Best Place to "Be" Phoenix 2008 - Knightrise skyspace by James Turrell
We all know how excruciating modern urban life can be. We work like dogs, drive like animals, and shove fast food down our throats between dentist appointments and birthday parties. And in a city of cars, there's hardly an escape from the constant drone of engines flying by on bustling streets. But we stress "hardly" because we've found one of the best escape pods in the Valley.
The permanent installation by James Turrell at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art has provided a Zen space for the Valley for the past seven years. As it's tucked away behind the museum's patio, it's no surprise that visitors often cruise right by, missing their opportunity to put on the brakes and chill. This simple, elliptical room is made of slate-gray concrete with a block bench lining the curvature of the walls. Look up to its tall ceiling and you'll see our crystal blue heavens through its oval skylight. The walls block out the noise, the skylight makes the room glow, and the rounded enclosure feels like a warm embrace. Frantic thoughts and everyday anxieties disappear like magic and you are left to just be. Even in the dead of summer, we've spent chunks of time in the room, hardly noticing the heat. And if you happen to visit at night, a subtle glow achieved by expertly placed lighting will make you feel like you just popped a Vicodin.