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City Creek Shopping Mall


Salt Lake City’s 23-acre City Creek Center is a perfect balance of modern innovation and natural beauty. It challenges the paradigm of retail development by incorporating a bold landscape strategy to center a dense mix of residential households, offices, and retail spaces. Of utmost importance to the client and owner groups were the intended retail success and the inclusion of a creek which authentically recreates characteristics of the natural spring-fed City Creek in an urban environment. Located adjacent to the historic headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the project owners were steadfast in their long-range visioning for City Creek Center to create a timeless site as relevant in 100 years as it is today.

There was a tremendous opportunity to insert a pedestrian layer into Salt Lake City’s large superblock network to complement existing transit flows of automobiles, mass transit, and light rail. The concentration and proximity of amenities, open space, housing, and street life provides an impetus for people to want to walk around the new Downtown. The new pedestrian layer inserts a new scale, a new texture, and a new urban design into the existing urban fabric.

Stone was a natural choice for a site intended to have the quality and character to last 100 years and be an authentic environment evocative of the surrounding natural canyons and hills. Mountain Blend Sandstone is used for seat walls. Mahogany Brown, Mesabi Black, and Prairie Brown stone are used for the fountains in various finishes. Earth Blend Cobbles line planting areas and the authentic creek bed providing an environment in which real trout breed and swim. Pepper Brown Granite (China) is used in paving units that help guide pedestrians from one area to another. Natural stone frames the open space and is the primary material on the pedestrian ground plane.

480 tons of Quartzitic Sandstone was quarried from local stone quarries to supply the boulders that reinforce the authenticity of the creek and creates the bedrock for water flowing over the cascades. The creek is the largest flowing watercourse built on-structure in the United States. Exemplifying the complexity of this feat is an area dubbed the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ where the primary 18-foot tall waterfall courses over the projects of four different architects and three contractors. For this cascade, quarried boulders would need to be shaped to fit together like a giant puzzle to ultimately appear as naturalistic stone formations. 3D models of each cascade were created to assist in the careful selection of the 276 boulders. A full-scale mock-up served to solidify connections between large cascade boulders. The boulders were cut and assembled, seismic joints detailed, and a sealed water test confirmed success before the mock-up was transported boulder-by-boulder and reassembled on the site.

Since its opening on March 22, 2012, retailers here boast the highest sales out of any of their stores attributing the success to the overall revolutionary design moves featuring a landscape centered approach.

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