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2016 Citation of Merit: The Shepley Bulfinch Architecture Firm Office

Monday, 15 August 2016

Phoenix Office

We are so proud to announce that our Phoenix office, located in the South Rotunda of the Phoenix Financial Center, was recently awarded a Citation of Merit as a part of the 2016 Docomomo US Modernism in America Awards.

While we are always honored by the awards we win, it is especially rewarding when we are recognized for those we are intimately familiar with; we love spending each day in our Phoenix office, and it is exciting to share and celebrate the space. The Phoenix Financial Center is a modernist gem; originally conceived by local entrepreneur David Murdock in the early 1960′s, the structure was created to “provide the city with a piece of landmark architecture.” Murdock sought out W.A. Sarmiento, a Peruvian-born architect, who designed the complex with its iconic tower and two rotundas creating a unique and exceptional representation of Modern Neo-Expressionism design. Iconic elements of the original design, many of which had been lost or badly altered, have become core features of the renovation.

The Docomomo jury noted, “A lesser-known and exuberant desert gem, the original interior details have been carefully restored and brought back to robust life by a tenant. Development pressures have been avoided and the preservation of this building supports the revival of a city district. This is yet another example of how less is more… how restoration with a light hand values even the patina on original material if that material can be saved and restored, rather than replaced.”

Our team began the adaptive re-use renovation when our Phoenix team signed a lease on the space in 2014. The design approach creates a modern space that respects the existing structure and Sarmiento’s original design. The open environment of the ground floor is maintained as our main architectural studio, while the former bank vault has been converted to gallery space. The mezzanine’s private offices are now collaboration rooms while two of the private offices were combined to create a larger break room. We retained original light fixtures throughout the rotunda, refitting them with high-efficiency lighting. By clearly distinguishing old and new, our studio balances the restoration of the original intent of Sarmiento’s design and a modern interpretation of the space for its use today.

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