Digital Storytelling and Visitor Analytics for City and Cultural Institutions
Scottsdale’s breathtaking Soleri Bridge and Plaza is at once a pedestrian passage, solar calendar, and gathering place along the Scottsdale Waterfront. The long-awaited public space in downtown Scottsdale appeals to a diverse audience ranging from casual Waterfront visitors and local residents to students, tourists, architects, and art lovers.
Connecting downtown Scottsdale with Old Town, Soleri Bridge and Plaza was designed by renowned artist, architect, and philosopher Paolo Soleri. An apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright's, Soleri settled in Scottsdale in the 1950s. His signature style is called "arcology," a melding of environment and architecture.
Soleri often used design elements such as bronze and ceramic bells as well as large concrete structures. Both are prominently featured in Soleri Plaza today. Each large-scale carved decorated panel here weighs more than 3,500 pounds. His Goldwater Bell assembly, which he cast in 1969, is also prominently featured.
Soleri was 91 when the Soleri Bridge and Plaza was built in 2010. Although the architect had been designing and winning awards for bridges for more than 60 years, this was the first of his to actually be built! Anchored by two 64-foot pylons and suspended by cables, the bridge is also a solar calendar by making use of a six inch gap between the pylons that captures sunlight.
The dynamic project elements reference the range of Soleri’s work: A bridge marks solar events and connects humans conceptually across time; monolithic earth cast panels reflect the Cosanti aesthetic, and the sales of classic bronze bells like the ones in the plaza have supported Soleri’s projects.
Cover photo via scottsdalepublicart.org