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BIG Designs Sexy Observation Tower for Phoenix
Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 |

News just broke that BIG has been commissioned to design a sleek 420 ft tall mixed-use observation tower for Phoenix, Arizona. Quite possibly the city's new symbol?

Exterior rendering of the tower's spiral-shaped observation platform (Image: BIG)

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Exterior rendering of the tower's spiral-shaped observation platform (Image: BIG)

Project Description from BIG:

Located in downtown Phoenix, the 70,000 sf Observation Tower shall add a significant structure to the Phoenix skyline from which to enjoy the city’s spectacular views of the surrounding mountain ranges and dramatic sunsets. Phoenix-based developer Novawest commissioned the team to create a destination event to provide tourists and citizens of Phoenix alike the chance to enjoy the unique features of the Valley of the Sun.    

"This is the right place and the right time for a signature project for downtown Phoenix and we knew the design needed to be something extraordinary. BIG has delivered something exceptional, blending form and function in a way that will change the local skyline forever and will give visitors a once-in-a-lifetime experience." Brian Stowell, Novawest.

Aerial view (Image: BIG)

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Aerial view (Image: BIG)

Aerial view, close-up (Image: BIG)

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Aerial view, close-up (Image: BIG)

The future observation tower is conceived as a tall core of reinforced concrete with an open-air spiral sphere at its top, resembling a metaphorical pin firmly marking a location on a map. The spiraling sphere contains flexible exhibition, retail and recreational spaces which are accessed via three glass elevators that connect the base with the summit and offer panoramic views of the city and the tower’s programs as visitors ascend or descend.

Walking downwards from the top through a continuous spiral promenade, the visitors of the observation tower experience all of the building’s programs in a constant motion, while enjoying dynamic 360 degree views of the city of Phoenix and the Arizonian landscape.

Interior rendering (Image: BIG)

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Interior rendering (Image: BIG)

Interior rendering (Image: BIG)

Click above image to view slideshow
Interior rendering (Image: BIG)

“Like the monsoons, the haboobs and the mountains of the surrounding Arizonian landscape, the Pin becomes a point of reference and a mechanism to set the landscape in motion through the movement of the spectator. Like the Guggenheim museum of New York offers visitors a unique art experience descending around its central void, the motion at the Pin is turned inside-out allowing visitors to contemplate the surrounding city and landscape of Phoenix. Like a heavenly body hovering above the city the Pin will allow visitors to descend from pole to pole in a dynamic three dimensional experience seemingly suspended in midair. “ Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG.

Exterior view at night (Image: BIG)

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Exterior view at night (Image: BIG)

Exterior view at night (Image: BIG)

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Exterior view at night (Image: BIG)

The spiral layout combines the different programmatic elements and the circulation into a continuous dynamic twirling space which is proportioned  according to the movement of the visitors, producing a unique viewing experience of the surroundings. Instead of a constant width, the spiraling  promenade starts from zero at the point of arrival, reaches its maximum width at the middle, and shrinks back to zero at the point of departure.   

Separation between the programmatic elements within the sphere happens not through physical vertical barrier-walls, but softly through the slope  and the height difference to preserve a total continuity and create a flexible space for exhibitions and events.

View from below (Image: BIG)

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View from below (Image: BIG)

View from below, close-up (Image: BIG)

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View from below, close-up (Image: BIG)

Once the visitors reach the middle of the sphere, they can choose to either conclude their journey by taking the elevator back to the ground, or continue to the restaurant levels at the lower hemisphere. The motion resembles a journey through the center of a planet, and a travel from the north to the south pole.    

The base of the tower will serve as a public plaza offering shade, water features and a small amount of retail together with a subterranean queuing area. The tower will serve as a working model of sustainable energy practices, incorporating a blend of solar and other technologies.

Tower silhouette at sunset (Image: BIG)

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Tower silhouette at sunset (Image: BIG)

Project Details:

Name: Phoenix Observation Tower
Type: Commission
Size: 70,000 square feet           
Client: Novawest
Collaborators: MKA (structure), Atelier10 (sustainability), Gensler (local architect), TenEyck (landscape)
Location: Phoenix, Arizona

Partner in Charge: Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Christoffersen
Project Leader: Iannis Kandyliaris
Team: Thomas Fagan, Aaron Hales, Ola Hariri, Dennis Harvey, Beat Schenk

Concept diagram (Image: BIG) Concept diagram (Image: BIG) Concept diagram (Image: BIG) Concept diagram (Image: BIG) Concept diagram (Image: BIG) Concept diagram (Image: BIG) Concept diagram (Image: BIG) Concept diagram (Image: BIG)


Comments:
charlie
sydney
Thursday, December 20, 2012
simple and amazing!

tommy bahama
Thursday, December 20, 2012
toilet cleaning brush?

somewhere
elsewhere
Friday, December 21, 2012
Suits the Valley of the Sun. Looks like a golf ball all tee'd up.

Justin Lake
Buckeye AZ
Friday, December 21, 2012
Great idea.
I suggest the name: THE PHOENIX SUNTOWER

Justin Lake
AZ
Friday, December 21, 2012
Another name suggestion since it will have wonderful views in the day and at night.

The Phoenix Skyglobe

anonymous mcgee
ca
Friday, December 21, 2012
puke. plz don't build this

arjay
Phoenix
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Hedonistic architecture??? or EGO-tistic architecture. ever been in phoenix? not much of a skyline or vista. only at night....the grid.

anti sprawl
Toronto
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
"Come up in the tower to view how the city has destroyed the desert with suburban sprawl!"

Jo
Chicago
Thursday, January 03, 2013
The toilet brush has just won the Eyesore of the Month honor from James Howard Kunstler. There is a great deal of competition for this honor. It takes something special to get noticed these days by Mr. Kunstler.

For the details, go to: http://www.kunstler.com/eyesore.html

phil hormbrey
phoenix
Thursday, January 03, 2013
We have great Mid Century Modern core to central Phoenix. Innovative and original architecture. This proposed edifice is a second rate clone of what already exists in several other cities. The enthusiasm of local officials for the project is obviously a reflection of how many "palms have been crossed with silver". The toilet brush is really a great analogy for this second rate piece of junk. We will do everything possible to make sure the name sticks and that the project is abandoned.

cheyneo
Monday, January 07, 2013
wish it were bigger actually. like 5xs.

Rudy
Nunya
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Messes up the already looming skyline. Smh. We need to focus on downtown development and as far as the Phoenix Skyline is concerned, we need to build in midtown and have a new tall for downtown? Perhaps.

If this project is built, it should not be built in the heart of downtown but rather more towards Metro Mall or Fair Grounds. But I really would hate to see this ruin Phoenix. Great design, but we need more infrastructure first!!

By the way, looks like somebody stuck a lollipop into the desert floor. Just saying.

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