It is a common sight to see someone sit and marvel at the Tempe Municipal Building’s architecture. The upside-down pyramid is a modern and edgy mash-up of Egyptian and Mayan architecture. The eye-catching design sparks conversation, which is exactly what it was built for. While the building itself was constructed in 1970, it sits on the same lot on which the 1914 Tempe City Hall stood. The early 1970s was a time of reinvestment and redevelopment for downtown Tempe and Mill Avenue. Construction of a new city building ignited a movement to make Mill Avenue a popular pin on the map again. Mill Avenue opened new stores, restaurants, and entertainment centers during this redevelopment phase.
The building itself is considered a passive solar building because the design allows for it to shade itself. Michael Goodwin is responsible for the unique design. He is the son of Kemper Goodwin and the grandson of the successful Tempe businessman Garfield Goodwin. The Goodwins are responsible for a large amount of Tempe’s history. Michael Goodwin has designed several schools in the area, including Marcos de Niza High School and Corona del Sol High School. His father, Kemper, designed several buildings on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus including the Memorial Union building.
"Tempe's city hall was the benchmark project that motivated the revitalization era for all downtown Tempe. It has created a destination location in Tempe and has helped to draw thousands of tourists into downtown every year. Tempe Municipal Building is an architectural achievement as well as historical. It celebrated the use of steel construction as a primary construction method in the Salt River Valley." (Tempe Preservation, Mill Ave Tour)