- Location: Route 51, Phoenix AZ (1992)
- Client: Phoenix, AZ Arts Commission, 35 pieces at 20 sites, 2 to 15 feet high with landscaped environments
- Materials: Polychrome concrete, painted steel, plant materials, solar lighting and waterworks
- Budget: $834,000
- Photo Credits: Becket Logan
Route 51/ The Piestewa Freeway
The new Piestewa Freeway also known as Route 51 cut in half a Phoenix residential neighborhood with a 10- 14’ concrete noise barrier, which dwarfs the surrounding houses. Wall Cycle to Ocotillo includes sculpture, landscape, and elements of urban design along a five mile stretch of the Freeway. The 20 sites and 35 sculptural elements of the Phoenix public art sculpture project are dispersed along the concrete noise barrier and the bike path along side of it. The design of this project created distinctive neighborhood environments and rest stops. The project mitigates the severe presence of the barrier in the neighborhood by providing a bridge between the vast scale of the highway structures and the modest scale of the houses.
The 35 pieces are based on variations of iconic vessel forms. The forms have eclectic shapes and surfaces, inspired by the many different cultures that reflect the great variety of origins of Phoenix residents.
The Teapot Gazebo
The teapot is a fantasy seating area placed amongst palm trees. The spout creates a suggestion of an arch over the bicycle path. The terrazzo floor of Gazebo is inlaid with actual teapot sections.
The Hummingbird Vessel
The Hummingbird Vessel creates a small sanctuary for hummingbirds. This mini-park is planted with hummingbird attracting plants. A neighboring resident who has a large aviary of her own inspired the creation of piece. She provides and maintains hummingbird feeders for the site.
The Moroccan Gazebo
The Moroccan Gazebo references the traditional Moroccan vessel forms, patterns, and deep blue color. The Gazebo is built into the barrier as a shade and sitting area along the bikeway. The decorative openings in the canopy cast patterned shadows that repeat the interior motiff. The terrazzo floor has sections ceramic vessels cast into it.
The Guardian Vessels
The four Guardian Vessels are set into the barrier at the end of streets cut off by the highway. The eyes of the pieces are made from security mirrors that reflect the surroundings to literally and conceptually guard the neighborhood.
There four Acoustic Vessels are set along the Arizona and Grand canals that follow the development of Hohokam canals. The forms are based on traditional Hopi ceramics and Howard Sice, a Hopi/Laguna artist created the surface designs. The Vessels contain bubbling water that create sounds and spreads a cool mist over the seating area. Surrounded by shade trees, Acoustic Vessels offer resting places along the canals.