If you could live inside a video game, which one would you pick? If you answered Mario Kart, you’re in luck: Architect Lev Libeskind has designed a funky apartment building in central Phoenix based on the popular Nintendo racing game.
Rainbow Road deploys Mario Kart motifs galore throughout the 36-unit buildings. Outside, there’s a multicolored path that extends from the sidewalk through the courtyard. The color palette extends to ROYGBIV window wells and frames, while the facade’s rubber band ball–gridding references the fractal-y metallic or glass panels that gamers reach in Rainbow Road, the notoriously difficult final Special Cup racetrack, and the building’s namesake.
“The challenge given to me by the client was to reinterpret the classic video game Mario Kart in a contemporary way,” Libeskind Studio Design Founding Principal Lev Libeskind told AN. “The building’s shifting rectangular facade, traversed by a diagonal matrix with colored window frames, was inspired by the colorful grid of Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road, a theme continued in the courtyard and onto the public sidewalk. I’m excited to soon break ground on this unique building in the heart of Phoenix’s Roosevelt Arts District.”
Heading inside, residents of all units will be able to enjoy expansive views thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows. There is a shared landscaped rooftop, while the one-, two- and three-bedroom penthouse apartments have private roof decks. Befitting its artsy nature, Rainbow Road will have a gallery and a courtyard for events and art installations, including pieces by Libeskind.
Libeskind is the son of Daniel Libeskind, the architect known for angular, zig-zagging structures like the Royal Ontario Museum and the Jewish Museum Berlin. While father and son practice separately, Rainbow Road is stylistically similar to the deconstructivist buildings for which the elder Libeskind is known.
“This project allowed me to explore meshing the well-known Libeskind style with a functional aesthetic that meets the demands of the people who are going to live, work and experience the building,” Lev said. “Architecture is not pure art, it’s civic art. It’s about finding the perfect diagonal; it’s also about contributing to the neighborhood and shaping the future of a city.”
The project will break ground this year in spring or early summer.