Indian Bend Wash, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA, 2010
Water Mark is a comprehensive artwork for a 5-acre site in Scottsdale’s Indian Bend Wash. A concrete drop structure facilitates the flow of floodwater from a golf course under a new roadway bridge and into a basin that controls the water’s progression into a natural mesquite grove and greenbelt that ultimately reaches the Salt River.
The art gives distinct forms to the engineering elements, bringing them alive during dramatic flood events. The drop structure is crowned with five 14’- high faceted aluminum horse gargoyles that recall the site’s historic Arabian horse ranch. During floods water flows around and through them.
Earthwork art characterizes the basin on the opposite side of the bridge. Concrete walls mark changing water heights with red tile lines and square notches and protrusions at one-foot increments. The architectural stadia walls transition into more naturalistic mortared stone berms that house and armor plants, protecting them from rushing floodwater. Their highest and widest points, at the ends, appear as islands during extra high floods.
The bridge facades pick up on the aesthetic of the stadia walls and gargoyle plinths. Dark charcoal concrete is patterned with red tile patterns inspired by historic stadia markers used for surveying and measuring.
Haddad|Drugan collaborated closely with the city’s design/build team, including URS (engineers), J2 (landscape architects), Hunter Contracting (contractors), and representatives from the city and Scottsdale Public Art, to create Water Mark. CWDC Inc. built the horse gargoyle sculptures based on maquettes by Haddad|Drugan.
Water Mark received a Valley Forward Association Environmental Excellence Merit Award.