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  #1  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2008, 1:55 AM
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PHOENIX | City Hall | 368 FT / 112 M | 20 FLOORS | 1993

After a star-studded international design competition in 1990 (won by Arata Isozaki IIRC), the City of Phoenix scrapped the idea of a series of low courtyard buildings and put together a program for a single integral tower. Included in the project was the renovation of the existing 8 story city office building and the existing and spectacular City-County Building across the street.

Langdon Wilson came up with a simple tower design that is distinctly southwestern. And unlike most of the other towers in Phoenix (including others by LW at the same time), this building was something that actually harnessed the sun, was designed to be fairly energy efficient, and actually looks decent dressed in the color brown.

The simple stucco and stainless clad building (with its distinctive blue solex reflective glazing) is capped by a rounded stainless crown and an interesting stainless steel spire.

The building is only 20 floors, but the top of the crown is 350' tall and the top of the spire is 368'.

A friend of mine was working in the mayors office on the 20th floor (under the Paul Johnson administration). Nice views from up there, but I never managed to get any photos from his office.

Here's a fact sheet provided to me by the facilities department:



And of course...photos...





































Part of the City Hall project included the later renovation of the Orpheum Theater, which is connected to the building (and exits through it) into a large glass hall. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the hall. The Orpheum is an absolute gem, the last remaining palace theater in downtown Phoenix and I believe it re-opened in (1995?).




The tower isn't particularly tall and it doesn't particularly stand out in the distant skyline. This tower is best seen up-close and personal.




This is one of my favorite buildings in all of Phoenix and by far my favorite tower. The detailing is really well done, and the crown is quite distinctive. I do wish the tower was a bit taller (maybe 5-8 stories). It really should be the crown jewel of the skyline, but is really only really appreciated from the Washington Street (south) side. It's buried in the skyline from all other points east and the north and west sides aren't particularly distinctive.

If you added 8 stories (120'), making the building 470' and the spire 488' and now the tallest in town (I wish):


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  #2  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2008, 7:13 PM
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cool building!
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  #3  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2008, 11:25 PM
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While I like the building overall as distinctly Phoenix, I agree that it would be a bit better if it were slightly taller. I've also always been a little put off by the scale of the spire, especially from certain angles. It's a nice touch and overall the top of the building looks good at night, especially from the air, but it seems a little small in relation to the rest of the building (a similar example is the new "crown" on 44 Monroe...). For example, the spire looks odd in your third picture above, but it looks great in the 6th picture.

Another great thing about the building is the interior, especially where the old Orpheum meets the new building. I like the "modern" interior, with one very large wall on one side being old brick... that's a nice look in that giant 2 or 3 story hallway to the outside.
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  #4  
Old Posted Jun 4, 2008, 12:00 AM
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I really like the design of City Hall. To me, it is like a diamond in the rough.
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  #5  
Old Posted Jul 1, 2008, 6:41 PM
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Phoenix's City Hall was probably the first step in the right direction, away from the "Southwest Mediocre" (a phrase coined by combusean) that plagued architecture in Phoenix from the 1970s to 1990s. There's some unique design elements that make it stand out as a great example of southwestern architecture.
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Old Posted Jul 17, 2008, 6:20 PM
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I like it alot!!!
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Old Posted Aug 7, 2008, 7:15 PM
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This is a nice tower and I really like the stainless steel used throughout the structure.

I remember back in 1994 after it was completed, the city opened the building
up for tours that included walking around on the roof... and that was cool.
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  #8  
Old Posted Aug 7, 2008, 7:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckeye Native 001 View Post
Phoenix's City Hall was probably the first step in the right direction, away from the "Southwest Mediocre" (a phrase coined by combusean) that plagued architecture in Phoenix from the 1970s to 1990s. There's some unique design elements that make it stand out as a great example of southwestern architecture.
Actually, that phrase was coined by Soleri years ago on this forum. It's a great expression, though.

--don
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  #9  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2008, 8:45 PM
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niiiiiice building!!!!!
im not really a fan of modern building as city hall/government building...
probably because im use to old buildings with giant columns like the one is Chicago with classical revival style....
but overall the phoenix city hall aint that bad....
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  #10  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2008, 2:51 PM
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great? no.

diamond in the rough? maybe within the context of phoenix architecture.

there's very little fresh in the design and not much that evokes attention or interest.

it's trite. in most other similarly sized cities, it's forgettable.

on the other hand, the restored and incorporated orpheum theater is a diamond in the rough.
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