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Save Solari Chapel: A Call for Preservation


The potential dismantling of the Soleri Chapel at the University of Arizona in Tucson sparked significant community outcry and concerns in the fall of 2023. This architectural masterpiece, designed by Paolo Soleri in 1986 as a memorial for his wife, is a cherished local landmark. However, the University's decision to relocate some of the artwork without consulting the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office raised legal and preservation issues, as it violated Arizona preservation laws.

The Arizona Preservation Foundation supported the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation's community outreach efforts to raise awareness and advocate for the protection of the Chapel. In addition, both organizations teamed up to pursue legal action with the assistance of the law firm of Zwillinger Wulkan to research the legal challenge in saving the Chapel. This involved exploring options to establish legal standing under the National Historic Preservation Act and ensuring compliance with Arizona's preservation laws.

On January 12, 2024, through collective advocacy and legal involvement, the University of Arizona announced an indefinite pause on the project, acknowledging community concerns and committing to collaborate with preservationists to determine the best course of action for the Chapel's future. Ongoing efforts by preservation advocates will continue to monitor the situation and advocate for the preservation of this significant historical asset.


  • APF Letter, "Urgent Preservation of the University of Arizona Cancer Center Chapel," (10-14-23)

  • APF & THPF Press Release, “Arizona Cancer Center Chapel, a Masterpiece by Architect Paolo Soleri, Named One of Arizona's Most Endangered Historic Places," (12-11-23)

  • Zwillinger Wulkan Letter, "The University of Arizona’s Continuing Preservation Obligations," (3-15-24)

  • Zwillinger Wulkan White Paper, "Standing to Enforce Preservation Under Arizona Law: A Reference Guide for Preservation Organizations," (6-22-24)

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