When fans and followers of the sci-fi series Stargate: SG-1 step through the center of Ilan Averbuch's stone sculpture Landmark at the Central Avenue and Camelback Road light rail station, chances are likely they're fantasizing about traveling to distant worlds to fight aliens such as the Goa'uld and Ori.
They're not going bonkers or anything, just playacting with an iconic piece of public art that bears more than a passing resemblance to the fictional interstellar device at the heart of the show. (Or they're simply going bonkers, likely due to the fact that the long-running Stargate franchise was axed recently).
Averbuch's sculpture isn't the only structure or landmark in the Valley that cause science fiction geeks to do a double take. We've found six other such places in the Phoenix area that give rise to thoughts to traveling though the Final Frontier or into a galaxy far, far away.
andmark: La Luz del Mundo Church
Location: Grand Avenue and Willetta Street
Resembles: Death Star II from Star Wars — Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
After the parishioners of this non-denominational Christian church on Grand Avenue began construction of a new multi-million dollar domed house of worship last year, a few nosy neighbors became concerned. They (ignorantly) believed that a Muslim mosque was making its way into their midst and starting raising a serious stink. Well, it's no mosque, nor is it an intergalactic space station, although it internal skeleton of the church's large dome bears a resemblance to the uncompleted Death Star as seen in Return of the Jedi. There's been no word as to whether or not a giant laser ray will be installed into the dome, although that might certainly cause neighborhood busybodies to think twice about ever making a peep again.
Landmark: Untitled at Burton Barr Public Library
Location: Central Avenue and Willetta Street
Resembles: A Borg Cube from Star Trek: The Next Generation
It's hard to miss the three-foot-square bronze and steel cube sculpture that sits smack dab in the middle of the lobby of the Burton Barr Library near the entranceway. Both it's shape and the circuit-like grooves and etchings covering the sculpture easily remind Next Generation fans of the cube-shaped spacecraft used by the robotic Borg.
Landmark: Hole in the Rock
Location: Papago Park in Scottsdale
Resembles: The Guardian of Forever from Star Trek
In the landmark Star Trek episode "City on the Edge of Forever," Captain James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock stepped through the rock-like time portal known as The Guardian of Forever, the pair were transported almost 400 years into the past. Hole in the Rock, on the other hand, has no such power. The 10-foot hole through one of Papago Park's many sandstone mountains, however, does provide hikers traversing the tunnel to get a grand glimpse of either Scottsdale or Tempe (depending on which side of the mountain their on). Yeah, it's not the same as traveling through time, but it's breathtaking nonetheless.
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Landmark: Hula Modern Tiki
Location: Central Avenue and Campbell Street
Resembles: Imperial TIE Fighter wing from the Star Wars saga
When the Chris and Craig Delaney transformed the mid-century modern standalone building located in the strip mall at 4700 North Central into their Polynesian-themed eatery in 2009, they thankfully kept the hexagonal window that dominated the structure's east end. Star Wars geeks such as myself were relieved at the news, considering the window features an identical shape to the wing of an Imperial TIE Fighter, the bowtie-like assault ship seen in the original trilogy.
Landmark: Fry's Electronics
Location: 31st Avenue and Thunderbird Road
Resembles: Rebel Base from Star Wars — Episode IV: A New Hope
Speaking of a George Lucas' space opera saga, when the director needed an earth-bound location to portray the secret Rebel Alliance base for the original Star Wars back in 1977, he shot footage of several Mayan temples in Guatemala. A similar style of temple used by the Aztecs in Mexico was the inspiration behind the design of the Fry's in North Phoenix, which was built in the mid-1990s.