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Scottsdale, Arizona

We like strip malls because they are doggedly honest in response to their functional requirements: they are shamelessly cheap, simple to construct, convenient to use, and when their usefulness expires no one mourns their loss.

Because they are essentially extensions of the highway system, strip malls may be more like infrastructure. The UrbanLab proposal treats the Scottsdale Strip Mall as infrastructure or a framework. The design strategy keeps almost everything that exists on the site, and adds a continuous, functional roof layer over the entire strip mall. The new roof surface transforms an interior-only group of stores and services into an exterior landscape by “exteriorizing” each store’s service. Complete with a pool, seating, lounging, shading, environmental conditioning, a miniature golf course, a continuing education center, and a fitness center, the new roof landscape is a multi-use refuge for year-round relaxation, social activity, and self improvement.