Soleri in Cave Creek: The Dome

The Museum is pleased and proud to host an exclusive exhibit featuring the work of internationally acclaimed architect Paolo Soleri. The exhibit features a local Soleri creation called The Dome. We invite you to visit the Museum to experience this one of a kind exhibit. Soleri in Cave Creek: The Dome runs though May 2014.

Here is some background information to prep you for your visit.

IMG_1474In 1948, Paolo Soleri was studying architecture under Frank L. Wright at Taliesin West. While there he filled notebooks with his inspirations which included domes. After leaving Taliesin he created the “Arizonians” which were “different sizes and shapes of domes for habitation.” An acquaintance of Soleri’s, Mrs. Nora Woods, had purchased 5 acres in the remote town of Cave Creek.  Mrs. Woods stated that she “wanted something that she could look at the sky from.” Soleri altered one of the “Arizonians” to meet Mrs. Wood’s desires. For her part. she agreed to buy the necessary tools ($300,000) and to provide meals to Soleri and his collegue Mark Millis both of whom lived on site during construction which began in 1949.

The dome is situated on a northwest-facing slope that drops into an arroyo with views to Elephant Mountain. What emerges from the slope is a glass dome on a stone base. The interior is cave-like with sky-like qualities – a magical asymmetry of contrast. The walls are made of desert concrete, a technique developed by Wright at Taliesin and which Soleri and Mills had experience with. The dome, made of the same material, features a slot skylight that tapers down to form a slot window looking out towards Elephant Mountain.

The dome is composed of two halves capable of rotating so that it could be fully closed or half open. The dome featured two innovations to help with heating and cooling. To augment heat absorption, water was sprayed onto the dome. To help with cooling, a circular copper water tube ran around the base of the dome was sprayed with water.

The Dome was completed in the summer of 1950. It was featured in Architectural Forum in June 1951. Mrs. Woods lived in the Dome until 1984.

Click on the following links for more information.




Open October through May:
Wed., 1:00 to 4:30pm, Thurs., 1:00 to 4:30 pm, Fri., 10:00am to 4:30pm
Sat., 1:00 to 4:30pm, Sun., 1:00 to 4:30pm
Corner of Basin and Skyline off Cave Creek Rd (Map)