subscribe
free e-newsletter free e-newsletter
product info
advertise
FAQ
SUBSCRIBE TODAY
for premium web access
comment

Scottsdale Bridge Marks Milestone for Paolo Soleri

December 11, 2009

By Noble Sprayberry

Italian architect Paolo Soleri became famous for Arcosanti, the urban laboratory he built in the Arizona desert in the early 1970s. His first major design, however, was a bridge for an exhibition in the late 1940s. It was never constructed. Other bridge concepts also were never realized.  

Work is expected to begin in January on a bridge Paolo Soleri designed, in collaboration with Douglas Architects, for Scottsdale.
Image courtesy Scottsdale Public Art
Work is expected to begin in January on a bridge Paolo Soleri designed in collaboration with Douglas Architects.
We travel to the Arizona desert to speak with the Italian-American urbanist and designer Paolo Soleri, who began construction on his experimental town Arcosanti in 1970.
Rate this project:
Based on what you have seen and read about this project, how would you grade it? Use the stars below to indicate your assessment, five stars being the highest rating.
----- Advertising -----

Now, at the age of 90, Soleri might finally get to see one of his bridges built.

Work is expected to begin in January on a 100-foot-long pedestrian bridge Soleri designed, in collaboration with Douglas Architects, for Scottsdale, a Phoenix suburb located a short drive from the architect’s longtime home in Paradise Valley. The bridge will cross a canal in the downtown area, connecting stores and condominiums on the north to a cluster of shops and restaurants on the south. Two brushed-steel pylons that will shoot up 64 feet will act as a sundial, creating a light dagger on the bridge deck that will mark solar events such as the equinox.

The project also includes a 22,000-square-foot plaza that will feature a hitching post and Soleri-designed bells hanging from 22-foot pylons. Benches will line a shallow circular stream.

"Paolo has been quite well known for his bridge designs, but he was not fortunate enough to have one constructed," explains Roger Tomalty, who has collaborated with Soleri for more than 40 years and is working on the Scottsdale commission. While it’s only a pedestrian bridge, Tomalty says it will be a “very visible project with high exposure” due to its location in downtown Scottsdale.

The project, officially called the Paolo Soleri Bridge and Plaza, is expected to cost $3.2 million. The city is contributing $1.7 million. The Scottsdale Public Art program, part of a nonprofit organization contracted by the city to manage community art, is providing an additional $1 million. The final $500,000 came from private donors, the Starwood Capital Group and Golub & Company, which are jointly developing property along the Scottsdale waterfront.

Donna Isaac, the lead coordinator for the project for Scottsdale Public Art, says interest in a Soleri project was voiced long ago, while the city was drawing up it 1990 master plan. “Our team felt a Soleri bridge would represent the many unique aspect of our culture, history and environment,” she says. “Paolo leaves a legacy for Scottsdale, and I think there was a desire to acknowledge that. There has been strong support for a Soleri masterwork.”

share: more »

 Reader Comments:

Sign in to Comment

To write a comment about this story, please sign in. If this is your first time commenting on this site, you will be required to fill out a brief registration form. Your public username will be the beginning of the email address that you enter into the form (everything before the @ symbol). Other than that, none of the information that you enter will be publically displayed.

We welcome comments from all points of view. Off-topic or abusive comments, however, will be removed at the editors’ discretion.

----- Advertising -----
----- Advertising -----
Sweets, Search Building Products
Search
Reader Feedback
Most Commented Most Recommended
Rankings reflect comments made in the past 14 days
Rankings reflect comments made in the past 14 days