Discover Arizona’s Unique Design and Architecture
Discover one-of-a-kind design and architecture inspired by Arizona’s stunning landscapes, indigenous cultures and sunny weather. From famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home to mid-century modern hotels, Arizona has a diverse portfolio of world-class architecture. Some can be toured, explored and even overnighted in. Here we take you on a tour of some of our favourites.
Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Lloyd Wright Inspired
Arizona Biltmore: A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Glitz and old Hollywood glamour best describe the design and experiences offered at the Arizona Biltmore: A Waldorf Astoria Resort in Phoenix. The luxurious resort’s design was influenced by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright with its signature block design welcoming and dazzling guests for more than 90 years. Known to have hosted Hollywood icons such as Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe, guests will marvel at the resort’s elaborate decor and stunning Gold Room, with the second-largest gold gilded ceiling in the world. While staying at the Biltmore, discover its rich history by embarking on the Legendary History Tour, where resort historians will unveil the resort’s treasured past throughout the 90-minute walking tour.
Walk inside the winter home of legendary American architect Frank Lloyd Wright when exploring Taliesin West in Scottsdale. When building Taliesin West, Wright continued his tradition of designing his structures to be harmonious with the environment by intentionally giving Taliesin West a low-slug design to resemble the sweeping desert and utilising local materials like desert rocks to create the “desert masonry” home. Witness the craftsmanship of this UNESCO World Heritage site on the guided tour where visitors can ask their guide questions about the history of Taliesin West and visit private living spaces only available to those on this tour. For those who like to explore at their own pace, the 60-minute audio tour takes visitors around the property including fan-favourite rooms such as the Drafting studio and the Garden Room.
An experimental town in central Arizona, Arcosanti, is known to be an early example of sustainable architecture that utilises progressive urban planning concepts. Arcosanti is a prototype of arcology, designing architecture with respect to ecology, that was designed by the late Italian-born designer Paolo Soleri in the 1970s to combat urban sprawl and has been continuously built with the help of volunteers for more than 50 years. Explore Arcosanti while on its architecture tour led by Tomiaki Tamura, an assistant to Paolo Soleri who has witnessed Arcosanti’s construction to learn the innovative techniques utilised to create Arcosanti or sign up for a hands-on workshop to help The Cosanti Foundation continue to expand the town. For an enhanced experience stay overnight inside the arcology and enjoy its guestroom, pool and hiking trails.
Walk through five completely different environments without ever leaving the building when visiting Biosphere 2, the world’s largest controlled environment dedicated to understanding the impacts of climate change through advanced research. Visitors will feel like they are in a sci-fi film when exploring Biosphere 2, a University of Arizona research facility located near Tucson that has a glass structure and several glass domes. Discover the research being conducted through the Biosphere 2 Experience, App Guided Audio Tour, a 75-minute tour through the Biosphere that informs visitors of the current research initiatives occurring within different environments like the rainforest, ocean and arid desert scrub ecosystems.
Places of Worship
San Xavier del Bac Mission
An iconic symbol of Tucson, San Xavier del Bac Mission stuns visitors with its white-washed exterior glistening against the vast desert landscape. This Spanish-style mission was built by the American Indian tribe, the Tohono O’odham Nation in the 1780s, and has approximately 200,000 visitors every year. Known as the “White Dove of the Desert”, visitors can witness the colourful murals that adorn the mission’s interior walls while attending weekly mass or while on a tour. As the oldest intact European structure in Arizona, tour guides have many stories about the mission withstanding time for guests to enjoy and native crafts and food available nearby for guests to experience on the weekends.
Chapel of the Holy Cross
Located 2,000 feet above the town of Sedona, the Chapel of the Holy Cross is an iconic chapel that sits atop Sedona’s breathtaking red rocks. Widely considered one the biggest attractions within Sedona, the chapel was inspired by local sculptor Marguerite Staude and built by August Strotz and Richard Hein in 1956. At the chapel visitors can soak in stunning views of Sedona from outside and within thanks to the chapel’s glass wall. Along with offering stunning views, the chapel is a spiritual place where guests can pray, observe the artwork, light a candle for a loved one, or attend weekly mass. While at the chapel, guests should visit the gift shop and pose in front of the red rocks in the morning for social media-worthy pictures.