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Arizona Architecture from the Archives: Albert Chase McArthur

Highlights from the Design and the Arts Library Archives and Special Collections

Albert Chase McArthur

About Albert Chase McArthur

Educated at the Armour Institute of Technology (later the Illinois Institute of Technology) and Harvard University, Albert Chase McArthur studied with famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright between 1907 and 1909. McArthur continued his education in Austria and Italy, opening an architectural firm in Chicago with partner Arthur S. Coffin in 1912. McArthur moved his practice to Phoenix in 1925 and finally to Hollywood, California in 1932. While in Phoenix, McArthur designed the famous Arizona Biltmore Hotel. McArthur used textile block-slab construction to conform to the surrounding desert environment, softened with perforated design blocks to let in natural light. The Biltmore design illustrates McArthur's preference to let construction materials themselves suggest appropriate design motifs.

Albert Chase McArthur Collection-Design and the Arts Library Archives and Special Collections

The Alber Chase McArthur Collection consists of oversize drawings, textual records and photographs mostly related to the Arizona Biltmore.  Included are floor plans, sections, elevations, and details. Textual records within the collections include correspondence, specifications, legal documents, printed matter, and color theory calculations. Most prominent among the photographs are approximately two hundred construction photos of the Biltmore project from late 1928.

The finding aid for the collection can be viewed at:

Albert Chase McArthur Collection finding aid

Additionally, within the ASU Special Materials Index one can search the Design and the Arts Library Special Collections to view 174 digital images from this archive.


Selected Print Resources

Breeze, Carla. Pueblo Deco. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1990.
NA 712.5 .A7 B7 1990, Design Stacks

Hoyt, Charles King. More Places for People. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1983.
NA 2543 .R43 M6 1983, Design Stacks 

LeBlanc, Sydney, and Whitney Library of Design. 20th Century American Architecture: 200 Key Buildings. New York, N.Y.: Whitney Library of Design, 1993.
NA 712 .L4 1993, Design Stacks and Design Reference 

Miles, Candice St Jacques, and Arizona Biltmore. Arizona Biltmore: Jewel of the Desert. Phoenix, Ariz.: Arizona Biltmore, 1985.
TX 941. A7 M5x, Design Stacks and Design Special Collections 

Miles, Candice St Jacques, and Arizona Biltmore. Biltmore’s New Opus Flourishes Familiar Brilliance. Phoenix, Ariz.: Taliesin Associated Architects, 1982.
TX 941 .A7 M52xDesign Stacks and Design Special Collections 

Selected Journal Resources

"Arizona Biltmore Hotel, Phoenix, Arizona." Architectural Forum 51 (1929): 655-9.

"The Arizona, Biltmore Hotel, Phoenix, Arizona." Architectural Record 66 (1929): 19-55.

Fisher, Howard T., 1903-1979. "New Elements in House Design." Architectural Record 66 (1929): 396-484.

McArthur, Warren. "The Arizona Biltmore, the McArthur Brothers, and Frank Lloyd Wright." Triglyph. 6 (1988): 36-47.

Mirel, Diana. "Jewel of the Desert." Journal of Property Management 74.2 (2009): 18-9. 

Note: Online full-text access points available to current ASU affiliates. 

Archive Specialist Contact Info

Harold Housley
Archive Specialist
Design and the Arts Library
(480) 965-6370

Hours and Locations