Sky Windows and Window of Dialectic Views

Photograph of Window of Dialectic Views and Sky Windows by Thomas Strich

Sky Windows lead to the Window of Dialectic Views on the Rio Salado South Bank Path in Tempe, Arizona. The South Bank Path is a multi-user public pathway that lines the Salt River near the Tempe Center for the Arts. For this project, the City of Tempe commissioned a design team to create site enhancements and public art for the formerly barren river bank. The enhancements the design team generated became known as The Creative Edge.

The design team for The Creative Edge consisted of: Ruben Valenzuela, landscape architect; Virginia Senior, architect; Thomas Strich, artist; and Jeff Oesterle, fabricator. Thomas Strich’s sculptures are enjoyed as strong features on a pathway now popular with pedestrians, runners, skaters, and cyclists.

Window of Dialectic Views

Photograph of the Window of Dialectic Views, a sculpture by Thomas Strich

The Window of Dialectic Views stands in the main pathway node on the Rio Salado South Bank Path in Tempe, Arizona. This sculpture reflects the dualism of the boundary between the built city environment and the renewed desert/riparian habitat of the Salt River. The South Bank Path is a multi-user public pathway that lines the Salt River near downtown Tempe. Just beyond this side view of the steel sculpture can be seen the Tempe Center for the Arts, a short distance away, and and the Tempe Town Lake, further to the northeast.  For this project, the City of Tempe commissioned a design team to create site enhancements and public art for the formerly barren river bank. The enhancements the design team generated became known as The Creative Edge.

The design team for The Creative Edge consisted of: Ruben Valenzuela, landscape architect; Virginia Senior, architect; Thomas Strich, artist; and Jeff Oesterle, fabricator. Thomas Strich’s sculptures are enjoyed as strong features on a pathway now popular with pedestrians, runners, skaters, and cyclists.

Fibonacci’s Window

Photograph of Fibonacci's Window, a sculpture by Thomas Strich

Fibonacci’s Window looks out on the Salt River and toward the Papago Buttes from its location on the popular Rio Salado South Bank Path.  Fibonacci’s Window was inspired by the work of Leonardo Fibonacci, an Italian mathematician from the 12th Century who first recognized the Fibonacci Sequence. The Fibonacci Sequence is a sequence of numbers that, as as they increase, come closer and closer to the Golden Ratio. The Golden Ratio, first discovered by the ancient Greeks, describes the ratio between the lengths of the sides of the Golden Rectangle. The Golden Ratio is also known as by the Greek letter phi, with the value 1.618… The Golden Rectangle has, through the centuries, been thought to be the rectangle with the most beautiful proportions. Fibonacci’s Sequence, and the Golden Ratio are found in growth patterns throughout the natural world. Fibonacci’s Window is comprised of a series of Golden Rectangles.

For the Rio Salado South Bank Path, the City of Tempe commissioned a design team to create site enhancements and public art for the formerly barren river bank. The enhancements the design team generated became known as The Creative Edge. The design team for The Creative Edge consisted of: Ruben Valenzuela, landscape architect; Virginia Senior, architect; Thomas Strich, artist; and Jeff Oesterle, fabricator. Thomas Strich’s sculptures are enjoyed as strong features on a pathway now used by numerous pedestrians, runners, skaters, and cyclists.

 

Entrance Landmark for Rio Salado South Bank

Photograph of the South Bank entrance landmark by Thomas Strich

 The South Bank Entrance Landmark by Thomas Strich marks the western edge of the Rio Salado South Bank Path. The Landmark was modeled after the vertical measuring devices used in surveying call stadia. The Landmark’s steel framework is 15 feet tall. The panels are assembled from recycled City of Tempe street signs. The blue curves represent the river’s flow. This sculpture stands on the edge of a busy river bridge and freeway overpass. Passing cars illuminate the reflective signs at night with their headlights.

