Zanjeros Line at Highline canal

Project Title: The Zanjero’s Line at Highline canal
Artists: Mags Harries & Lajos Héder, Cambridge, MA
Landscape Architect: Ten Eyck Landscape Architects Inc. Phoenix, AZ
Location: Along the Highline Canal from 40th Street to 12th Street at Circle K Park, Phoenix

The project stretches along 4 miles of the Highline Canal in South Phoenix enhancing a recreational trail used for cycling, walking, and horse riding. The trail curves along the contours at the base of South Mountain. The project includes 8 sites along the trail that form small oasis areas which contain pedestrian bridges, seats, place markers, improved pavement access and planting to provide shade.  The vocabulary of cast iron buckets, planks, and boulders references the canal, water use and the environment of South Mountain. The gate structures at 40th Street, 24th Street and Francisco Highland Park create awareness of this small, otherwise hidden canal. The use of recycled concrete pavement for the gate structures and the areas of pavement underlines the importance of conservation of materials and sustainability. The design team reconfigured an important recreation area at Circle K Park to control water erosion, preserve existing trees supplemented with new planting, design sluiceways into the Canal and seating terraces including a setting for the Bucket Column that punctuates the trail at 12th Street.

The Zanjero’s Line and the connected earlier project, Arbors & Ghost Trees along Baseline Road, were planned and designed by this same artist/landscape architect team to give character to the newly developing South Mountain community and to remember the area’s agricultural past. The name of the project derives from the Zanjero - Spanish for water master – who controlled the flow of water from the canals into the farmers’ fields. Once home to flower and citrus farms, the area has been converted within a very short time into residential neighborhoods. The project encourages residents to use the trail and explore the role of the Highline Canal, which divides the irrigated farms to the north and the dry land toward South Mountain. The artwork accents this difference with the desert planting, the use of buckets, and the design of the bridges with the split boulders on the dry side and the faucets facing the irrigated north.