During the housing boom in Phoenix and the surrounding suburbs, enormous swaths of land were graded and prepared for endless subdivisions as far as the eye could see. Following the burst of the housing market and prolonged recession, these unfinished construction sites have sat vacant – remnants of unbridled optimism in the Valley of the Sun. A recent article on NPR.org discusses some of the alternative visions for re-appropriating these phantom lots that propagate the greater Phoenix area. Various methods of breathing new life into these chasms left behind include rezoning the numerous residential lots for mixed-use, or tearing up the infrastructure and letting nature take back control. For those unfamiliar with the rapid pace of development that was taking place prior to the recession, Maricopa, a small town just south of Phoenix was approving over 600 residential home permits per month. With an inventory of over 16,000 dedicated to residential homes, the measures that are required to remediate the impact of such an ambitious plan need to be ingenious.
In celebration of the 75th anniversary of Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home, studio and architectural campus in Scottsdale, Arizona, Phoenix Art Museum presents Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Architecture for the 21st Century. The exhibit will explore Wright and his relevance today through a survey of more than 40 projects shown through rarely seen drawings, models, furniture, films and photographs.
Architecture firm Line and Space, has been selected as the 2011 Architectural Firm of the Year by the Arizona Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The award recognizes a firm that has produced distinguished architecture for over ten years, has made significant contributions to the profession and the community, and has transcended local boundaries in making these contributions. Awarded by an out of state jury comprised of architects, the honor was given to Line and Space at the Institute’s Celebrate Architecture Awards Gala held in Phoenix on October 22.
The annual AIAS FORUM meeting for 2011 will take a break from the snow of the past two years (2009 Minnesota, 2010 Toronto) and be held in sunny downtown Phoenix, Arizona. FORUM is the annual meeting of the AIAS and the premier global gathering of architecture and design students. The conference provides students with the opportunity to learn about important issues facing architectural education and the profession, to meet students, educators, and professionals with common interests, and to interact with some of today’s leading architects through keynote addresses, tours, workshops and seminars, last years FORUM was attended by over 1,000 young and ambitious architecture students and AIAS members. This years Keynote Speakers will be Jeffrey Inaba, founder of C-Lab and former project manager with Rem Koolhaas and OMA, Brad Lancaster, author of www.harvestingrainwater.com, and University of Californa, San Diego architect and professor Teddy Cruz.
“Of all things that are man-made, bridges are, with dams, the most “structural,” single-minded, and imposing. As connectors at a breaking point, they have a heroic force that is aided by a challenging structuralism. As a strand of continuity in a non-continuum, the bridge is full of implied meanings. It is the opposite of devisiveness, separation, isolation, irretrievability, loss, segregation, abandonment. To bridge is as cogent in the psychic realm as it is in the physical world. The bridge is a symbol of confidence and trust. It is a communications medium as much as a connector.”
-Paolo Soleri, 1970, from “The Sketchbooks of Paolo Soleri”, published by MIT Press, 1971
The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art Flip a Strip competition challenged designers around the country to re-imagine the suburban strip mall as an urban typology, proposing an alternative to the ubiquitous developments which have emerged as an economic response to a rapidly outward expanding residential market and the availability of inexpensive land.
The studio of Debartolo Architects is a unique architectural design firm in that they are passionately committed to architectural excellence parallel with their commitment to serving clients and creating relevant and functionally-tuned environments for people. Founded in 1996 as a collaboration of the father-son team, the firm is built on the rich history of Jack Debartolo Jr. FAIA’s 22-year partnership with Anderson DeBartolo Pan, Inc. Through creativity, innovation and careful listening, their team has become one of the leading studios in creating highly-custom, well-tuned built-environments that respond to their client, context, culture and community.
Arizona State University’s new Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 4 (ISTB 4) was designed to be a progressive home for ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) and some departments from the Fulton Schools of Engineering (FSE). At 294,000 sq.-ft., this seven-story “smart” structure will be the largest research facility in the history of the university. In addition to cutting-edge laboratories and research offices, ISTB 4 will house extensive public outreach and K-12 education spaces designed to engage the Greater Phoenix community in earth and space exploration. Ehrlich Architects’ new Arizona State University School of Earth and Space Exploration is a clearly organized laboratory building that will enhance the research, science and educational programs housed within.
Debartolo Architects were commissioned to develop a master plan for the growing church in a satellite community of Metro-Phoenix. Debartolo Architects developed a new language for a church that named themselves after an existing pistachio grove that once and still partially thrives on their 22 acre site. With three existing buildings, built by the congregation and designed by volunteers, the idea was to develop a more strategic approach to the next generation of development, growth and use of the entire site.
For the STAAB Residence designed by Chen + Suchart Studio the context for this site consists of larger homes on one-acre lots. Aesthetically, the neighboring houses’ architectural language is more often than not, associated with speculative developer trends and styles, rather than an integrated understanding of the site, the views, and the potential. As a result, the project required a strategy which would edit out the immediate context of this neighborhood while focusing on distant views of the McDowell Mountains to the north and the valley to the south and southwest. The project also sought to create a protected courtyard space for the backyard and pool area as an immediate focus for the lower level of the house in contrast to the second level taking advantage of the more distant views.
This week our Architecture City Guide is headed to Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter retreat. Taliesin West first made the “Valley of the Sun” an architectural destination by itself, but now Phoenix overflows with world-class architecture. We have provided a list of twelve, but there are plenty more that could be added. We want to hear from you, so take a minute to add your favorite can’t miss buildings in Phoenix in the comment section below.
CO Architects, specialists in architecture for education and healthcare, along with the office of Ayers Saint Gross, associate and master plan architect, shared with us their award-winning design that exemplifies new, interdisciplinary teaching and research.
The physical manifestation of a new, interdisciplinary approach to health sciences education and research is rising from the flat pans of downtown Phoenix, AZ in the form of an architecturally expressive, world-class, sustainable educational facility. Currently under construction, the project recently won a 2010 NEXT LA Citation Award given to “on-the-boards” projects by the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). More images and project description after the break.
Brittlebush was developed as a design-build experience for Simón De Agüero, graduate student, designer, and project manager. The design is an experimental desert dwelling for winter residents at Taliesin, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Simón envisioned the design to be an open-air living space with protective roof and walls for the sleeping area.
Approximately 90% of the steel in the project was salvaged from the school scrap yard; 100% of the rammed earth for the walls was from the school property; 100% of the wood used for the formwork was salvaged from onsite renovation waste.
Follow the break for more images and information about Brittlebush.
Architect: Simon De Aguero Location: Scottsdale, Arizona, United States Assistant Project Manager: Erik Krautbauer Project Year: 2010 Photographs: Simon de Aguero & Saskia Jorda