This concludes our report of the opening and dedication of the PAOLO SOLERI BRIDGE AND PLAZA.

On-site construction of the bridge started in March, 2010. It is a Scottsdale Public Art project with construction managed by Howard S. Wright Constructors with assistance from Scottsdale architects, structural engineers and landscape architects and off-site work at Cosanti.

The 130 foot long pedestrian bridge connects the Scottsdale Waterfront District and Old Town, spanning the Arizona Canal west of Camelback and Scottsdale Roads. It is 18 feet wide on the north bank widening to 27 feet on the south bank where it opens into the Soleri Plaza.

[photo: YoungSoo Kim]

The 22,000-sq-ft plaza is a gathering place with walkways and lawns, shade, seating and art to enjoy- a Soleri bell assembly and a collection of colorful “earth-cast” panels.

The four pylons of the bridge are clad in elegant, brushed stainless steel. The shorter pylons are hollow and reveal a large Soleri bell assembly. The 10-ft- high bell assembly was first  cast in 1969 and displayed at the Goldwater Department Stores before it found a new home in the plaza.

[photo: YoungSoo Kim]

11 pre-cast concrete panels were created at Cosanti, delivered and installed at the plaza, ten along one edge of the south plaza and one double panel on the north bank. The 8-ft-high, 5-ft-wide panels are hand-carved and earth-cast, a process Paolo Soleri developed in the creation of the famous Soleri wind-bells and the buildings of Cosanti. The panels are unique artwork installations during the day, mysterious at night.

[photo left: YoungSoo Kim]

The sloped plaza has soil retaining “drip walls” constructed with the help of another innovative technique developed by Paolo Soleri for the building of Cosanti. As a final stage in construction, concrete slurry is used allowing gravity to create a drippy surface.

The design and construction of the Paolo Soleri Bridge and Plaza has been a once-in-a-lifetime project, uniting the will of a community, the intent of an artist, and the skills of many construction professionals.

[photo: sue]

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