June 21, 2019
The Cosanti Foundation in Scottsdale is a non-profit educational institution focusing on experimental urban design ideas based on Paolo Soleri’s theories. Its main focus is Arcosanti, but it all started with Cosanti.
While most people may not be familiar with the name Paolo Soleri, they are familiar with the Soleri windbells and his many sculptures. Windbells and sculptures are available for sale at both sites, and on the Soleri website and Facebook page. Their Facebook page is a great way to get an overview of the Foundation and Arcosanti.
While you’re in Scottsdale, make sure to visit the Soleri Bridge and Plaza. It’s a pedestrian bridge, solar calendar and gathering spot all in one. Soleri’s design of the bridge and plaza is meant to remind us of our connections to the sun and nature.
History of the Cosanti Foundation
Paolo Soleri was a colorful, internationally known Italian architect who was also an apprentice for Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1955 he began constructing experimental buildings at Cosanti in Paradise Valley. With his team of students and followers, they built structures that reflected Soleri’s innovative construction techniques and ideas, and they continue on today as Arcosanti.
Now an Arizona Historic Site, Cosanti was Soleri’s residence, gallery, and studio. You can take a guided tour of Paolo Soleri’s Studios, and if weather permits watch a foundry pour and see the process of handcrafting the bells. You can wander through Cosanti, listen to the bronze wind bells chiming through the trees and see the start of Soleri’s desert architectural style.
Tours of the studio are available Monday through Friday at 11am. Visit Cosanti at 6433 E. Doubletree Ranch Road in Paradise Valley. Hours are 9am – 5pm Monday through Saturday and 11am – 5pm on Sundays. For more information, contact them at 480-948-6145, or visit their website.
Arcosanti, begun in 1970, physically tests Soleri’s urban planning theories, and today is a world-famous experimental learning center with students coming from around the world to live and work onsite. The Foundation runs workshops here teaching Soleri’s theories, glassblowing, yoga, and ceramics. Arcosanti is living breathing experimental workshop, exploring the concept of “arcology” – a combination of architecture and ecology.
And Arcosanti is also a multi-use performing arts venue. This concrete open-air pavilion stages movies, Shakespeare, jazz and bluegrass, dance and other performances in its unique desert setting.
Arcosanti is open daily from 9am to 5pm for visitors (except on major holidays), and is located at 13555 S. Cross L Road in Mayer, Arizona, just north of the Cosanti Foundation site. Tours are offered hourly from 10am to 4pm daily (except at noon). Visit the Arcosanti website for more information.