Imagining Salt Lake City's Cultural Core
Posted on May. 16, 2013

What would happen if Salt Lake City hosted an international design competition meant to transform its cultural core?  The astounding answer is that over 200 teams of architects, designers, and students representing forty-eight countries have focused their creative talents and energies on two downtown blocks of Salt Lake City over the last four months.  SixtyNine Seventy, The Spaces Between: An Urban Ideas Competition invited design teams from around the world to envision the linked spaces and passages within blocks 69 and 70 (West Temple to State Street and 100 South to 200 South) as a vibrant and engaging district.

From hanging gardens to colorful canopies, entries were judged by a distinguished jury of internationally renowned architects, urban planners, and elected officials who thoughtfully narrowed the field to fifteen finalists.  From now until May 31, the public can vote for the People’s Choice Award at and visit and view the fifteen finalist’s designs at The Leonardo or online.  The People’s Choice Award winner and two Jury award winners will be announced on June 4th, with $40,000 awarded to each winning design team.

As President of the Utah Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and an office resident of block 69, I value and support the competition’s efforts to revitalize Salt Lake City’s downtown.  Blocks 69 and 70 are the cultural core of Salt Lake City. They contain the sites of the vibrant Capitol Theatre, the future home of Ballet West, the planned Utah Performing Arts Center (UPAC) and the Utah Theater—anticipated location of the Utah Film and Media Arts Center. They are also in close proximity to other area downtown anchors like Abravanel Hall, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, City Creek Center, and the Salt Palace Convention Center. 

The competition represents only one step toward revitalizing Salt Lake City’s downtown.  Organizers and sponsors of the competition have set in motion a larger SixtyNine Seventy project that seeks a public/private partnership to support the creation and cultivation of a vibrant urban destination in our capital city.  Ideally, this would be achieved through a private trust or banking initiative similar to many across the country that have been established to sustain the arts.

As a long-term project, SixtyNine Seventy has the potential to draw hundreds of thousands of people to downtown Salt Lake City each year, help revitalize Main Street, and significantly stimulate the area’s economy.  Once completed, the Utah Performing Arts Center will entertain an estimated 300,000 patrons annually.  The proposed Utah Film and Media Arts Center anticipates audiences of approximately 250,000 each year.   Much like New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, SixtyNine Seventy will be a place giving Salt Lake City a unique downtown space with the vitality and personality essential to a world-class city.

The SixtyNine Seventy competition is organized by the Young Architects Forum of the Utah Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the Downtown Alliance, sponsored by the LDS Church Foundation and ZIONS Bank, and funded in part by the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City.

Please “Think Inside the Blocks” and vote for your favorite urban design idea for the People’s Choice Award at or at The Leonardo, now through May 31.

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About Adam

Attorney Adam T. Mow

Adam is a trusted resource for architects, engineers and other members of the construction industry in litigation, risk management, contract negotiations and mechanics’ liens. Adam is also a licensed architect and a past president of the Utah chapter of the American Institute of Architects. He has been elected by his peers to the Utah Legal Elite since 2009.

Awards and Recognition

AV Rating

Excellence in the Study of Architecture, American Institute of Architects Certificate of Merit, 1999

CALI Award for Excellence in Mediation and Advanced Negotiation, 2003

Community Mediator of the Year, Utah Dispute Resolution, 2007

Graduate of the Last Decade, Ball State University, 2008

Utah Business Magazine, Legal Elite, 2009-Present

Mountain States Rising Stars (Construction Litigation), 2009-Present