The Phoenix metropolitan area’s skyline has long been crowded with construction cranes, and the desert mega-city often leads the nation in population growth. But even before the shock of the Great Recession, which hit the construction-reliant metro area hard, architectects in Phoenix were on the leading edge of the international movement toward sustainable and green design. In recent years this movement has exploded with new energy and new ideas, leading to the ongoing revitalization and reimagining of the city’s downtown, and an epochal shift in the way architects and builders think about the desert’s challenges and gifts.

Top Architects

CCBG Architects Inc.

Brian Cassidy

AIA Arizona Architects Medal

102 E. Buchanan Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004

About CCBG Architects Inc.

For more than 50 years, CCBG Architects has been designing distinctive buildings around the Phoenix metro area, including many churches, recreation centers, and homes. The firm of 16 architects, which also has an office in San Diego, is very active in urban infill and adaptive reuse, and they recently designed two chic urban apartment complexes in downtown Phoenix’s popular Roosevelt Row neighborhood. CCBG and its president, Brian Cassidy, are also deeply involved in the redesign and redevelopment of Phoenix’s historic Warehouse District as a new hub for tech start-ups. Cassidy has been president of the firm since 1988. He is a past president of AIA Arizona and was awarded the AIA Arizona Architects Medal in 2014. He is a member of the Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture, and sits on National Council of Architectural Registration Board. A graduate of Arizona State University’s College of Architecture, Cassidy sits on the board of directors of the Phoenix Community Alliance and the Downtown Community Development Corporation.

Featured Projects

Once integral to a regional shipping and storage economy, the many red-brick old warehouses south of downtown Phoenix, which sat dilapidated for generations, are now magnets for tech start-ups, event companies, and young urban professionals looking for a bit of style and history. CCBG, which has its own offices in the historic Warehouse District, has designed several sleek, modern offices and other spaces here without sacrificing the warmth and inspiration in those historic, old bones. CCBG also designed one of the newest Mormon Temples in Arizona, The LDS Phoenix Temple — a sublime building on a five-acre desert lot with a design inspired by the surrounding desert flora. The 27,423-square-foot temple, the fifth in Arizona constructed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has an interior decorated with murals of Jesus and the desert, with an overall earthy, arid color and turquoise details. A soaring 89-foot spire tops the building, reaching into the almost always blue Arizona sky, the light from which washes over the beautiful temple and creates a pious mood reminiscent of the state’s famed mission churches.


Art Gensler
Jay Silverberg
Beth Harmon-Vaughn

AZ|RE RED Award,
Architectural Record Good Design is Good Business Award

201 E. Washington Street, Suite 750, Phoenix, AZ 85004

About Gensler

A huge and celebrated international firm consistently recognized for its sustainability efforts, Gensler has a busy office in Phoenix that has designed many large academic, civic, athletic, and cultural buildings around the metro area and the Southwest. The local office is led by Design Principal Jay Silverberg, an acclaimed architect with more that 25 years in the business. Widely published and sought after as an architectural critic and lecturer, Silverberg earned his Bachelor and Master of Architecture at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Gensler’s Phoenix office is also led by Managing Director and Principal Beth Harmon-Vaughn, a member of the Taliesin West Board of Stewards for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and an adjunct professor at Arizona State University. She has a Phd in Sustainability and Workplace Productivity.

Featured Projects

Working with local firm Arkitecton, Gensler’s Phoenix office designed College Avenue Commons, a 137k-square-foot, five-story, state-of-the-art building that houses classrooms, retail, offices, labs, and a pedestrian-friendly outdoor space at Arizona State University in Tempe. The $54M project is a model of sustainable design, and its forecourts and atriums are flooded with desert light while still providing shade for recreation and shopping, as well as many elegant interior details. Gensler’s Phoenix office has also contributed to the city’s well-known baseball culture by designing a complete remodel of the Hohokam Stadium Spring Training Facility and practice fields for the Oakland A’s. Gensler is also currently working with several other firms on the redesign of the Arizona Center in downtown Phoenix.

