Desert Passage Canopy Dreams
Public Art : Desert Passage Canopy Dreams
Sculptor: © Barbara Grygutis
Sculptor's Website: www.barbaragrygutis.com
Description: Desert Passage, Canopy Dreams is a 25
foot high, 200 foot long sculptural pedestrian walkway.The sculpture is made from painted steel, laser-cut aluminum
and light, the design of the curvilinear bridge creates a formal promenade while referencing the unique natural and
cultural history of the local environment.
Artist's Statement: “Within the realm of daily life
on campus, I wanted to interject a sense of wonderment, a call to awareness and an opportunity for reflection in
Date Unveiled: 2010
Location: The Desert Passage, Canopy Dreams can be
found at the Chandler-Gilbert Community College’s Pecos Campus, Chandler, Arizona, United States.
Press Release : Desert Passage dexterously fulfills
the dual functions of providing passage from the newly-constructed Ironwood Hall to an adjacent classroom building,
offering protection from the often-harsh environment of the Desert Southwest.
The illuminated, curvilinear passageway meanders through a grove of Ironwood trees. The
Ironwood- which can persist up to 1,500 years and is native only to the Sonoran Desert- provided the name for the
new campus building. It also provided the inspiration for the bridge; a series of graceful arches encircling the
pedestrian path are formed from aluminum that is laser-cut into a pattern replicating the lacy overlay of Ironwood
leaves as one would see them while gazing into overhanging branches. The pattern creates a dynamic play between
foreground and background, light and shade, solid and immaterial, the natural world and constructed milieu. This
dynamism is enhanced by the dramatic change in the bridge between day- when it is enhanced by the dramatic Arizona
sky- and night- when the integral lighting system is illuminated.
Ironwood Hall is a 58,000 square foot, $17.9 million multi-purpose classroom building designed by
Architekton, of Tempe, Arizona, and built by Caliente Construction. Grygutis served as a member of the Project
Team, exploring the opportunities for art and design as integral elements within the structure. Reflecting the
college’s commitment to sustainable construction, the design of the LEED-certified Ironwood Hall embraces
environmental factors and sustainability through the use of solar roof panels, high-efficiency HVAC system,
low-water-use plumbing fixtures and landscaping and much more.
In keeping with this commitment, Grygutis selected low energy consumption lighting systems which
produce extraordinary visual effects by day and night. Natural or introduced light and kinetic illumination are key
elements of Grygutis’ work. Her installations are designed to function as sculptures during the day and as dynamic
light-environments at night.
Acknowledgements: A special thank you to Barbara Grygutis, Kelley Kirkpatrick and Adrienne Lake for providing
information and images for this page.