Keywords Change this


Project timeline

1966 – ?


Culture & Entertainment

Location Change this

Santa Fe

Architect Change this

Paolo Soleri Amphitheater Change this

Santa Fe, USA
by Paolo Soleri Change this
1 of 2

Description Change this

The Paolo Soleri Amphitheater was an amphitheater in Santa Fe, New Mexico which was founded in 1970 and closed in 2010. The structure, which was never finished due to design flaws, was designed by Italian-American architect Paolo Soleri.

The amphitheater was built on the campus of the Santa Fe Indian School in the mid-1960s. The concrete structure was created using Soleri's methods of earth-forming to create a surreal desert-scape. The venue's wing-like organic shapes emerge from a bowl-shaped depression in the high desert floor. Some evidence suggests that Soleri's design was influenced by Native American themes. Seating only about 650, the small theater hosted notable performers including Carlos Santana, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and Leonard Cohen. In later years, theater operations became unprofitable. The venue hosted its last performance, a concert by Lyle Lovett, on July 29, 2010.

As of 2011 the amphitheater is marked for demolition by the Santa Fe Indian School citing maintenance costs of about $100,000 per year and that it is only used twice a year. Because the amphitheater is owned by the nineteen Native American Pueblos of New Mexico, it is not protected by state or local preservation laws. The schedule of the structure's demolition is unknown.


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Posted by Conrad Skinner | Thursday, July 7th, 2016 | 23:14pm
The evidence for American Indian iconography and form in the Paolo Soleri Amphitheater design is indisputable. The client was the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA). Construction began in 1966, with Soleri working with his staff and staff and students of the IAIA in a workshop format. Soleri and the Bureau of Indian Affairs fell out after the season's work and building was completed by BIA contractors. Refer to my website,
Conrad Skinner
Society of Architectural Historians
Posted by Guest | Monday, April 29th, 2013 | 22:44pm
I have warm memories of good times shared in this place. When the Paolo Soleri Amphitheater is demolished, something unique in the world, a venue which helps make Santa Fe the special place it is, will be lost to us forever.

It doesn't require genius to destroy something.

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