Cosanti is the gallery, studio and residence of Italian-American architect Paolo Soleri. Located in Paradise Valley, Arizona, USA and open to the public, Cosanti is marked by terraced landscaping and experimental earth-formed concrete structures.
Soleri is best known for Arcosanti, the prototypical arcological community founded in 1970 in the high desert, about seventy miles north of Phoenix, Arizona; that community still is comparatively remote. Cosanti is where Soleri and his late wife, Colly Soleri, had established their residence in metropolitan Phoenix in 1956, on a site (just a few miles from Taliesin West, where Soleri studied) which has since been surrounded by expensive suburban residences. Cosanti has been designated an Arizona Historic Site.
Paolo Soleri invented the words "Cosanti", "Arcosanti", and "arcology". He coined "arcology" by combining the words "architecture" and "ecology". "Cosanti" fuses two Italian words, "cosa" (which means "things") and "anti" ("against"). "Arcosanti" combines both "arcology" and "Cosanti".
The many structures at Cosanti include the original "Earth House" (which is partially underground), student dormitories, outdoor studios, performance space, a swimming pool, a gift shop, and Soleri's residence. All these are set amidst courtyards, terraces, and garden paths.
The location and orientation of the buildings is important. Many structures have been placed underground level and surrounded by mounds of earth, so as to be insulated naturally for moderation of their interior temperatures the year around. Soleri also designed south-facing apses (partial domes) situated as passive energy collectors, accepting the light and heat of the lower winter sun and creating shade from the higher summer sun. The swimming pool and some other structures have southern exposures to maximize the warmth of the winter sun.
The buildings at Cosanti are not intended to be examples of the concept of arcology, but many of its principles are at work here. Most of these structures were built using the earthcasting method or one of Soleri's variations of that technique. Concrete was poured over pre-shaped earthen molds, and the earth excavated after the concrete solidified. A modified earthcasting technique is also used to craft the bronze and ceramic wind-bells produced at Cosanti and at Arcosanti; the dramatic bronze-casting process can be viewed weekday mornings at both the foundry at Cosanti and that at Arcosanti.