For the Rio Salado South Bank Path, the City of Tempe commissioned a design team to create site enhancements and public art for the formerly barren river bank. The enhancements the design team generated became known as The Creative Edge. The design team for The Creative Edge consisted of: Ruben Valenzuela, landscape architect; Virginia Senior, architect; Thomas Strich, artist; and Jeff Oesterle, fabricator. Thomas Strich’s sculptures are enjoyed as strong features on a pathway now used by numerous pedestrians, runners, skaters, and cyclists.

Homage to Discarded Things, panel detail

Photograph of Homage to Discarded Things up close

This is a close-up view of two panels of Homage to Discarded Things showing the high relief and detail captured in the cast concrete. Each panel has a general theme, such as defunct household items or worn-out sporting goods, but there are always other objects mixed in, as might be the case in garbage. The panel designs are rich in detail and visual variety, while their glass-reinforced concrete composition provides durability for this outdoor installation.

Homage to Discarded Things is an array of cast concrete panels within the playground at Paseo Vista Recreation Area, a City of Chandler park created atop a reclaimed landfill. Known as the “Garbage Wall”, the high relief cast concrete panels replicate the shapes of objects likely found in a landfill: old shoes, broken toys, wrappers, household and mechanical fragments. The panels are imbedded in walls and under play area sand like windows into the insides of the landfill. The relief designs were created from impressions of actual objects.

Thomas Strich was commissioned by EPG Landscape Architects, and Valley RainConstruction to design, fabricate, and install these panels for The City of Chandler.

Homage to Discarded Things, relief sculpture wall

Photograph of Homage to Discarded Things installed in the play area at Paseo Vista park

Homage to Discarded Things is an array of cast concrete panels within the playground at Paseo Vista Recreation Area, a City of Chandler park created atop a reclaimed landfill. Known as the “Garbage Wall”, the high relief cast concrete panels replicate the shapes of objects likely found in a landfill: old shoes, broken toys, wrappers, household and mechanical fragments. The panels are imbedded in walls and under play area sand like windows into the insides of the landfill. The relief designs were created from impressions of actual objects.

Thomas Strich was commissioned by EPG Landscape Architects, and Valley RainConstruction to design, fabricate, and install these panels for The City of Chandler.

Sources of Play

Photograph of the Sources of Play figures and stage at the North Tempe Multi-Generational Center

The Sources of Play is one of several public art features at the North Tempe Multi-Generational Center (NTMGC) in Tempe, Arizona. The collection of public art features together comprise Play Like a River, the public art component the NTMGC. The motto for the project is inscribed on the benches between the figures of the Sources of Play. The motto reads, ” Play is like the water that sustain all life; the joy of play nourishes the human spirit.”

The art elements of Play Like a River are connected to a riverine path that runs the full length of the NTMGC’s site from north to south, and through the building. The Sources of Play is situated at the north end of the site. Tom worked on a design team with Michael Kelly, lead architect, and Ruben Valenzuela, landscape architect, to create a municipal facility where the public art elements are threaded through and well integrated with the final site. The North Tempe Multi-Generational Center went on to win a Valley Forward’s Crescordia Award in 2006 and a Valley Forward Award of Merit in 2007.

Sources of Play: Physique

Photograph of Physique, one of the Sources of Play, by Thomas Strich

“Physique” is one of the three life -size figurative Sources of Play sculptures by Thomas Strich. This figure stands on the left side of the stage at the northern edge of the North Tempe Multi-Generational Center  (NTMGC) in Tempe, Arizona. Each of the Sources of Play stands on a plinth incorporated into the bench that spans the back wall of the stage. The water-carrier figures face towards the pathway to the Center. The water element is made of stainless steel.

The Sources of Play is one of several public art features at the NTMGC.  The collection of public art features together comprise Play Like a River, the public art component of the NTMGC. Each figure is tied to color coded elements embedded in the concrete path central to Play Like a River. Tom worked on a design team with Michael Kelly, lead architect, and Ruben Valenzuela, landscape architect, to create a municipal facility where the public art elements are threaded through and well integrated with the final site. The North Tempe Multi-Generational Center went on to win a Valley Forward Crescordia Award in 2006 and Valley Forward Award of Merit in 2007.

