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Airpark Architecture Aces

By Niki D’Andrea

Six must-see structures in Scottsdale

APS Environmental Showcase Home

Architect: Jones Studio (

Architecture firm Jones Studio won a statewide competition to design this showcase home for Arizona Public Service (APS). Built in 1994 at a cost of $1 million, the 2,640-square-foot house features environmentally sustainable features and innovative energy technology including solar power and water harvesting for reuse in the landscaping and native riparian pond garden. The home has garnered a slew of accolades including three awards from the American Institute of Architects and has been featured in a plethora of publications including National Geographic and Popular Science. APS donated the home to the ASU Foundation, which gave tours of the property, before it was sold to a private owner. A church currently owns the property and uses it as an events and meetings space.

15247 N. 60th Street, Scottsdale

Arabian Library

Architect: Richard+Bauer (

A visual homage to Monument Valley and the desert slot canyons of Northern Arizona, Arabian Library was completed in 2007 on a budget of $4.6 million. The 20,875-square-foot building utilizes locally sourced materials – including regional granite, pre-rusted steel from Phoenix and recycled cotton from Chandler – to recreate a desert aesthetic, which is boosted by the structure’s earthen and stone roof, textures reminiscent of native grasses and stones, terra cotta walls and sunny centralized courtyard. The LEED-certified building won the 2008 International Interior Design Association/Metropolis Smart Environments Award.

10215 E. McDowell Mountain Ranch Road Scottsdale,

Byrne Residence

Architect: Will Bruder Architects (

Will Bruder Architects describes this house on its website as “an organic architectural statement.” The 3,143-square foot residence’s angular geometry aligns with the asymmetrical canyon surrounds, and takes rustic tones from tilted concrete corbels, raked mortar joints, metal-clad frame walls finished with a blue-black patina on copper, unfinished concrete floors, fascia elements and large window walls. Originally built in 1998 for Bill and Carol Byrne, the house is now owned by David and Martha Bills and has undergone additional renovations and upgrades.

8915 E. Jack Neville Drive Scottsdale,


Architect: Paolo Soleri (

Paolo Soleri is best known for Arcosanti, his “urban laboratory” located about 70 miles north of Phoenix, but Cosanti was the architect’s gallery, studio and home until his death in 2013. Established in 1956, Cosanti has an ecological aesthetic boosted by its earth-formed concrete structures, partial domes, terraced landscaping and artistic wind bells. Many structures are placed below ground level to provide natural insulation and cooling year-round. The property includes a swimming pool which faces south to maximize its exposure to the sun. The site has been designated an Arizona Historic Site.

6433 E. Doubletree Ranch Road Scottsdale,

Gateway to the McDowell-Sonoran Preserve

Architect: Weddle Gilmore, Black Rock Studio (

The design of the gateway to the 36,400-acre McDowell-Sonoran Preserve speaks to sustainability and creates a seamless visual flow through the desert. The 6,033-square-foot structure, completed in 2009, was designed to integrate with the natural drainage patterns of the site, and the building’s roof, covered in native desert rock cobble, is inconspicuous when viewed from any vantage point above. The project expertly combines architecture and preservation – volunteers worked with the construction team to salvage and replant more than 1,500 cacti; rainwater harvesting and water-efficient plumbing help conserve resources; and parking lots were constructed with stabilized decomposed granite paving to minimize drainage runoff. An 18-kilowatt solar system produces as much electricity as the Gateway consumes, producing net zero energy consumption and helping the structure to achieve platinum LEED certification.

18333 N. Thompson Peak Parkway Scottsdale,

Taliesin West

Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright

Indisputably one of the most important architectural sites in Arizona, Taliesin West was Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and school from 1937 until his death in 1959. The main structure on the 620-acre property is constructed with walls made from desert rocks stacked within wood forms and filled with concrete. Many of Wright’s most famous buildings were designed in the draft room at Taliesin West, including the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Natural light pours in throughout the property, which was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1982.

12621 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard Scottsdale,