The final design concepts for the redesign of Arizona’s Mesa City Center have been unveiled by the competition's three finalist design teams: Colwell Shelor + West 8 + Weddle Gilmore; Woods Bagot + Surface Design; and Otak + Mayer Reed.
The Mesa City Center redesign project aims to develop an 18 acre site in the city’s downtown and enhance the urbanization of the area. When complete, the city center will be transformed into a public space with both programmed and passive space that can be used for informal gatherings as well as events. “The signature public space will be a key element in the activation of the downtown core and will be a catalyst for high intensity redevelopment surrounding City Center with a variety of uses that activate the public space,” the competition website states.
Read on after the break for descriptions and images from the architects of their design proposals…
From Colwell Shelor + West 8 + Weddle Gilmore: The Mesa City Center design combines the City and community’s wishes for a setting for its major events and festivals; a shady, green welcoming setting; and an iconic, world-class space. Conceived as a “town square with a twist,” the design makes City Center an events space that will be the City’s ‘green heart’ and catalyst for the next 100 years of urban growth in downtown Mesa.
The design features a central gathering space, the Events Plaza, which encompasses the centerpiece and icon of the project, a beautiful copper shade structure, called The Wind Dancer. The Mesa City Center design creates a destination that during different seasons, events, and times of day will feel like a lively downtown hub and an inviting public place.
Our design is not development-dependent to make it activated, can be built in one phase, can be built quickly and will cost the public less than a design that has multiple phases. This strategy will leverage City Center project in a way that is similar to the way other great cities have grown around great public spaces.
From Otak + Mayer Reed: After learning from the community what currently defines Mesa and what should define it in the future, the Otak team re-imagined the project site as the heart of a bustling, revitalized downtown, filled with people. Team Otak envisions a “Living Room Plaza” surrounded and enlivened by eight acres of mixed-use development. This vibrant, new Urban District will serve as the catalyst for downtown revitalization. Team Otak’s approach considers the site as the key piece of a larger puzzle, connecting existing downtown destinations to the new light rail station opening in 2016. The Living Room Plaza features a mirror pond and interactive water fountains, a multi-purpose event lawn, an interactive digital light bar, an iconic shade structure, and an elevator to a public observation deck.
The design sets the stage for significant development opportunities that can include housing, retail, office, and possibly a hotel. These uses will attract people—residents, workers, students, and visitors— to Downtown Mesa, not just during special events, but every day.
From Woods Bagot + Surface Design: Inspired by nature and shaped by culture, Mesa Central is a contemporary park that blends civic landscape appropriate for the seat of city government with a variety of experiences and amenities for all ages. Through a program of landscape features, varied pathways, new structures, strategic renovations, and parking options, Mesa Central’s plan offers the city the option of phased implementation to achieve this vision for a new civic public space within the project budget.
Mesa Central features ‘The Wash’ a landscaped pedestrian corridor that connects a number of key institutions to the north with the Mesa Arts Center and Downtown Main Street to the south. A centerpiece of the park is ‘The Hangar,’ a flexible, all-weather space that reinterprets the historic hangar that once drew visitors to the site from around Arizona. Comprised of earthen walls—made, in part, from soil and asphalt removed from the site— and movable shade canopies, the Hangar can accommodate a diverse offering of events and gatherings, from exhibitions to performances. This multipurpose space acts as an extension of downtown and the culmination of Pepper Promenade, a two-block section of Pepper Place, lined with cultural institutions.
Set along the Hangar’s south side is ‘The Cloud,’ an open and airy vertical play space that, at night, will becoming a glowing beacon for the city. The Hangar and the Cloud also will incorporate emerging photovoltaic technologies to drive the site’s energy harvesting strategy.
Dynamic water elements—integrated with the site’s comprehensive reclaimed water system—work to further activate Mesa Central while cooling respite on hot days. Three ‘Hydro Rooms’ draw inspiration from the historic canals of Mesa while playfully reflecting the way water is seen and heard in the Arizona landscape.
Mesa Central will inspire, connect and commemorate the best of Mesa by creating a regional destination that brings people of all generations downtown throughout the year.