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Image Details

Norie Sato

Desert Tracery

Artist Norie Sato worked with the architecture team of Richard and Bauer to illuminate the enduring connection of mind and matter which vitalizes the natural world. Desert Traceryfeatures applied and integral elements of steel and glass, representing living and technological structures in symbiotic habitation. Stylized forms and images suggest the interior skeletal and circulatory structures of the prickly pear cactus, drawing an analogy between the sustaining networks within the plant life of the surrounding desert and the network of knowledge the library embodies. Numerous printed languages and codes, such as Braille, Greek and genetic code are embedded within the images on the glass reference the communication systems that deliver knowledge. The sinuous skeleton of a prickly pear cactus tempers the linear planes and angles of the architecture, overlaying a metaphorical lattice of information onto the library.

Artist Statement 

Sato says the prickly pear cactus is in many ways ubiquitous and well known. However, its skeleton is not as well known or seen as frequently but composes the strength and core of the plant. It represents the invisible network, the circulatory system, the connections and “brain” which allow the plant to survive and grow. The image of the mesh or net of information of the prickly pear cactus skeleton is gently meshing with the library building, bringing its net of information into the library in several areas, at different levels, angles, and sizes. These associations invite us to look more closely…perhaps one might learn or see something not so easily perceived.


Location10187 East McDowell Mountain Ranch Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85255, USA

ArtistNorie Sato

DatesCompleted 2007

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