Creative Center of Scottsdale

Housed in the iconic Scottsdale landmark, Mandall’s Shooting Supplies store, the Creative Center of Scottsdale is an urban infill and highly sustainable adaptive reuse of three existing buildings at the southern edge of Downtown Scottsdale into co-working spaces for artists.

Serving as the southern threshold into Downtown, the creative facility will serve the needs of the next generation of artists in the community while also preserving the history and legacy of the building and the district.

“The Creative Center is the first project to go through the City of Scottsdale’s recently adopted International Green Construction Code and will save over 60% of its energy use”

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Since the project’s inception, sustainability has been a key element.  Contour Architecture led the team through the recently adopted International Green Construction Code and is the first project to go through the City of Scottsdale with this new code.  Unlike similar programs such as LEED, the new construction code demands that all aspects of a project be sustainable – there are no trade-offs or choices, only compliance or non-compliance.  The Creative Center used the performance method which allowed the design team to asses the best means of achieving energy efficiency through a combination of systems.  This project includes natural day lighting paired with LED fixtures and lighting controls, high efficiency HVAC, high levels of insulation, and solar panels.  In addition, the buildings will be draped in a new corten skin over rigid insulation that not only protects the existing concrete masonry structure from the harsh desert sun but will also provide a new, modern face to Downtown Scottsdale.

Throughout the design process, Contour Architecture focused on a whole-systems approach that views sustainability as an integrated system begun in the early design phases and carried out through construction and occupancy.  Through this approach simple measures were taken that will save the owner over 60% of their energy use.  Additional sustainability features extended from the owner’s desire to source materials and products as locally and as sustainably as possible.  One specific example includes the use of blue-jean insulation that is not only a recycled material without harmful chemicals but is also produced in a fellow Phoenix suburb, Chandler. 


“As an artists’ facility daylight was not only a sustainable decision, but also critical to the design”

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As an artists’ facility daylight was not only a sustainable decision, but also critical to the design. Tubular skylights punctuate the roofs of all three buildings in the campus.   A large sawtooth skylight brings ample light into the artists working spaces below while also creating an airy and welcoming working environment. The skylight is also angled at the perfect angle to maximize the energy received by the solar panels that will be attached above.  Large glass garage doors will open at either end not only bringing in daylight but also allowing the artists to open the doors on a beautiful fall day or easily transfer large installations from the interior to the exterior of the building. 

These large doors will open to the hustle of Scottsdale Rd., a main thoroughfare, on the east side of the building and a lushly landscaped and tranquil courtyard on the west.   With permeable pavers and an artistic design in the pavement, the courtyard features dual-functionality.  This flexible exterior space will transform from parking by day to a romantically lit event space at night.  Below the pavement a complex system will harvest rainwater from the site and send it to the landscaping while preserving the shooting tubes – concrete tubes where good ol’ boys would practice shooting their newly purchased guns from Old Mandell – below that will become an art installation dedicated to the history of the facility. 

You can read coverage of the project in these articles in the Arizona Republic:

Creative Center of Scottsdale Now Under Construction
Art Space Entrepreneur Aims at Historic Gun Shop

Scottsdale Approves Plans for New Creative Center 

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy:
“Sustainability in Action: Creative Center of Scottsdale”
“Phoenix Revitalization Corporation”
“Preservation vs. Profit”
“Book Review: Big Box Reuse”
Maricopa County Downtown Court Tower”


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