(Originally Published March 2011 | Scoop Factory)

Recently, we heard about the passing of noted Valley architect, Michael Goodwin. The grandson of Tempe pioneers, Goodwin left behind an extensive oeuvre, including both the Marcos de Niza and Corona del Sol high schools, and was also an accomplished Cowboy Artist and a supporter of the theatrical arts. But honestly, we were much more interested to learn Goodwin was the man behind one of the Valley’s wackiest landmarks.

Yes, Goodwin’s firm designed Tempe City Hall, aka the three story upside-down pyramid located just off of Mill Avenue on Fifth Street. Built in 1970, this award winning design is actually an early nod to eco-friendly design. Not only does the tiny footprint allow for additional landscaping sprinkled throughout the ground floor courtyard, but the building’s innovative design creates it’s own shade, even at high noon. Even cooler (he he), because the walls are tilted at a steep 45-degree angle, the extensive windows are never exposed to direct sunlight.

In fact, the upside-down pyramid proved to be a design so nice, the Valley built it twice. Yes, there’s a similar-shaped office building located on Central Ave in the heart of Midtown Phoenix. Named, naturally, the Pyramid on Central, this five-story structure isn’t quite as dramatic as its glassed-lined brethren in the East Valley, but it’s still an eye-grabber. Plus, it’s located right next door to the swooping, circular Phoenix Financial Center, one of the Valley’s best preserved examples of swinging Space Age design.

Who says the Valley’s just full of boring, cookie-cutter buildings? Well, that would be us, but let’s tip our hats to outside the box thinkers like the talented Mr. Goodwin. Click here to see a full slideshow of the Valley’s dueling pyramids, as well as the swank Phoenix Financial Center in all its Mad Men-style glory.