Client: City of Tucson, Regional Transit Authority of Tucson, AZ

Location: Tucson, AZ, United States

Completion date: 2015

Project Team


Barbara Grygutis

Barbara Grygutis Sculpture LLC


Regional Transit Authority of Tucson, Arizona


City of Tucson

Industry Resource

M3 Engineering & Technology Corp.

Landscape Architect

McGann & Associates


“Sonoran Passage” creates an iconic sculptural gateway to the city center at the 22nd Street and Kino Boulevard interchange in Tucson, Arizona. Distinctive structural forms from the flora of the Sonoran Desert provided Barbara Grygutis a visual vocabulary for the project. The columnar ribbed form of the Saguaro Cactus inspired the semi-transparent aluminum sculptures that penetrate and visually anchor the center of the bridge, rising from ground level to forty feet. The artist designed the bridge’s sculptural support pillars to carry the aesthetic throughout the bridge.


The goal was to turn the bridge into a work of art that offers commuters a cohesive aesthetic experience at every level and angle, and at various speeds. A moiré effect engages commuters as they pass during the day. In the evening, the columnar forms are illuminated. Grygutis applied her thematic Saguaro rib inspired vision to the illuminated metal sculptural columns, concrete bridge columns, and the coordinating bridge railing and column finials. The overall sage green concrete of the interchange bridge also adds to the vibrancy of this subtly themed Sonoran Desert gateway.


It was necessary to work with a wide variety of local industry professionals including engineers Structural Grace and M3 Engineering & Technology Corp., fabricators CAID Industries, landscape architects McGann & Associates, the Regional Transportation Authority and City of Tucson, as well as a multitude of stakeholders including the local community to successfully implement this long-term, intensive project. Grygutis worked closely with the design team, considering not only the aesthetic impact of the artwork, but also the plethora of concerns inherent to large-scale transportation infrastructure projects. Notably, the lighting used in the project also adheres to Tucson's local 'Dark Skies' initiatives which require lighting to follow minimal light pollution standards.

Additional Information

Aluminum, concrete, light; 40’H x 100’ L x 60’D