Urban designer and small business owner embraces Arizona's 'Wild West' opportunities

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Edge Industries owner Kirby Hoyt takes advantage of the “Wild West” tone and open space of Arizona for his urban design business. (Alexis Macklin/DD)

Downtown Phoenix Voices is an ongoing series of profiles on the many diverse and inspirational voices in the downtown Phoenix community. To read the previous installment in the series, click here.
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Golf courses may be the main reason Kirby Hoyt knew he wanted to be involved with the design field, which has been a passion of Hoyt’s since a young age.

“Once I went to school and started learning about all the other diverse things that actually took place in the field, I got kind of excited and started doing other things, so now I am leaning much more toward the urban side of urban design,” Hoyt said.

Hoyt, the president of Edge Industries, enjoys the luxury of owning his own studio in downtown Phoenix, where he is able to open his garage doors and let the outside in. He has his tools and a workshop to build different mock-ups and 3-D projects.

He has worked all over the Valley on numerous projects; he said the 2007 redesign of Biltmore Fashion Park was one of the more difficult ones. With this project he faced the many challenges of keeping residents and local community members content by meeting their needs and not altering the design to a certain degree. He worked with design and client teams and explained that it is complex to cater to each individual’s desire.

Hoyt’s latest environment is on Vernon Street in central Phoenix. He is working on a project with Laryn Callaway-Blok, who is a partner and works on sales and marketing at Shine Coffee.

They have teamed up to design a pocket park at Shine Coffee. Their plan is to renovate and open a recently preserved building for indoor seating for customers. Callaway-Blok, Hoyt and some students from Arizona State University’s Design School are working to create a coherent design that will use walls to create space with a large shaded area, artificial turf for a lawn and decomposed granite and native species trees.

“Kirby has a particular love for parks. When he travels, he does a lot of photography and research in to parks all over the world,” Callaway-Blok said. “When I said urban park, he lit up.”

Callaway-Blok believes with Hoyt’s help, the project should be done by the end of May and will be a great addition to the community.

Hoyt received his undergraduate degree from Iowa State University. He then began working for Design Workshop, which offers landscape architecture, urban design and strategic services, with offices all over the country. The company encourages all leaders in the firm to have a graduate degree, so he applied to Harvard and completed graduate school there.

The company was interested in Hoyt for a leadership role in their Phoenix office. Phoenix’s design opportunity was enticing for him after working in Denver, Colo., which he describes as “having rigid streetscape design pallet.”

After four years with Design Workshop he decided it was time for a change, and Edge Industries was created.

He believes Phoenix has Wild West design opportunities with open space, making it an ideal area to have Edge Industries. Hoyt said one of the reasons he decided to start his own company was in order to have the freedom to experiment with design.

Hoyt said his company is all about cutting-edge design with a strong work ethic. He believes a lot of firms are put into a corporate atmosphere, and Edge Industries is the anticorporation firm.

With Phoenix always growing, Hoyt sees many opportunities for positive changes in the future. He hopes with his passion for cutting-edge design and advocacy for density and compact and desert urbanism, he can help the design community of Phoenix to grow responsibly.

“My motto is that people should be able to be at their bests because of their environments and not despite of them,” he said.

Contact the reporter at mlcummi2@asu.edu