CUBE 3 was a winner of the AIA Phoenix Metro Design Competition 2017. The Infill Phoenix design competition asked entrants to propose an innovative program and design a structure that has a connection with the existing urban fabric of Phoenix. Entrants were expected to incorporate creative approaches for the finished proposal and to incorporate aspects to forge a unique vision for Phoenix’s future. Learn more about our thought process and submission below:
The urban fabric of Phoenix’s Business District is perforated with small holes in the form of vacant parcels. These underutilized lots hinder vitality and reduce street activity, qualities which limit business development. Borrowing from the cactus, which has taken on a form that is best suited for the harsh landscape it occupies, what if these underutilized parcels informed the architecture of new business?
The bountiful supply of small lots present uncomfortable breaks in the street wall and are challenging to program. To replace voids with permeable surfaces, small lots can be subdivided into even smaller elements that are supported by a shared infrastructure. Smaller footprints allow programmable spaces to be stacked vertically, creating multiple points of entry throughout the ground plane that serve as dedicated front doors to start-ups and growing businesses. This would be unlike typical work sharing environments, as each business would feel rooted in Phoenix with their own front door; their own building; their own identity.
The densely-packed vertical workplaces, grounded by a front door connected directly to the street, share a common circulation and service core which distributes the burden of occupying one’s own address. This system of shared circulation forms a protected outdoor urban courtyard at the heart of the Micro Block, encouraging collaboration and providing an opportunity for public discovery.
The site chosen for the first Micro Block is a half-acre parking lot located at 259 North 3rd Avenue. It is positioned within an underdeveloped area in close proximity to the city center, and has a high walkability score. This parcel is similar to countless others throughout Phoenix, as we wanted to develop a fundamental strategy that re-envisions this area as an abundant opportunity for growth, and if successful, could be easily replicated in other areas.