Modern Tour: Arizona + New Mexico

BUILD is heading to the south-west and we need your advice. We’ve put together a rough agenda of modern gems not to be missed but this is a part of the globe we’re not particularly familiar with and we could use some pointers. While the natural wonders in this region are spectacular this tour is all about art and architecture. Here’s what we’ve come up with so far, let us know what we need to get on the agenda.

Walter De Maria Lighting Field in Quemado New Mexico
[Photo by Dia Art Foundation]
[Photo courtesy of Dia Art Foundation]

Taliesin West in Scottsdale Arizona by Frank Lloyd Wright

[Photo courtesy of Taliesin West]

Phoenix Central Library in Phoenix Arizona by Will Bruder
1221 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ

[Photos by Timothy Swope]

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Arizona by Will Bruder
7374 East 2nd Str

Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale Arizona, 6850 E. Main Str

National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Socorro New Mexico

Roden Crater in Flagstaff Arizona

Holy Cross Chapel at 780 Chapel Rd Sedona Arizona

Mii Amo Spa & Enchantment Resort in Sedona Arizona by Gluckman Maynar Architects

Meinel Optical Science Research Building by Richärd + Bauer Architecture
University of Arizona Campus in Tuscon Arizona

Stevie Eller Dance Theatre by Gould Evans Associates
University of Arizona Campus in Tuscon Arizona

Citizens Bank of Clovis in New Mexico

Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix Arizona by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1929

First Christian Church Bell Tower in Phoenix Arizona by Frank Lloyd Wright

There is quite a bit of work by architect Rick Joy that we greatly admire however the residences seem rather secluded and private – so we’re not planning on any fly-bys. Let us know if you know of any public work by Rick Joy, restaurants, bars…

Thanks to 2modern for their previous post on “Modern Phoenix” which helped us out with our research.


13 Comments so far
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If you’re heading near Santa Fe I would recommend stopping by the Santa Fe Opera House by Polshek. Whether you catch a performance or not, the structure itself is pretty impressive.

Comment by Nick

Thanks Nick – perfect recommendation, adding it to our list.

Comment by buildllc

I would also consider trying to see Cosanti in Paradise Valley, AZ and/or Arcosanti near Camp Verde, AZ, both by Paolo Soleri. While at Cosanti, inquire about directions to the Dome House in nearby Cave Creek, AZ, which was a groundbreaking design by Soleri built in the late 1940’s.

You might also want to check the Phoenix Museum of Art, as well as the Ariz. State Univ. Museum of Art, designed by Antoine Predock. While at ASU, try to see the Gammage Auditorium by FLW, and you may also try to see some of the work of Al Beadle, an Arizona modernist architect.

Hope that helps. I must say I’m somewhat envious; if you guys get around to see all of this stuff, you are going to have an incredible trip.

Comment by Kevin

The lightning field is amazing and I can’t recommend it more. The experience is really not about lightning at all but more a statement on place and measurement. Not to mention it is just plain beautiful. Just keep in mind that you need to make reservations and they tend to book up fast.

Also, if you can make it a little farther East, the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas is amazing. Donald Judd, the Minimalist artist, moved out there in the 70’s and set up a permanent facility for showing his and his friend’s art. If you like Minimalist Art, you can’t beat the Chinati Foundation.

Finally, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Antoine Predock has just complete the new School of Architecture and Planning for the University of New Mexico. I haven’t been back to New Mexico since it was completed, but it is probably worth a look.

Comment by Arthur McGoey

You guys are 1 step ahead of me – I’m planning a trip for next February. Here is 1 good link – check out the forums. Somebody has posted a map with photos of modern sites down there on Flickr – the link is at home. I’ll forward it later. For now – check here:

Comment by John

Here is the link to the FLICKR photo set for architectural points of interests in and around Phoenix:


Comment by John

I scanned through your itinerary and didn’t see the Degrazia museum in Tucson. Check out

also, just south of tucson is the San xavier mission. Look at

Comment by gordon grindstaff

Wow – incredible spots. We’ll get these on our agenda and I think we’ve got critical mass to crank out a download-able mini-modern list PDF for the south-west. Thanks everybody.

Comment by buildllc

whoa, don’t you guys ever work?!?

Citizens Bank of Clovis reminds me of the work of swiss architect heinz isler.

there are a number of other libraries in and around.

other projects:

desert broom library, richard bauer
mesquite branch public library, richard bauer
quincie douglas library, richard bauer
Palo Verde Library, wendell burnette
cesar chavez, line & space architects
South Mountain Community College Performing Arts Center, jones studio

lost dog trail wash (scottsdale) weddle gilmore

mesa arts center, boora & martha schwartz

phoenix art museum expansion, williams tsein

Comment by mike

Mike – Somehow we still manage to work TOO MUCH. It’s this damn blog that takes up so much time – HA. That Heinz Isler has got blog post written all over him – yet another blog topic you’ve handed us on a silver platter – stay tuned. Libraries are the new cool and the South-West has stepped up to the plate – those baby’s are hot. Thanks for the thorough list.

Comment by Andrew

I grew up in Santa Fe, there is NOOOOOO modern work there (other than the previously mentioned opera house) as the city mostly only allows fake stucco “adobe” anywhere close to the historic city center…however, you must go to “Bandalier” National Park (just outside of Los Alamos, NM)….there you will find one of the most amazing ancient navajo cities…most of the dwellings are carved into cliffs with southern exposure overlooking a lush valley…a lot of the caves have 4 or 5 rooms carved directly into the cliffs….also, I would recommend Taos Pueblo and Chaco Canyon. Might also want to take a trip to White Sands in southern NM.

In Arizona, I would recommend you take a trip to Tucson and see anything that Rob Paulus is doing…He is the architect/developer responsible for “Barrio Metalico” and the “Icehouse Lofts”…also, there is a firm in Tucson called Ibarra Rosano who do some good modern work.

Comment by Nick Williams

[…] info about these projects can be found on our earlier post: Modern Tour: Arizona + New Mexico No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI […]

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the modern tour place are really nice & wonderful.The lightning field is amazing and I can’t recommend it more. The experience is really not about lightning at all but more a statement on place and measurement.

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Comment by jack

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