NEARING its one-year anniversary, we’ve recognised in Phoenix, Arizona’s TAP Center bus terminal one example of great design – both formally and functionally. Phoenix is a beautiful southwestern American city, which, traditionally, has been populated by its college goers and lifelong locals, appreciators of the beautiful southwest outdoors, artistry, and socioculture history. Phoenix is now recognising growth from the trickling, migratory, contemporary penchant for moving from the USA coasts to cities with better and more welcoming lifestyles – a great pace, wonderfully friendly people, and a rich cultural identity. (See the influx of Californians to Austin, Texas, for example, or the recently more frequented Nosara, Costa Rica and Tulum, Mexico for the east coaster’s easy-living pied-à-terre.)
To deboard the highfalutin train of pied-à-terre and what tech and housing bubbles are doing to the USA’s intra-national migration systems, we acknowledge this bastion of public service in Phoenix – the TAP Center bus terminal.
Frequently elided from the urban planner’s infrastructural allowance for beauty, the bus terminal – unsuspecting, yet oh-so-everpresent and ever functional – is a statement maker in Phoenix, a beauty mark on the city’s already-lauded footprint. But while Phoenix is often hailed for its robust domestic arts scene, this piece of architectural and quotidian design (conceived and built by Phoenix-based Merge Architectural Group) is just as laudable a contributor to the city’s design identity.
Exterior of the TAP Center featuring the “green fragments” landscape design
In all respects, the name “bus terminal” is an incredible understatement. The TAP Center boasts over 22 thousand square feet of floor-space, which is used as traveler and visitor hospitality, driver rest and hospitality, and allocated pedestrian space. Because the site is functioning as a welcoming point for city incomers as well as a cynosure, of sorts, for everyone in the city, the pedestrian and outdoor space is quite valuable.
A portion of that outdoor space has been dedicated to flora. Both harkening to and embracing the past and current agricultural systems of Phoenix, respectively, the “green fragments” landscape design complements the aridity of the city and nods to the agrarian history of its region.
Waiting area with conceptual lighting installation
The TAP Center essentially personifies the city’s overall hospitality. It’s a beautiful campus, generously functional and, importantly, graciously responded to. Wishing it a congratulatory happy first year, we impatiently await our next trip to its precious city.
Exterior of the TAP Center featuring the green fragments landscape design
Images courtesy Merge Architectural Group
TAP Center, 300 W Clarendon Ave #475, Phoenix, AZ 85013, USA