Sources of Play: Intellect

Photograph of "Intellect", one of the Sources of Play sculptures by Thomas Strich

“Intellect” is one of the three life -size figurative Sources of Play sculptures by Thomas Strich. This figure stands on the middle of the stage at the northern edge of the North Tempe Multi-Generational Center  (NTMGC) in Tempe, Arizona. Each of the Sources of Play stands on a plinth incorporated into the bench that spans the back wall of the stage. The water-carrier figures face towards the pathway to the Center. The water element is made of stainless steel.

The Sources of Play is one of several public art features at the NTMGC.  The collection of public art features together comprise Play Like a River, the public art component of the NTMGC. Each figure is tied to color coded elements embedded in the concrete path central to Play Like a River. Tom worked on a design team with Michael Kelly, lead architect, and Ruben Valenzuela, landscape architect, to create a municipal facility where the public art elements are threaded through and well integrated with the final site. The North Tempe Multi-Generational Center went on to win a Valley Forward Crescordia Award in 2006 and Valley Forward Award of Merit in 2007.

Sources of Play: Emotion

“Emotion” is one of the three life -size figurative Sources of Play sculptures by Thomas Strich. This figure stands on the right side of the stage at the northern edge of the North Tempe Multi-Generational Center  (NTMGC) in Tempe, Arizona. Each of the Sources of Play stands on a plinth incorporated into the bench that spans the back wall of the stage. The water-carrier figures face towards the pathway to the Center. The water element is made of stainless steel.

The Sources of Play is one of several public art features at the NTMGC.  The collection of public art features together comprise Play Like a River, the public art component of the NTMGC. Each figure is tied to color coded elements embedded in the concrete path central to Play Like a River. Tom worked on a design team with Michael Kelly, lead architect, and Ruben Valenzuela, landscape architect, to create a municipal facility where the public art elements are threaded through and well integrated with the final site. The North Tempe Multi-Generational Center went on to win a Valley Forward Crescordia Award in 2006 and Valley Forward Award of Merit in 2007.

Elements of Play, concrete medallion

Photograph of Play Medallion at the North Tempe Multi-Generational Center

Elements of Play medallion on the stage below the Sources of Play and pathway running through the North Tempe Multi-Generational Center (NTMGC). The medallion is cast in place with integrally colored concrete. The images in each colored section correspond to each one of the Sources of Play: “Physique,”” Emotion,” and “Intellect.” Corresponding colored elements embedded in the path continue on down the full length of the path toward the building.

All the art elements of Play Like a River are connected to a riverine path that runs the full length of the NTMGC’s site from north to south, and through the building. The Sources of Play and Elements of Play are situated at the north end of the site.  There are two more matching medallions at each entrance to the building. Tom worked on a design team with Michael Kelly, lead architect, and Ruben Valenzuela, landscape architect, to create a municipal facility where the public art elements are threaded through and well integrated with the final site. The North Tempe Multi-Generational Center went on to win a Valley Forward’s Crescordia Award in 2006 and a Valley Forward Award of Merit in 2007.

Passing Images

Photograph of Passing Images installed on the bridge in downtown Queen Creek, Arizona

Passing Images is a public art project in the Town of Queen Creek, Arizona. The cut steel panels highlight and celebrate the history of the town showing signature elements of the town’s environs. On the these four panels are depicted: a cactus flower, a Hohokom pottery design, cotton bolls, and a vintage tractor. There are four panels installed on each side of the Ellsworth Street Bridge south of downtown Queen Creek.

Naturalized Infrastructure

Photograph of Naturalized Infrastructure, a set of backflow devices painted with an unusual desert camouflage to match the natural color scheme

Naturalized Infrastructure is a set of large backflow prevention devices located in front of the South Mountain Environmental Education Center in South Mountain Park, Phoenix, Arizona. These devices are functional and necessary, and visually prominent. The goal of this City of Phoenix public art project was to take these visually out-of-place devices and transform them into visually interesting forms that are integrated with the natural look of the undeveloped desert park.

River Pattern Panels

Photograph of cut and coated steel panels in railing at Rio Salado. The panels are bright green.

