Scottsdale, Arizona’s new Museum of the West (SMoW) celebrates the art, history, culture and unique stories of the 19 states comprising the American West.
A design-build project by Studio Ma, a small Phoenix-based architecture firm, the two-story steel-framed building in concrete and rusted metal has helped bring new energy to Scottsdale’s Old Town.
It’s helping the somewhat tired, touristy area is transitioning into a truly mixed-use neighborhood, with music venues, restaurants, and infill residential development.
“Studio Ma has added an iconic edifice to this community,” says SMoW director Mike Fox. Fox has been a cultural developer for four decades, including a stint as the director of the Heard Museum in Phoenix.
Fox feels that Scottsdale’s rapid development in recent years hasn’t necessarily reflected the city’s context, history, or climate. SMoW marks a change in this trend. “I think it’s going to be a launching pad,” he says, ”for other development to happen that will be meaningful and functional, and integrate the American West.”
The $11.4 million museum—the result of a partnership between the city and a nonprofit— connects to the rest of Old Town in scale, siting, and massing.
The museum features regularly changing exhibitions, entertaining events, gallery tours, and engaging activities that bring to life the unique stories of the people, places and events that embody our Western heritage and play a role in shaping its future.
Photo by Bill Timmerman. Courtesy of Studio Ma, Architect