Weddle Gilmore Architects

Philip Weddle
Michael Gilmore

AIA AZ Firm of the Year,
AIA AZ Sustainable Firm of the Year,
AIA Western Mountain Region Honor Award

6916 E. Fifth Avenue, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

About Weddle Gilmore Architects

Philip Weddle and Michael Gilmore, co-founders of Weddle Gilmore Architects Black Rock Studio in Scottsdale, have designed buildings all over the world; however, their imaginations seem to especially thrive when negotiating the relationship between Phoenix’s high urban style and challenging desert realities. Working on projects as diverse as desert-adapted trailhead structures in Phoenix and high-end residences and retail buildings in New York and Europe, Weddle Gilmore has been recognized by AIA Arizona as Firm of the Year and Sustainable Firm of the Year, and has three times won the AIA Western Mountain Region Honor Award. Weddle Gilmore’s work has been featured in Architectural Digest, Landscape Architecture Magazine, and many other publications. Weddle, an AIA Fellow, founded the firm with Gilmore in 1999.

Featured Projects

Weddle Gilmore Architects designed a unique student housing complex for a small private college in Prescott, Arizona, a mountain suburb of Phoenix. The school concentrates on environmental education, and the firm took this to heart when designing the 33k-square-foot student village. Stylish rust-colored metal buildings surround a courtyard with rainwater harvesting, solar energy production, and even edible landscaping, turning this living space into a “living laboratory” of sustainable education. Weddle Gilmore is also working with other firms on a design for the Mesa City Center, a major project to build a multi-dimensional and green-centric urban core in the sprawling city that melds with Phoenix and other municipalities to create the Valley of the Sun. The project is meant to provide Mesa with a defining space for festivals, events, and daily outdoor urban life.


John Tran

AIA APS Energy Award,
SRP Sustainable Award,
American Society of Landscape Architects Honor Award,
International Interior Design Association Pride Award

455 N. 3rd Street, Suite 250, Phoenix, AZ 85005

About SmithGroupJJR

A global leader in environmental and sustainable design, the huge international architectural firm SmithGroupJJR has been a major contributor to the decades-long resurgence of Phoenix’s desert-urban style. One of the most celebrated architectural firms around, SmithGroupJJR has won some 400 design award in recent years. The firm first opened its Phoenix office in 1978 and has since won acclaim for diverse projects, such as the Chandler City Hall, Gateway Community College’s Integrated Education Building, and its continuing work as design lead for exterior, lighting, landscape, and sustainability on the recent redevelopment of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport Terminal 3. Brad Woodman leads the firm’s Phoenix office, and the design principal is John Tran. The firm’s Phoenix office has been honored with numerous awards from AIA Arizona, including the APS Energy Award and the SRP Sustainable Award. The office has also received, among others, an Honor Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects, and a Pride Award from the International Interior Design Association.

Featured Projects

Perhaps SmithGroupJJR’s most famous and recognizable structure in Phoenix is the high-rise, skyline-defining Freeport-MacMoran Center downtown, one of the true beating hearts of the area’s urban renewal and the headquarters of a global mining giant that did much to develop Arizona’s mining industry. The modest glass-and-steel skyscraper has 26 floors and clocks in at 341 feet high, one of the tallest buildings in the state. It also has a luxury hotel, offices, and retail space. One of the many state-of-art touches here is a “curtainwall system” that cuts down on heat gain while still providing views of the mountain ranges that surround Phoenix. SmithGroupJJR’s Phoenix office took another giant step into the future of sustainable design with DPR Construction’s regional headquarters. The firm took an old adult-porn shop in Phoenix and designed it into the first net-zero energy building in Arizona, and the largest net-zero energy building in the world.

