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Cosanti, Scottsdale

4.3
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Art Gallery · Hidden Gem · Gift & Specialty Shop
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Cosanti is the gallery and studio of Italian-American architect Paolo Soleri; it was his residence until his death in 2013. Located in Paradise Valley, Arizona, USA, it is now an Arizona Historic Site open to the public. Cosanti is marked by terraced landscaping, experimental earth-formed concrete structures, and sculptural wind-bells.
Soleri and his wife Colly established their residence there in 1956 on a five-acre site just a few miles from Taliesin West, where Soleri had studied under Frank Lloyd Wright ten years earlier. Built on the outskirts of Scottsdale, it is now surrounded by a wealthy suburban neighborhood. In Italian, the name Cosanti "is a combination of the words for 'object' and 'before,' and it means, 'There are things more important than objects.'"
In 1970, Soleri outgrew the site. He had coined "arcology" by combining architecture and ecology; then, combining "arcology" with "Cosanti", he founded Arcosanti, an "urban laboratory" in the desert seventy miles north, for which he became famous. As students and the frontier of development moved there, Cosanti became the headquarters and namesake of Soleri's foundation.
The structures at Cosanti include the original "Earth House", a student dormitory, outdoor studios, performance space, a swimming pool, gift shop, and Soleri's residence. All are set amidst courtyards, terraces and garden paths.

Many structures are partly underground and surrounded by mounds of earth for insulation, moderating their interior temperatures year-round. Soleri designed and built south-facing apses (partial domes) as passive energy collectors that collect light and heat in the lower winter sun, deflecting it and creating shade in the higher summer sun. The swimming pool and several other structures have southern exposures to maximize the warmth of the winter sun.

Cosanti predates the concept of arcology, but many principles of arcology were first implemented at Cosanti. Most of the structures were built with variations on earthcasting. Concrete was poured over mounds of densely packed earth; the earth was excavated after the concrete solidified. A modified earthcasting technique is also used to craft the bronze and ceramic wind-bells produced at Cosanti and Arcosanti on weekday mornings.
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Cosanti reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
392 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Fascinating place! Our guide, Tony was very knowledgeable. We went because of Trip Advisor reviews and it was well worth it! Really should be listed under “Tours” even more so than “Shopping” (in... 
    Fascinating place! Our guide, Tony was very knowledgeable. We went because of Trip Advisor reviews and it was well worth it! Really should be listed under “Tours” even more so than “Shopping” (in...  more »
  • Very friendly staff. They knew their products and were helpful. Bells and wind chimes are hand made on site. You can watch the forge where they are poured into molds. We missed the tour of the... 
    Very friendly staff. They knew their products and were helpful. Bells and wind chimes are hand made on site. You can watch the forge where they are poured into molds. We missed the tour of the...  more »
Google
  • Attention All Hippies...Have I got a place for you. Nothing says Arizona like Cosanti Bells. I've been to and purchased many bronze bells for myself and gifts. They are beautifully crafted, sound and look beautiful. The studio/gallery/grounds are so cool. Tours are available and years ago, during a visit, I watched the bells being poured and formed. The staff is great! I want to have them over for drinks. Definitely worth a visit and purchase.
  • Upon landing in Phoenix recently, we were greeted by friends of ours from way back who now live near the Cosanti studio; they had a wonderful wind chime for us to remember our trip by. Imagine their surprise when I told them I was familiar with Cosanti bells. We later stopped by the studio before heading to Sedona and beyond. Unfortunately, our timing was off, so we were unable to watch them pouring bronze bells (go in the morning if you want to watch them making bells); but the staff was very happy to talk to us and answer any/all questions we had. Tours are offered free; donations are encouraged. One of the first things we did upon returning home was to order a Cosanti wall bracket for our bell. They shipped it immediately - we had it within three days, clear across the country. And, our wind chime now hangs on our back deck - reminding us of our wonderful trip to the desert southwest and the incredible National Parks just north of Phoenix. By the way, who has a gift for guests coming into town? Very thoughtful friends, that's who! And, we absolutely LOVE our Cosanti bell.

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