Phillip K. Smith III
Raintree Drive Extension
Philip K. Smith III merges the precision and purity of geometry with the immeasurable organic qualities of the hand and nature. He works with light, space and form to create elementally pure, transformational projects that are site-specific and memorable. Smith seeks to inform his projects with the color, texture, light, and social and cultural contexts of a site and translating this site-specific information through his own artistic filter to create distinct and powerful artwork. His practice fuses the disciplines of art, architecture, and design. Smith’s training as both an architect and an artist allows him to focus on the key conceptual, structural, and logistical realities of my projects.
Before commencing on design for the Raintree Extension, Smith sought the input of the community on their interactions in the Airpark area through surveys and two public meetings on May 9, 2013 and September 25, 2013. The artwork for the Raintree Corridor Extension seeks to merge the beauty and change inherent in the light of the desert with the more modern, technological, and streamlined realities of this important commercial area in North Scottsdale. Guiding principles of gradient, change, light, and linearity are revealed across five Raintree Drive roundabouts from 73rd to Northsight. Each of the roundabouts implement “collaged” groupings of native desert plantings across angled or earth-mounded circular surfaces, while an iconic, vertical sculpture at the Raintree and Hayden roundabout geometrically transforms and lifts 52’ to engage the ever-changing desert light and expansive sky.
The Scottsdale Airpark is the preeminent employment center in Scottsdale and the third largest in the Phoenix metro area after Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and Downtown Phoenix. Access to and around the Airpark Area was listed as a critical component in the City of Scottsdale Transportation Master Plan (TMP), which was adopted by City Council in 2008. Because of the alignment of the airport runway, The Central Arizona Project canal (CAP), the Loop 101 freeway and existing neighborhoods, the typical street grid pattern in this area is not continuous. In 2009, the Transportation Department undertook an Airpark Circulation study to identify, analyze and evaluate options to improve and address traffic concerns around the Airpark. Phase One of the outcome of the plan focuses on the area south of the CAP canal, and east of the airport runway. The first project to come out of the study is the Northsight Extension Project which was undertaken to relieve one of the most congested intersections in Scottsdale – Hayden Road and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard. To alleviate the congestion, Northsight Boulevard will be extended from Hayden Road to Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard creating an alternative to bypass this intersection. The city’s first modern arterial roundabout is included in the project.
Further roundabouts will be considered for the Raintree Drive Extension, which will allow Raintree from the Loop 101 to continue westward without interruption to Scottsdale Road. Currently, drivers heading to the west side of the airport from Hayden Road must maneuver through multiple intersections and twisting streets. As part of the airpark circulation study efforts, a preferred alignment for Raintree Drive was recommended by the City of Scottsdale Transportation staff and supported by the Transportation Commission. That alignment was chosen for several reasons including being the least disruptive and least costly, while satisfying the overall goal of providing a clear direct route around the south end of the airport runway.