The Rio Reimagined Ideas Competition was created to summon and celebrate revelatory observations and big imaginative ideas with the hope of strengthening connections between the eight communities that directly share the Rio Salado.
Rio Reimagined is a renewed vision of the late Senator John McCain to promote progressive commerce while ensuring an equitable, high-quality, and sustainable environment capable of cultivating an identity for the Phoenix Metro area.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Phoenix Metro Chapter calls on all placemakers — architects, urban planners, landscape architects, developers, and community leaders — to submit visionary proposals that would help restore the river’s natural ecosystem and spur economic vitality.
“This historically significant and underutilized resource holds the potential to be reconceived as a great unifying public space that enhances our metro areas resilience,” said Jason Boyer, AIA Phoenix Metro Chapter’s board member and past president “There’s arguably no grander project in Arizona: six municipalities, two Native American communities, Arizona State University, Maricopa County, and more will all play a key leadership role in the Rio Salado’s future.”
Competition entrants are encouraged to select and focus on one section of the overall 58-mile Rio Salado span anchored from east to west by Mesa, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Tempe, Phoenix, Gila River Reservation, Avondale, Goodyear and Buckeye.
Registration for the competition is due by October 1, and final idea submissions are due by November 20. A five-member panel of leading architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture and development professionals will judge the competition entries. Winning entrants receive a cash prize, publication and exhibition of their work.
While the anticipated outcomes are strictly visionary — and have not been sanctioned by stakeholder communities, municipalities and private landowners — they will serve as an idea bank and as inspiration while Phoenix Metro communities and leaders rethink how we bring the Rio Salado back to life.
The results of this year’s Ideas Competition will inform successive years in this competition series, as AIA Phoenix Metro Chapter continues to collaborate with partners and advocate for the Rio Salado’s transformation into a landmark destination for residents and visitors alike.