The Cosanti Foundation

Since the late 1960s, The Cosanti Foundation has been dedicated to influencing the way the built world is created in balance with the natural world. Focused on founder Paolo Soleri’s groundbreaking concept of "arcology" (a blend of architecture and ecology), The Cosanti Foundation strives to advance its fundamental principles in the field of architecture and environmental stewardship today. Overseen by a dynamic Board of Directors, The Cosanti Foundation makes connections to scholars, architects, and environmentalists with its message and mission.

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Soleri’s Impact in Arizona

Soleri in the Valley: A Self-Guided Itinerary

Theoretic architect Paolo Soleri was a pioneer of mid-20th century architecture. Revolutionary in his own time and belatedly appreciated in ours, Soleri was influential in shaping how architects view the relationship between built spaces and the environment.

He is best known for Arcosanti, his ambitious experimental community midway between Phoenix and Sedona. Still inhabited today, Arcosanti was intended to be an experiment in ‘arcology,’ Soleri’s philosophy of creating balance between the built and natural environments for the benefit of people and the planet. However, here in the Valley, art aficionados and architecture admirers will find several examples of Soleri’s work to appreciate.

Cosanti

6433 E. Doubletree Ranch Rd Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

On the Arizona Registry of Historic Places, Cosanti has the largest concentration of Soleri’s early experiments in architecture. Built between the mid-1950s to the late 1960s with the help of volunteer apprentices, Cosanti was Soleri’s residence, studio, and testing ground for his vision of architecture built according to his arcology philosophy. It is also the home of Cosanti Originals, makers of the widely collected artisan-crafted bronze and ceramic windbells first introduced by Soleri in the 1950s.

Solstice Park - Soleri Plaza and Bridge

4420 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Built at the waterfront in Old Town Scottsdale in what is now called Solstice Park, a sleek futuristic bridge, the Goldwater Bell, and a primitive-looking grouping of carved concrete monoliths represent Soleri’s stylistic diversity. Envisioned as more than a way of connecting one side of the canal to the other, the gleaming stainless-steel bridge is positioned like a sundial to synchronize with the sun on the summer and winter solstices. At either endpoint of the bridge are semi-circular areas where large cast concrete slabs are positioned on end, as if standing sentry.

Neiman Marcus Department Store

6900 E Camelback Rd Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Perhaps one of the most recognizable, large, and beautiful sculptural bell mobiles designed and cast by Soleri is the massive cornucopia-shaped bronze piece displayed above Neiman Marcus’s escalator along its Camelback Road glass-fronted façade.

Sky Harbor Airport - International Terminal

3400 E Sky Harbor Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85034

Above the escalator in Sky Harbor Airport’s international terminal is a dramatic and large patinaed bronze sculptural bell mobile designed and cast by Soleri.

The Mayo Clinic

13737 N. 92nd St., Scottsdale, AZ 85259

Outside the main entrance of The Mayo Clinic is a large patinaed sculptural bell mobile designed and cast by Soleri. Commissioned by the renowned hospital, the piece incorporates three shield-shaped pieces as a reference to The Mayo Clinic’s logo of the three shields representing research, education, and clinical practice.

Phoenix Public Library - Burton Barr Central Branch

1221 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Upon entering the Arizona Room on the second floor of the Burton Barr Central Branch of the Phoenix Library System, an impressive collection of burnished bronze Cosanti Originals Windbells is prominently displayed.

The Arizona Biltmore - Frank and Albert's Restaurant

2400 East Missouri Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85016

On the first floor of this Waldorf-Astoria hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and consulting architect Albert Chase McArthur is Frank and Albert’s Restaurant. Several Cosanti Originals Windbells are used in the restaurant’s décor throughout the space.

Phoenix Art Museum

1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

A large sculpture of a woman suspended in a cube, as if floating through it, is permanently installed opposite the main entrance of the Phoenix Art Museum. Entitled “Il Donnone” (The Big Woman), the piece was constructed in 1972 of treated cor-ten steel to accelerate oxidation, resulting in a rusted effect.

Glendale Community College

6000 W Olive Ave, Glendale, AZ 85302

The Soleri Amphitheatre, near the northwest corner of the campus, is emblematic of Soleri’s style in the mid to late 1970s and resembles the cast concrete structures at Arcosanti. It is shaped like an apse, one of Soleri’s favorite architectural constructs.

Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort

5700 E McDonald Dr, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

At the entrance of the Sanctuary Resort and Spa in Scottsdale is an impressive and large bronze Sculptural Bell Mobile designed by Paolo Soleri to artfully welcome guests.

Dome House

Privately-owned residence in Cave Creek, AZ

In 1949, Soleri was commissioned along with fellow architect Mark Mills to build this home in the desert for a client who wanted to relocate from the East. The client became Soleri’s mother-in-law as Soleri met his wife, Colly, while building the unusual structure. Looking almost like a flying saucer, and with many references to Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural style, the small Dome House is so named for its domed roof. Inside, its primitive-meets-futuristic features make the space feel at once cozy and expansive.

Deconcini House

Privately-owned residence in Phoenix, AZ

One of only three homes Soleri ever built (the other two are Earth House at Cosanti in Paradise Valley, Arizona and Dome House in Cave Creek, Arizona), the house was built between 1978 and 1982 for then-attorney general Dino DeConcini. A collector and admirer of Soleri’s work, DeConcini commissioned a reluctant Soleri to design and build his home. Admirers of Soleri’s work, particularly Arcosanti’s structures and amphitheaters in Santa Fe, NM and Glendale, AZ, will recognize familiar design motifs in the home. Elements like the distinctive mailbox or entranceways shaped with the initial “P” for Paolo appear in this residence.