We moved into Vi at Silverstone more than six years ago. And, since that time, I have completed a daily walk of three laps around what I call the “Sprout’s block.‟ My route takes me from Vi up 74th Street, a left turn on Pinnacle Peak, another left on Scottsdale Road and finally a left on Silverstone Drive.
I’ve measured it in my vehicle as well as on my phone and the distance is 1.3 miles per lap or virtually 4 miles for the three laps when you consider the walk out of the main lodge and the walk back in.
I am a “trained observer,‟ having been employed for 20 years as a police officer. I just don’t meander around the block without paying attention to my surroundings. So, I have noticed the construction of the bridge over the wash as I near the intersection of Scottsdale Road and Silverstone Drive. But, I always walk counter-clockwise, thus I have never turned around and looked at what I now recognize as an “architectural marvel‟ right here in our neighborhood.
Above, you will see a photo of the bridge as I see it on a daily basis. It looks unique, but I never stopped to think what it symbolizes.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I happened to hear a noise from Scottsdale Road as I walked eastbound on Silverstone Drive. Quite frankly, it sounded like a gunshot. A few years ago, I would have reacted by diving face first to the ground. That’s how I was trained when you hear a gun shot.
But, I’ve since realized while I still can “dive to the deck,‟ I may not be able to get up without assistance. So, I just turned around so as to attempt to locate the source of the noise. Lo and behold, the bridge took on a very new and special dimension. Thus, having the curious mind that I have, I wanted to find out more about it. By the way, the sound was a car backfiring.
I noticed a plaque on the wall near the south end of the bridge. It reads:
“merge conceptual design
Franka Diehnelt and Claudia Reisenberger
Re currents, 2014
Rolled and twisted painted steel
Water is a life-giving element. While scarce in the Sonoran Desert, it has shaped the land over millions of years. Rawhide Wash is a major desert wash, or dry creek, that temporarily fills after enough rain. During rare but intense flash floods, the wash becomes a major tributary feeding the Salt River, but these flooding events rendered Scottsdale Road impassable. With the construction of this bridge over Rawhide Wash, the issue of flooding becomes a fading memory.
‘re currents’ recalls the memory of water—and the powerful impact it has on the desert. Five metal ribbons arch across the walkway, an echo of rapid flooding, and the power of water.
Commissioned by Scottsdale Public Art for the City of Scottsdale, 2014
I had just learned the name, the “Rawhide Wash Bridge,‟ obviously named after the “Rawhide‟ that used to occupy the property. It was constructed and completed by Hunter Contracting Co. in 2014. Work included utility relocations of sewer, water and other privately-owned dry utilities from 450 feet north of Pinnacle Peak Road to Adobe Drive to accommodate the bridge structure.
Maybe you have noticed the beauty of this bridge, but if not, take some time to study it from different angles. After noticing the different perspectives, I have a much greater appreciation for this neighborhood marvel.
The second “architectural marvel‟ is the Appaloosa Library located on Silverstone Drive.
I did some research on the internet and found the following description of the library’s design theme. “It celebrates the environment in a protected desert setting. Building finishes play with light like a mirage in North Scottsdale‟s upper Sonoran Desert. The 21,500-square-foot library concentrates its interior drama in a single large reading room that is 70 feet wide and 130 feet long.”
Designed in collaboration by DWL Architects Planners, and Douglas Sydnor Architect, the library is a LEED® Gold certified structure incorporating salvaged and natural materials. The main chamber receives ample natural light with views of the surrounding environment, the mountains and the Sonoran Desert.
And finally, I would be remiss for not including our own home in the Main Lodge right here at the Vi. It was designed by Davis architects. It is a four story 467,857-square-foot building with 203 units. The Care Center is a separate two story 57,194-square-foot structure with 60 units. Of course, there are also 67 villas located on the property.
The Main Lodge is designed as an Italian Palazzo (palace) and I still recall the first day we drove into the entrance to meet with a sales representative. I remember saying, “I would be proud to live here.” And, I still am.
Editor's note: Bill Brown is a resident of the Vi at Silverstone, and wrote this for a newsletter he publishes for his fellow residents.