​​​​​​​​​​​​Taylor Street

Connected Oasis​​​



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ARTIST:   Jack Mackie​
DATE:   2008
LOCATION:  ASU Downtown Campus, Taylor Ave, Central to 3rd Street
TYPE:   Park
MATERIALS:   Mosaic, Benches, Lighting
ZIP CODE:  ​85004

​The streetscape design focuses on a shaded pathway linking the ASU Downtown Campus from its eastern end at the Arizona Center to the western perimeter that encompasses the proposed Civic Space design.  The design not only gives essential shading, it also harkens back symbolically to the historic canals that once ran along Taylor Street and the necessity for water in the desert.  The swale that has been created on the north side of Taylor Street symbolically emulates the once-flowing canal.  This swale continues on the south side of the middle block and moves again to the north side of the last block of Taylor, just as the canal once meandered along this pathway.  The artist-designed concrete form benches also tell the story of water.  There are three benches on the north side of the street, with the western-most bench being a zigzag form.  The acrylic insets purposely have the color of water and are subtly lit from behind.  Water in the desert and the story of water in downtown Phoenix is an important one to understand.  Water provides the reason the first inhabitants were here.  It continues to provide, even as a small amount or a sound of a trickle, the critical interlude from the intensity of the sun and the desert surroundings.  

To keep a piece of history with the project Mackie combed the area looking for items to reuse with the mosaic tiles. The mosaic pavers that are set as a pattern of four on the north side and three on the south side provide a visual break from the concrete sidewalk and are a delight to happen upon.  The Taylor Street public art project is a joint City/ASU project funded through the Percent for Art funds.  ​The overall street enhancements include a narrowed street of 24 feet, widened sidewalks of 12 feet, double rows of shade trees, mosaic pavers, seating in the form of concrete benches with acrylic inset designs through which LED lights provide pedestrian level lighting.  In addition the eight parking bays along this first block have permeable pavers.  The overall design reflects a thoughtful approach to sustainable amenities while demonstrating viable materials for urban design in desert cities.  It also presents the oasis concept that the Public Art Program has been fostering to provide connectors and links between streets and downtown neighborhoods and between transit stops.