Architectural Design Guidelines

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 individuals 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 development types that are common in the City of Scottsdale. The intent of these principles and guidelines is to help a development proposal achieve the developer's program objectives while responding to the characteristics of the site, the design influences of the region, and to the context surrounding the site.

Development Review Board adoption - 1999-2003

Key Points:

  1. Compatibility with the unique qualities (both natural and built) and character of the surrounding area should be the foremost influence on the design of a building.
  2. Building design should be compatible with the horizontal landscape of the Sonoran Desert and the southwest.
  3. A building should express heavy massing in reference to traditional Southwestern architecture.
  4. Building design should reference the region's naturally occurring materials, colors, and textures within a palette 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. The scale of a building, or buildings, on a site edge should match the scale of adjoining development.
  7. All sides of a building should have consistent architectural detail and character.
  8. A change in paint color, material, and/or texture, should occur with a vertical or horizontal change in wall plane or in association with a similar wall detail change.
  9. Designers are discouraged from using bold and highly contrasting geometric paint schemes, banding, and other applied graphics unrelated to the building.
  10. Necessary infrastructure and mechanical functions should be considered early in the design process in order to integrate these systems into the aesthetic and composition of the building.

Related Resources:

Contact Information

City of Scottsdale – Long Range Planning
7447 E. Indian School Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251  

Adam Yaron
Planning & Development Area Manager 
P: 480-312-2761
Email: [email protected]

Taylor Reynolds
Principal Planner
P: 480-312-7924
Email: [email protected]

Ben Moriarity
Senior Planner
P: 480-312-2836
Email: [email protected]

Nick Carroll
P: 480-312-4205
Email: [email protected]