Paolo Soleri, a renowned 91-year-old architect and urban theorist, finally will see a bridge he designed open on Dec. 11.
The Phoenix office of Howard S. Wright Constructors began work in March on the $3-million Soleri Bridge and Plaza in downtown Scottsdale, Ariz. Local firms Douglas Architects, structural engineer PK Associates and landscape architect Steve Martino & Associates worked on the design with Soleri’s Cosanti Foundation, Paradise Valley.
The 130-ft-long cable-stayed pedestrian bridge crosses the Arizona Canal from the Waterfront District on the north side to Old Town on the south side, widening from 18 ft to 27 ft, respectively, and leading into a 22,000-sq-ft plaza. The plaza features 10 8-ft-high by 5-ft-wide concrete panels that were precast using earth forms.
Carbon-steel rods act as suspension cables, anchored by two canted 64-ft-tall pylons composed of 6-ft, 8-in.-dia structural steel and two canted 22-ft-high pylons with 6-ft, 8-in.-dia concrete walls.
The semicircular lower supports open up to frame a 10-ft-high assembly of bronze wind-bells, originally cast by Soleri in 1969. The pylons are clad in brushed stainless steel, for elegance and simplicity, says Roger Tomalty, a Cosanti associate. Radiused panels on the outer sides also are stainless steel.
Soleri began his long career studying under Frank Lloyd Wright before pioneering “arcology,” a combination of ecology and architecture. Because his experimental designs often are untested, only a handful have been built to date.