Jones Studio

Eddie Jones
Neal Jones
Brian Farling
Jacob Benyi

AIA AZ Home of the Year Merit Award,
AIA Honor Awards

205 S. Wilson Street, Tempe, AZ 85281

About Jones Studio

Recognized leaders in green design, Jones Studio was founded by architect and principal Eddie Jones in 1979. He was later joined by his brother, fellow architect and principal Neal Jones. Brian Farling and Jacob Benyi are also principals and partners in the firm. With years of expertise in water-saving sustainable and environmental design, Jones Studio has won more than 190 awards for its projects and has been recognized by Architect Magazine as a top 50 firm and a leader in sustainability. The firm has 11 architects and has completed a diverse range of commercial, residential, education, repurpose, and government projects, including the 54-acre Mariposa Land Port of Entry at the U.S.-Mexico Border and Arizona’s moving 9/11 Memorial.

Featured Projects

Jones Studio recently designed the 260k-square-foot $93M Beus Center for Law & Society at Arizona State University, a six-story building in downtown Phoenix’s urban core for the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and others. State of the art when it comes to energy efficiency and sustainability, the building is open and roomy, connected by breezeways and outdoor spaces. Made of Arizona sandstone, aluminum, and glass, the building has a 400-seat lecture hall that becomes a unique outdoor space when the 50 x 50-foot glass door is open. In an interesting redevelopment project, Jones Studio is currently creating a unique community garden, performance space, and mixed-use development in the disused Monroe St. Abbey in downtown Phoenix. The space used to be a church, built in 1929 in the Spanish Renaissance style, but has been unused and mouldering since a fire in the 1980s.


John Kane
Douglas Brown
Joseph Salvatore
Gregory Lambright
Tom Riley

AIA AZ Merit Awards,
AIA AZ Honor Awards,
AZ RED Awards

464 S. Farmer, Suite 101, Tempe AZ 85281

About Architekton

Experts in sustainability and environmentally conscious design, Architekton is a 25-person firm in Tempe led by Principals John Kane and Douglas Brown, both graduates of Arizona State University. An AIA Fellow, Kane has been widely recognized for his designs, and he lectures at architecture schools around the country. Brown has designed many police and fire stations, and his work has appeared in the Architectural Record and other publications. Seeking to design structures that fit into the regional urban context and are environmentally sustainable, Architekton has been recognized by AIA AZ for its sustainable design efforts. Joseph Salvatore and Gregory Lambright also serve as Architekton principals, with Lambright in charge of the firm’s religious and development projects and Salvatore serving as the CEO. Tom Riley serves as the firm’s director.

Featured Projects

Architekton designed the 62k-square-foot Sun Devil Fitness Complex + Health Services Facility at Arizona State University’s West Campus. The beautiful glass and stone building is an LEED Gold project and serves as an uplifting and healthy space for students and faculty, with running tracks, a huge pool, a bike co-op, and a game room. Architekton designed one of the most distinctive and creative buildings in the Phoenix metro area, the Tempe Center For The Arts perched on the banks of Tempe Town Lake, to recall the ancient civilizations and dramatic natural features of Arizona. The building, all glass and flying, jutting angles, was inspired by Anasazi villages with their kivas and plazas, as well as the towering rock monuments of Monument Valley and Tempe’s iconic Hayden Butte.

DWL Architects

Steve Roa

Arizona Masonry Guild Excellence In Masonry Architecture Award

2333 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004

About DWL Architects

Leaders in energy efficient design, with more than 50 percent of its architects LEED certified, DWL Architects opened in 1949 and has worked on many recognizable buildings around the the Phoenix metro area, including stadiums, airports, libraries, and education spaces. One of the oldest locally owned architectural firms in Phoenix, DWL has completed some 200 projects and has a staff of 50. The firm is led by President Steve Roa, an expert in transportation design with nearly 40 years of experience, who has done more than $1B of work on airports in the Southwest. Rao received his Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Columbia University and his Master of Architecture from Arizona State University. The firm’s work has been featured widely in local, regional, and national publications and has won numerous awards for excellence.

