AIA Phoenix Metro Chapter Canalscape Competition

The American Institute of Architects, Phoenix Metro Chapter, announced winners of their Canal Design Competition, run in conjunction with ASU’s Canalscape Symposium 2009. The competition challenged architects to propose projects adjacent to the region’s canal banks, in partnership with developers, planners, landscape architects, and artists. The 3 projects selected by the jury for recognition are:

  • “Habitat, Recreation, Vegetation” by the team of Maurita Walker, Pawel Mikolajczak, James Neal, Hardy Laskin, Matt Aylsworth. The central scheme of this proposal was uniting the canal with the surrounding community, always keeping the water as the focus, catalyst, and generator. Thus, habitat, vegetation, and recreation all benefit from the canal’s proximity. This proposal too utilized new tributaries taken from the main canal to support urban pools and docks that would increase the connection of community to the water.
  • The jury appreciated the considered approach to the existing neighborhood and how canal-related development could enhance it. The proposed urban markers to show the public where the canal banks could be accessed and resulting wayfinding helped strengthen the actual intersection of the canal with the major street.

  • “Arcadia Canal Zone” by the team from Greey Pickett: Jace Cheatem, Russ Greey, and Nick Newberry. This concept proposed a partnership of the Arizona Canal and an interconnected lateral canal district. By routing some of the canal water out of and then back into the main canal, a sub-network of intimate canal environments can be created without disrupting the practical utility needs of the canal. The new lateral canal is free to become an animated and compressed environment comprised of a mixed-use village that could include restaurant terraces, promenades, shady landscaping, pedestrian bridges, and canal boats.
  • The jury appreciated the idea of re-routing the canal to make the most use of the water and its attractive qualities. There was seen a lot of potential in this entry for lively, mixed-use development if appropriately scaled and sensitive to its adjacent environment. The proposal celebrates the canal, making it a prominent catalyst for potential redevelopment.

  • “Lehi Lateral” by the Inkinetic team of Martha Baker, Paul H. Johnson, Dan Clevenger, and Eric Ubersax. The idea behind the Lehi Lateral proposal is to homage to the history of the Utah and South Canals. The site sits adjacent to the remnants of an ancient canal system hand-dug by the Hohokam tribe and later deepened by Mormon settlers for use in their own irrigation system. The proposal celebrates the history of the canal system through integrated community and educational displays, and its renewed connection to the dependence of the earth.The canals in this proposal are unique and heavily vegetated, and the proposed residences, community center, and farmland re-establish the relationship of habitat and agriculture.
  • The jury felt the proposal connected to the existing place and its history very well, evoking a reverent nostalgia. The idea of a modern urban agricultural community centered on historic canals was elegant and honorable.

The jury was comprised of:
Voting members:
Jeremy Jones, AIA – DWL Architects
Mark Kranz, AIA – SmithGroup Architects
Leah Manbeck, ASLA – GB2 Landscape Architects
Carol Johnson, AICP – City of Phoenix Planning Department
Gary Roe – Developer and Former Director, Scottsdale Redevelopment Office

Consulting (non-voting) members:
Jim Duncan, Salt River Project
Nan Ellin, Planning Program Director and Canalscape Project Director, ASU
Ron Passarelli – Arcadia Neighborhood Association, East Camelback Village Planning Committee
Deborah Whitehurst – Interim CEO, Arizona Community Foundation

Reflecting upon all the entries, Patrick Panetta, President-Elect of the AIA Phoenix Metro Chapter, remarked, “It was very interesting to see how each of the teams interpreted the canals and their role in place-making in the Valley. Some groups identified with the canals’ role as precious commodity and life-givers for the area, and built their competition ideas upon that theme. Others identified with and promoted the attractively soothing properties of running water, and the charm of being amongst adjacent development. And still others paid homage to the storied history of the canals. The competition illustrates the need to re-examine the role of the canals in our daily lives and to identify the potential redevelopment opportunities that exist at the numerous locations throughout the Valley where the canals intersect our urban grid.”

For more information, see: Phoenix Metro AIA.