As a nomadic designer who’s worked in Denmark, Seattle and San Francisco, I’ve now finally found a place I call home: downtown Phoenix.
A couple years ago, I found a great opportunity to move from my mundanely melodic neighborhood in Arcadia to a grittier, authentic 1920s neighborhood in the heart of downtown Phoenix. The neighborhood is often referred to as the “Triangle,” because its perimeter is formed by Roosevelt, 7th Ave. and the only diagonal street in the entire city: Grand Ave.
At the time the housing market was at its worse, but the atmosphere on these streets did not reflect the gloomy economy. Instead there was a sense of community; people watched the sunsets and nursed libations off their front stoops in the evening, children played crude games of football on the pavement and the sound of distant music blared from backyard garages. The atmosphere was ephemeral and could only really be embraced when you took a moment to sense it.
Over the next few years, I fell more and more in love with the downtown lifestyle. The speed of things changed. I found myself walking a lot. Local coffee shops in morning became a norm – even though I don’t drink coffee. And the friendships and neighborly hellos become something indescribable.
It’s at this point I made the conscious decision that I was going to actively take a role in my neighborhood and do something about all the empty lots that plague the area. It’s as if each one is begging to be given a chance to add to the emerging fabric of a growing downtown culture. So I made the leap with the help of my family and friends and bought an empty lot. I had no pre-conceived master plan. I only knew I was to design and build something that would entice more young and creative working professionals to make the leap and move downtown.
My criterion for the design was simple:
So with those criteria, three very different schemes materialized. Only one took root though. I happily and excitedly present you with “White Stone Studios” at its current state of construction.
8th Ave & McKinley
This is an envisioning of the possibilities of this location, and is by no means a project that is planned or overseen by the site or property owners. With these hypothetical projects, we hope to spark a conversation to help imagine the city's future, and our ideas do not reflect actual plans.
April 15, 2014