Colwell Shelor + West 8 + Weddle Gilmore has been selected to lead the design process to transform 19 acres surrounding the City Hall in Mesa, Arizona into a one-of-a-kind civic space which will capture and enhance the urbanizing momentum of Mesa’s downtown core. The team was unanimously selected by the City of Mesa over finalists Woods Bagot + Surface Design and Otak + Mayer Reed.
“The very public nature of the design competition culminated in three inspiring designs based on robust public interest participation,” stated Jeff McVay, the Project Manager for Mesa’s Department for Development and Sustainability. “The City’s ambition is to create a signature urban space from which Mesa residents, visitors, and businesses can identify with, an identity that both respects the past and positions downtown Mesa for the future. With the selection of Colwell Shelor + West 8 + Weddle Gilmore as the winner of the design competition, the City and public will have a capable and proven partner for completing the next phase in the City Center design process.”
Conceived as a 'town square with a twist', Colwell Shelor + West 8 + Weddle Gilmore’s design makes the City Center more than just an event space. It is the City’s ‘green heart’ and a catalyst for the next 100 years of urban growth in downtown Mesa. The design is characterized by generous spaces for flexible uses, inviting landscapes celebrating the Sonoran desert, and ground floor uses with public orientated programs that draw people into and through Mesa City Center to Main Street, the Arts Center, Convention Center and residential neighbourhoods.
The Events Plaza is the central gathering space of the design. The centerpiece of the project is an Arizona copper shade structure, encompassing a passive evaporative cooling tower. A state-of-the-art water feature celebrates both the preciousness and playfulness of water, transforming into an ice skating rink during the winter. The Upper Terrace has a more relaxed atmosphere, with pockets of Sonoran Desert themed gardens and small-scale plazas for food markets, small concerts and art shows.
The Leisure Promenade is a linear path that ties the Upper Terrace and Events Plaza park spaces together with seating and trees, so that visitors can hang out and watch the action. The design repurposes and renews existing buildings on site to retain a critical mass of users and to create a focal point from which new development will grow outside of the project boundaries. Repurposed buildings will house new food and drink venues at the ground floors, with terraces that engage the public realm areas. City Hall will be re-skinned with vertical fins to transform the building architecturally and improve its energy performance.
Colwell Shelor + West 8 + Weddle Gilmore team’s City Center design combines the City’s and community’s desires for a venue for its major events and festivals; a shady, green welcoming setting and a world-class space announcing Mesa as a leading city for innovation, arts, business and community. The winning team’s design for Mesa City Center is a destination that will be a lively downtown hub and an inviting public place during all seasons and times of day.
The competition was advertised by WAN’s Business Information Service in September 2013; see here for the full competition brief.