10 Coolest Buildings in Metro Phoenix

Rick Cooper via Flickr
Good Samaritan Hospital
Look past the sad stucco homes and the nondescript strip malls and you'll see that Phoenix is actually home to some top-notch architecture. From Midcentury Modern to downtown Art Deco and early 20th century Queen Anne cottages, here are our 10 favorite structures in metro Phoenix.

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Phoenix Named Among Best Cities for Midcentury Modern Architecture

Becky Bartkowski
Al Beadle's House 6 near Camelback Mountain.
Nestled nestled between its best neighborhoods and its up-and-coming ones, Phoenix has its fair share of renovated retro residences. Thanks to Phoenix preservationists and community events like the Modern Phoenix Home Tour, Arizona's Atomic Age architecture is getting the recognition it deserves.

Case in point: California-based HÔM Sotheby's The Haverkate Group placed Phoenix on its list of the "Best Cities in the U.S. for Mid-Century Modern Architecture."

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10 Cool Things We Saw at the 2014 Modern Phoenix Home Tour of Arcadia

Becky Bartkowski
One standout stop along the tour was in the Ingleside Inn neighborhood.

Modern Phoenix's 2014 home tour found Midcentury Modern fans trekking through greater Arcadia on Sunday, April 6, to take a peek into homes with vintage (and curb) appeal.

With 16 residential stops and a nice sampling of Arizona's most notable architects, including Paolo Soleri, Al Beadle, and Ralph Haver, the sold-out event featured homes and condos that ranged from full-on remodels to well preserved gems. Here are the 10 coolest things -- from cement blocks to a cantilever porch -- that Jackalope Ranch spotted during the must-attend event.

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Phoenix Approves Hance Park Redesign Over the Next Decade

Courtesy Hance Park Master Plan Committee/Andrew Pielage
A view of Margaret T. Hance Park as it looks today.

On Thursday, March 27, Phoenicians gathered under a cloud-streaked sky in the downtown sector. Some sprawled amongst the grass, others chased their children while still more stood, beer in hand, facing the stage. It wasn't a rock concert or a festival -- not yet anyway. That would be March 28.

Last night was about the park. The physical place where they all were, certainly, and also the potential the greenery has to become more than a glorified lawn. After months of committee and community meetings, the City of Phoenix, the Parks and Recreation Department, and the Hance Park Conservancy unveiled the finalized plans for the redesigned Margaret T. Hance Park to residents at a three-hour event.

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Nicole Whittington and James Waldron of Phoenix's Handmade Riot on Balancing Function and Beauty

Via @Handmaderiot Instagram
Handmade Riot currently has its honeycomb shelves on exhibit at Cartel Coffee Lab in Scottsdale.

Nicole Whittington and James Waldron, the duo better known as Handmade Riot, once were using their hands to roast and brew coffee at Lux on Central. Now they've shifted that attention to craft not just to coffee, but also to wooden bike shelves, toys, coffee pour-over stations, and honeycomb shelves.

They work out of their studio in their small but efficient Coronado home, which has a barn in the backyard that Nicole works out of and an enclosed patio space where James is set up. They use traditional woodworking techniques to craft handmade objects with an attention to detail so exact that even woodworkers have taken notice of their work, at craft fairs like Crafeteria 2013.

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"MicroDwell 2014" Showcases Tiny Live-Work Spaces at Shemer Art Center in Phoenix

Courtesy Damon Wake
A rendering of Cinder Box by Damon Wake and Hunter Floyd for "MicroDwell 2014."

Bigger doesn't always mean better.

Before your mind goes into the gutter, we're talking about housing. Tiny spaces, to be exact. "Microdwellings," to be most specific.

"MicroDwell 2014" comes to Shemer Art Center this week for a month-long hands-on look on how 600 square feet translates into a usable live-work environment. The showcase, which runs from Saturday, February 15, through Sunday, March 23, is the second installation of the event. Ten local artists, architects, and amateurs have designed and built these small studios, creating pieces that are fully functioning and aesthetically pleasing.

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Scottsdale's Cattle Track Features Drawings from Architect Obie Bowman

Obie Bowman
and i, their sister, once was as they
Obie Bowman made a name for himself as an architect with a keen sensitivity for the natural world. Starting in the 1970s and continuing through to the present, Bowman's work on the Pacific Coast has garnered him numerous architecture and design awards. Recently, four of Bowman's houses were featured on the HGTV series Extreme Homes.

But this month, we will have the rare opportunity to see a different kind of work from the artist. Bowman will show about 100 of his drawings at Cattle Track Gallery in Scottsdale for a solo exhibition, titled "Memory, Order, and Organism."

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Modern Phoenix Home Tour 2014 Tickets on Sale Saturday, February 1

Becky Bartkowski
Alison King's timeline graphic of prominent postwar Phoenix architects.

Design obsessors and aspiring architecture snobs, take note. Tickets to the 10th annual Modern Phoenix Home Tour go on sale Saturday, February 1.

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Initial Redevelopment Plans Revealed for Phoenix's Hance Park

Courtesy Hance Park Master Plan Committee/Andrew Pielage
A view of Margaret T. Hance Park as it looks today.

It's being described as more than a facelift or a redesign; they're calling it a "master plan" -- a vision to transform Phoenix's Margaret T. Hance Park from neighborhood play-place to a defined desert oasis.

Built atop the Interstate 10 tunnel, the sprawling 32-acre park serves as a distinguishing physical border for downtown Phoenix. Designated by Fifth Avenue to the west, Third Street to the east and Culver and Portland streets to the north and south, respectively, the park is the city's largest yet seemingly the most underutilized.

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Phoenix's Vernon Avenue Pocket Park Opens This Saturday

Janessa Hilliard
Through the trees: a glimpse at the pocket park on 10 West Vernon Avenue.
Two thousand square feet isn't all that large in the grand scheme of things. Put the number in perspective, and it's about a quarter of the size of an endzone in the NFL but more than five times as big as the average crosswalk. It's also the approximate size of the new Vernon Avenue Pocket Park, which officially opens this Saturday, January 18.

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