Be part of the conversation: azarchitecture/Jarson & Jarson Architecture blog covers architecture and civic topics that comment on what’s happening in the Valley’s diverse design community. Here’s what’s happening now:
If you live in the Greater Metro Phoenix area, chances are you’ve been to one of the Valley’s many museums, the Phoenix Art Museum, Heard Museum, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and many more. The Pueblo Grande Museum & Archaeological Park serves as the archaeological repository for the City of Phoenix and is rich with artifacts covering over 1,500 years of Hohokam culture. Technology is booming in with companies such as GoDaddy (Scottsdale), Intel (Chandler) and many others have Arizona as their headquarters.
But where can one go to learn about art, history and technology, all in one simple, beautiful outdoor setting? Arizona Falls, along the Arizona Canal between 56th and 58th streets, is the perfect place! The Falls were originally formed by a natural 20-foot drop, and, in the late 1800s, Phoenicians enjoyed this spot for picnics, social gatherings, dancing; prior to air conditioning, this was literally one cool place! Utilizing the flowing water of the canal to produce power, Arizona Falls was also the site of the first hydroelectric plant in Phoenix. Originally built in 1902, the plant was rebuilt by SRP in 1911, began delivering power again in 1913 and was eventually shut down in 1950. As the years passed and more people moved to the Valley, Arizona Falls was almost forgotten as the place to gather — until today.
When the Falls reopened in 2003 as a restored hydroelectric plant, it rekindled the love and need for a neighborhood gathering place where visitors can learn, interact and reflect. The new Arizona Falls combines art, history and technology to generate clean electricity from the canal’s waterfall. The transformation of a historic waterfall by SRP, the Phoenix Arts Commission and the Arcadia neighborhood allows Phoenix-area residents to experience something old and something new.