River Patterns are series of powder-coated cut-steel panels installed along the railings of the Gateway Plazas at the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area south of downtown Phoenix, Arizona. The panels depicted here are “Sonoran Desert Toad” and “Raindrop.” The River Patterns are paired semi-abstract designs derived from photographs. The pairings reflect the interrelatedness of the various myriad elements of the desert river habitat.

The plans for the Gateway Plazas were created by a design team commissioned by the City of Phoenix. The design team was: Orcutt/Winslow Partnership, architects; Christy Ten Eyck, landscape architect; and Thomas Strich, artist. Thomas went on to produce public art elements for the completed Gateway Plazas.

Layers of Time: Contemporary Layer, Water Tile

Close up view of the Water Tile from the Layers of Time public art project at Rio Salado

The Layers of Time are concrete relief tiles affixed to the columns of the shade structures at the Gateway Plazas for the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area. This tile evokes the modern control of water that makes urban life in the desert possible. The riparian habitat of the Salt River has been profoundly changed by the series of dams that capture the river’s water for use by Phoenix and its adjoining cities. The Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area is a large scale project that has rehabilitated the riparian habitat of the Salt River south of downtown Phoenix, Arizona. The Layers of Time uses five layers of colored, relief tiles to tell the history of the Salt River. The layers are: Geology, Natural History, Native American, Settlement Agriculture, and Contemporary Urban. The relief tiles use impressions of actual objects to create designs that capture the character of different ecological and cultural communities that are part of the local history of the Salt River. The tiles are made from integrally colored, cast concrete that has been stained to bring out details. Each layer is a different color. Each tile is 2′ x 3′.

The plans for the Gateway Plazas were created by a design team commissioned by the City of Phoenix. The design team was: Orcutt/Winslow Partnership, architects; Christy Ten Eyck, landscape architect; and Thomas Strich, artist. Thomas went on to produce public art elements for the completed Gateway Plazas.

The Layers of Time

Photograph of two Layers of Time columns showcasing the cast concrete tiles

The Layers of Time are concrete relief tiles affixed to the columns of the shade structures at the Gateway Plazas for the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area. The Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area is a large scale project that has rehabilitated the riparian habitat of the Salt River south of downtown Phoenix, Arizona. The Layers of Time uses five layers of colored, relief tiles to tell the history of the Salt River. The layers are: Geology, Natural History, Native American, Settlement Agriculture, and Contemporary Urban. The relief tiles use impressions of actual objects to create designs that capture the character of different ecological and cultural communities that are part of the local history of the Salt River. The tiles are made from integrally colored, cast concrete that has been stained to bring out details. Each layer is a different color. Each tile is 2′ x 3′. The black and white edges refer to markings used in the river to measure the level of water.

The plans for the Gateway Plazas were created by a design team commissioned by the City of Phoenix. The design team was: Orcutt/Winslow Partnership, architects; Christy Ten Eyck, landscape architect; and Thomas Strich, artist. Thomas went on to produce public art elements for the completed Gateway Plazas.

The Layers of Time on columns of the Rio Salado Gateway Plaza shade structure

Photograph of Phoenix Rio Salado Shade structure and Layer of Time tiles

The Layers of Time are concrete relief tiles affixed to the columns of the shade structures at the Gateway Plazas for the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area. The Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area is a large scale project that has rehabilitated the riparian habitat of the Salt River south of downtown Phoenix, Arizona. The Layers of Time uses five layers of colored, relief tiles to tell the history of the Salt River. The layers are: Geology, Natural History, Native American, Settlement Agriculture, and Contemporary Urban. The relief tiles use impressions of actual objects to create designs that capture the character of different ecological and cultural communities that are part of the local history of the Salt River. The tiles are made from integrally colored, cast concrete that has been stained to bring out details. Each layer is a different color. Each tile is 2′ x 3′. The black and white edges refer to markings used in the river to measure the level of water.

The plans for the Gateway Plazas were created by a design team commissioned by the City of Phoenix. The design team was: Orcutt/Winslow Partnership, architects; Christy Ten Eyck, landscape architect; and Thomas Strich, artist. Thomas went on to produce public art elements for the completed Gateway Plazas.