they’re also places for neighborhood citizens to cross the street and cool them before they do that.”

After Petrucci finished graduate school on the east coast, he wondered, “Where could I go to have some impact? And where could I go that needs architecture?”

He explained that he earned his undergraduate degree at Arizona State University, and he decided to go back to Arizona because it would be an ideal place to practice architecture.

“The desert is an incredible place to build. The light is unbelievable,” Petrucci said.

He went on to explain, “in our firm, we don’t think of the building separate from the landscape. The building is a landscape, it’s part of the landscape.”

Sierra Ciaramella

Nick Serpa

Add comment

Subscribe to the Dry Heat

Get updates on the most important news delivered right to your email. Fully personalized options. No SPAM. Unsubscribe anytime.

Sign Me Up!

Let’s Get Social

Chamber Business News wants to connect with you. Follow us, tweet, share, post, comment... however you get social is the perfect way to connect.