Kierland Commons Submittal
Submittal Category: 22 Planning and design for Mixed-use/Commercial Plazas and Streetscapes
Kierland Commons was designated as a commercial retail center in the context of a planned community which
began development twenty-five years ago. Design Workshop created a development master plan, schematic design
and design guidelines combined with entitlement documents for approval to build the project. The plan aimed at
creating the first outdoor shopping experience in the Valley to highlight the beauty and comfort of outdoor Arizona.
Although outdoor shopping had been attempted and is mildly successful in other parts of the Valley the intent at
Kierland was to make tight streets and plazas that could provide destination appeal for residents and visitors to
Kierland. The Kierland Commons project supports the selection criteria for the Annual Environmental Excellence
Awards in this following ways: Preservation or Enhancement of environmental quality is accomplished at Kierland
by providing the kind of destination that does not exist elsewhere in the Valley. Kierland enhances the quality by
providing an outdoor public space destination in an attractive and comfortable setting. Integration and compatibility
with the natural environment applies less to Kierland because of its urban orientation. This project is less about
connecting to nature. The Kierland project preserves nature by being compact and promoting pedestrian movement
versus automobile dependence. Integration and compatibility with the man-made environment is a strength of the
plan. It connects to its surrounding neighborhood yet unlike the suburban conventions of Kierland’s residential
neighborhoods this mixed-use commercial piece is urban. Planning for Kierland required strict development
controls, parking and access strategies to accomplish the pedestrian quality of the place. This tight urban feel assists
in cutting the sun exposure to the street and promotes visitor comfort. The greatest worry was that the visitor could
not visit during the afternoon hours of the hot months. Conservation of natural resources is accomplished through
compact development pattern requiring fewer parking spaces and requiring less car travel and more pedestrian
movement. Kierland is smart growth spirited. Contribution to environmental awareness is accomplished by
example. Compact mixed-use development is surely the direction that the development industry is moving toward.
Hats off to the Woodbine Corporation for supporting this environmentally sensitive and highly successful project.
Image 1 Context Plan – illustrates the compact nature of the development. Future density ensures that structured
parking will ultimately fill in surface lots to preserve more land for open space.
Image 2 Master Plan – mixed uses includes opportunities for housing, shopping and employment all within walking
distance of each other, reducing the need for commuting and encouraging heavier pedestrian use.
Image 3 Enlarged Plan illustrates the compact nature of village core amenities. Compressing the streets and plazas
encourages heavier outdoor use in a hot and dry climate.
Image 4 Conceptual design alternatives explored the village green concept during early planning efforts.
Image 5 Village green concept was found to be insensitive to harsh environmental conditions, creating a challenge
for successful use of the space during hot summer months.
Image 6 Framework Diagram – supports the idea of compact, dense development shaped by buildings fronting
streets and open space.
Image 7 Conceptual Illustration of Main Street (by CommArts) frames views of the surrounding landscape.
Image 8 Main Street Section – confirms the ergonomic requirements of pedestrians and automobiles while
addressing the elements required to animate the streetscape environment.
Image 9 Shade structures extended from the buildings provide comfort from harsh climatic conditions.
Image 10 Night-time activity ensures greater use and safety of public streets and plazas.
Image 11 Limited use of exotic plant materials at key locations was used to create identity.
Image 12 Main Street – compact and dense urban street addresses the needs of the pedestrian while
accommodating the automobile.
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