Juan Worner Baz (sometimes spelled Juan Worner y Bas) is not a name that most Tucsonans would recognize, but his buildings certainly are recognizable. Baz designed the iconic annex to Josias Joesler’s Broadway Village at Broadway and Country Club (many will remember as the former location of Table Talk). He also designed St. Phillips Plaza.
The Tower on River Road
The iconic tower at River Road and Via Entrada was also attributed to Juan Worner Baz. The tower started out as a water feature at the entrance of Catalina Foothills Estates #7. When the wind blew, the water sprayed passing cars so eventually, the water was turned off permanently.
Juan Worner Baz comes to Tucson
Worner Baz was an architect from Mexico, who was brought to Tucson by builders John and Helen Murphey. The Murphey’s were searching for an architect to continue in the tradition of Josias Joesler, who had died unexpectedly. They hired Worner Baz to design their own home in La Paloma Estates in 1961. At the time Worner Baz was a young architect who had just finished his largest project to date: the Continental Hilton in Mexico City, a modern high-rise in a historic area of the city.
Catalina Foothills Condos
Juan Worner Baz created a very unique, private, peaceful condominium community in the Tucson foothills, near Skyline and Campbell, called Catalina Foothills Condominiums. This beautiful neighborhood is enveloped by beautiful gardens masterfully designed by Taro Akutagawa. It features many sculptures, similar to the ones that grace the roof of the Broadway Village addition, throughout the property. The community pool is exquisitely integrated into the lush garden landscape which includes a peaceful koi pond.
Catalina Foothills Condos were built by Murphey Building Company in 1963. They are approximately 1500 SF with 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. They feature 1 or 2 car carports. There are 16 original single story units and 8 two-story units were added a few years later. The property was originally built as winter vacation rentals and was converted to condos in the 1970s.
The neighborhood is within the Catalina Foothills Unified School District #16 and is serviced by Manzanita Elementary, Orange Grove Middle, and Catalina Foothills High schools.
Historic District status earned in 2015
On September 8, 2015, the neighborhood was added to the National Register of Historic Places under the name Catalina Foothills Estates Apartments. This designation could save a significant amount in property taxes for these owner-occupied homes.
Interested in learning more about mid-century homes in the Tucson area? Check out my Tucson mid-century home guide!