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Architectural Design Guidelines

Pyramid_SonoranDesertDGsWhere are the policies located?

The policies may be viewed at :

What is it?

These Guidelines were created to be used with the Sensitive Design Principles for certain specific building types to ensure compatible and quality development.

Where does it apply?

Citywide, applied to new development, redevelopment, and major renovation projects. (The Downtown area has its own specific guidelines)

Who needs to use it?

Residents and neighborhoods, Development Review Board (DRB), City staff, developers and property owners, all those involved in the development review process.

Why was it developed?

In response to increasing concerns about the quality and character of design in the community, the City Council, Planning Commission, and Development Review Board (DRB) directed staff to establish the Scottsdale Design Principles and to prepare design guidelines for a range of development types. The intent of these principles and guidelines is to help achieve projects that meet users' program objectives while responding to the characteristics of the site, the design influences of the region, and to the site's surrounding context.

Development Review Board adoption - 1999-2003

Key Points:

  1. Building design should consider foremost the unique qualities (both natural and built) and character of the surrounding area.
  2. A building's design should be compatible with the horizontal landscape of the Sonoran Desert and the southwest.
  3. Buildings should express heavy massing in reference to traditional Southwestern architecture.
  4. Building designs should reference the region's naturally occurring material colors and textures within a pallet that has richness and some variety.
  5. The use of covered walkways, trellises, arcades, and similar architectural shading features is encouraged where pedestrian use will be heaviest.
  6. As a general rule, the scale of building(s) on a site edge should match the scale of adjoining development.
  7. All sides of a building should reference consistent architectural detail and character.
  8. Changes in paint color, building material and/or texture should occur with a horizontal change in wall plane or in association with a similar wall detail change.
  9. Bold and highly contrasting geometric paint schemes, banding, and other applied graphics unrelated to the building is discouraged.
  10. Necessary mechanical function should be considered early in the design process to integrate these systems into the building's aesthetic and composition.

References and related documents:

Download Printable Architectural Guidelines Policy Card (pdf / 257 kb / 1 pg)