Designing the Resilient Desert City


Sponsors: City of Tempe, AIA Phoenix Metro, ASLA Arizona 
Type: open, anonymous, ideas

Eligibility: Design professionals and students
Language: English
Non AIA Members Professionals – $150
AIA Members     $100
Students     Free
7 June 2023 – Responses to Q&A posted
1 July 2023 – Registration deadline
23 July 2023 – Submission deadline

Brian Farling, AIA
Principal, Jones Studio

Selina Martinez
Co-founder and Lead Instructor, Design Empowerment Phoenix, Sagrado Galleria

Elizabeth McLean, AIA
Associate Principal, Ayers Saint Gross

Dr. Diane E. Pataki
Foundation Professor & Director, ASU School of Sustainability

Wellington “Duke” Reiter, FAIA
Senior Adviser to the President, Arizona State University

Josh Rutherford
Economic Development Program Manager, City of Tempe

Byron Sampson, ASLA
University Landscape Architect, Arizona State University

   Professional Category Awards & Cash Prizes

  • Winning Entry $4000 
  • Honorable Mentions $1000 each
    Student Category Awards & Cash Prizes 
  • Winning Entry $1000 
  • Honorable Mentions $500 each 

The competition site is located in Tempe, Arizona, along Apache Boulevard between Dorsey Lane and Chief Jones Way. The site is comprised of three lots with the following parcel numbers (APN): 132-62-148, 132-62-149, and 132-62- 005B. Entrants may use one, two, or all parcels as part of their design concept. Two existing buildings on the project site may be maintained or removed as part of the design concept.

Design Challenge
Urban desert cities and their communities face a hostile future.

Through the AIA Phoenix Metro 2023 Design Ideas Competition and in partnership with AIA Phoenix Metro and ASLA Arizona, the City of Tempe seeks:

  • To visualize a sustainable, resilient development in the urban desert for the City of Tempe, its residents, and the world at large using the strategies and goals described in the City of Tempe’s CAP. 
  • To show the transformative possibilities of the CAP through physical interventions of architecture, landscape architecture, and master planning, ensuring the City and its residents will have a greater understanding of the potential impact of the CAP. 
  • To inform future policies and development within Tempe and pilot projects by the City through a vision that responds to our climate reality with optimism, action, and a focus on the local community. 
  • To change how we look at the design of our cities by seeing the built environment as an opportunity for creating resilient, human-centric places, meeting the effects of climate change with inspirational solutions instead of despair, and making a more equitable society through our architecture.

Competition brief available at: