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Image Details

Bob Adams

Copper Falls

Please note, the waterfall component of this artwork is inactive during summer months.**


Artist Robert “Bob” Adams was one of two original artists to participate in the development of the Scottsdale Streetscape Design Guidelines. This Southeast Corner was both identified in the Guidelines for either a stand-alone or integrated artwork. It is also the first opportunity to use the downtown segment’s specific pattern developed in the Guidelines. Thus Adam’s goals for the project are twofold: 1) To oversee the use of the segment artscreen designs so that a clean and pleasing implementation is followed, with the primary focus being within the framework of the railings around the canal. 2) To create an art piece out of the waterfall feature, replacing the current façade and scuppers in a way that harmonizes with the segment two designs, brings a strong aural component to this lively central component of Scottsdale, and preserves/enhances views of the mountains and the vertical artworks of Soleri Bridge and Plaza and The Doors.
Artscreens with the design developed for downtown float within the framework of most of the guardrails surrounding the canal.  Seating was created on the bridge facing the Soleri Bridge and Plaza through a simple cantilever extension with the art panels as backs.  The guardrail and jersey barrier on Scottsdale Road was replaced with the same barrier on the Soleri Bridge side and the face of the waterfall was raised to the current height of the guardrails on top. This makes the artwork more visible to passing traffic.

Backlit panels of frosted glass provide an elegant backdrop for the artwork.

The artwork is a pattern of domes or hemispheres laid out organically yet echoing the design in the downtown guidelines. The water of the fall  hit the domes and enhance the sound of falling water. The domes are of different sizes, the largest 24” in diameter, and hang in front of the face at different depths.  The patina is a darkened bronze. The water falls at different depths to create different activity in the domes. This occurs as a result of negative spaces cut into an extended lip at the top of the fall. The primary audience for the aurel element is the person on the bridge.

**The artist and the design team for Copper Falls are all well aware of the volatile nature of the canal water. The materials were specifically selected to naturally react and respond to the untreated water as well as the extreme weather conditions of the valley. There was never any illusion or intent that the resulting art would remain pristine and unchanged.  The patinas are expected and intended to form and change over time.  The intent is for all of us to embrace the process of these changes and impacts from both the man-made and natural environment.Copper Falls is regularly maintained.  The water is completely turned off during the intense heat of the summer months in Arizona.  The artwork and the falling water are as much a process as a visual form.  The two elements–process and structure– can’t and were never intended to be separated.

Project Background

This corner in the downtown area has received review for pedestrian, aesthetic and circulation improvements both in the Scottsdale Road Design Guidelines and the 2006 Downtown Circulation Study. The City called for the following scope of services for the improvements: to prepare construction plans for pedestrian and landscape improvements for the southeast corner of Scottsdale and Camelback roads to be constructed under the City’s Job Order Contracting program. The site is bounded by Camelback Road on the north, Scottsdale Road on the west, and the Salt River Project (SRP) property line on the southeast. The site currently serves as a pedestrian corridor, and the City, in cooperation with SRP, desires to improve the site with a new concrete path, pedestrian lighting, retaining wall, landscape and irrigation, and other aesthetic enhancements. The project was split into two phases in order to expedite construction of the basic pedestrian and landscape improvements followed by aesthetic enhancements to the existing canal structure.  The improvements were designed in accordance with the City Design Standards and Policies Manual, MAG Standards and Specifications, and the City’s Supplement to MAG. In addition, the Scottsdale Road Design Guidelines were used as applicable.


Location7201 E Camelback Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, USA

ArtistBob Adams

DatesCompleted February 2015

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