Featured Projects

DWL Architects is the prime architect and design team lead for the 1.9M-square-foot, $590M Phoenix Sky Harbor Terminal 3 modernization project, a huge effort to revitalize and expand one of the Southwest’s busiest airports. The project will open up the 30-year-old terminal and connect it to the rest of the city, with 14 new skylights that will wash the interior in desert light, and a more expansive facade that will connect the airport to the rest of Phoenix by providing views of downtown and rugged desert mountains surrounding the city. The firm is also working with the local Salt River Indian Community to expand and remodel the Gric Huhugam Heritage Center. The project includes turning 6,800 square feet of unused space into a museum that will tell the community’s long history of living and thriving in the desert environment.

Richärd + Bauer Architecture

James A. Richärd
Kelly K. Bauer
Stephen J. Kennedy

AIA National Honor Award,
AIA AZ Firm of the Year

1545 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix, AZ 85020

About Richärd + Bauer Architecture

Led by principal architect James A. Richärd, interior designer Kelly K. Bauer, and architect Stephen J. Kennedy, the highly acclaimed Richärd + Bauer Architecture concentrates on sustainable design and is known for designing several amazing libraries and education facilities around the state, including the evocative Tree Ring Laboratory at the three principals’ alma mater, the University of Arizona in Tucson. Richärd + Bauer Architecture opened in 1996. Along with many local, regional, and national awards for its design projects, Richärd + Bauer Architecture has received an AIA National Honor Award and the Firm of the Year honor from AIA Arizona. Richärd + Bauer’s work has been recognized by the Architectural Record, Contract Magazine, and the Architectural League of New York, which once called the firm an “emerging voice” in the field.

Featured Projects

One of many library and academic projects that Richärd + Bauer Architecture has designed in Arizona, the South Mountain Community Library, is a beautiful copper and glass rectangular structure that looks like a series of stacked and integrated modules banded together to form a coherent symbol of Arizona’s past and future. The 51k-square-foot library has an interior of abstract designs and acoustical cedarwood, and features a 200-seat meeting room, a cyber cafe and even a podcast studio. Another recent library project designed by Richärd + Bauer is the Scottsdale Community College Library, which saw the firm integrating state-of-the-art design in a massive remodel of a more than 40-year-old building into a technology-based library and community meeting space. The interior now has an elegant, modern and refreshing look and feel that will inspire students to hang around to learn and create.

Marlene Imirzian & Associates

Marlene Imirzian

AIA AZ Firm of the Year Award,
AIA Western Mountain Region Citation Award

8906 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85020

About Marlene Imirzian & Associates

Architect Marlene Imirzian opened Marlene Imirzian & Associates in Phoenix in 1995. Before that she attended the University of Michigan, where she received her bachelor’s degree and Master of Architecture before apprenticing with Detroit-based Modernists Gunnar Birkerts and William Kessler. Known for its sustainable design practices, Marlene Imirzian & Associates was named No. 18 on Architecture Magazine’s 2016 list of the Top 50 firms in the country, and has received AIA Arizona’s Firm of the Year Award. An AIA Fellow, Imirzian also has an office in Escondido, California, and she is a faculty associate at the School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture at Arizona State University Herberger Institute for Design. The firm has over the years completed a wide variety of regional projects for commercial, civic, educational, and residential clients.

Featured Projects

Winner of an AIA Western Mountain Region Citation Award and the Arizona Architects Medal, the wondrous Life Science Building at Paradise Valley Community College integrates sustainable practices throughout, including two large, rain-harvesting towers that feed into an underground cistern, which collects water for all of the site’s desert-adapted vegetation. The metal-and-stone building is made up of a series of individual pods under a large roof and serves as an inspiring space for art classes and science labs. Another of Marlene Imirzian & Associates local community college projects, the renovation of the 7,000-square-foot, 280-seat Glendale Community College Performing Arts Center updated the old structure with new walls, foyers, seating, and acoustics, as well as making the center more accessible and creating a new outdoor space for special performances.

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