Arcosanti, Mayer Arizona.
July 21st, 2007
In 1970, the Cosanti Foundation began building Arcosanti, an experimental town in the high desert of Arizona, 70 miles north of metropolitan Phoenix. Demonstrating ways to improve urban conditions and lessen our destructive impact on the earth, its large, compact structures and large-scale solar greenhouses will occupy only 25 acres of a 4060 acre land preserve, keeping the natural countryside in close proximity to urban dwellers.
Arcosanti is designed according to the concept of arcology (architecture + ecology), developed by Italian architect Paolo Soleri. In an arcology, the built and the living interact as organs would in a highly evolved being. This means many systems work together, with efficient circulation of people and resources, multi-use buildings, and solar orientation for lighting, heating and cooling.
In this complex, creative environment, apartments, businesses, production, technology, open space, studios, and educational and cultural events are all accessible, while privacy is paramount in the overall design. Greenhouses provide gardening space for public and private use, and act as solar collectors for winter heat.
Arcosanti is an educational process. The four-week workshop program teaches building techniques and arcological philosophy, while continuing the city's construction. Volunteers and students come from around the world. Many are design students, and some receive university credit for the workshop. But a design or architecture background is not necessary. People of many varied interests and backgrounds are all contributing their valuable time and skills to the project. Week-long silt sculpture workshops and Elderhostel programs offer other ways to be involved. At the present stage of construction, Arcosanti consists of various mixed-use buildings and public spaces constructed by 5000 past Workshop participants.
The residents of Arcosanti are workshop alumni, who work on planning, construction, teaching, computer aided drafting, maintenance, cooking, carpentry, metal work, ceramics, gardening and communications. They produce the world-famous Soleri Bells, as well as hosting 50,000 tourists each year in a Gallery, Bakery, and Cafe open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. Guided tours introduce visitors to the philosophy , history, planning and ongoing construction of the site.
Entering the site. Not much else around.
A long and winding 3 miles dirt road.
There it is, I think.
Our guest lodging. Pretty basic and no AC but the heat of the Arizona summer has started to
cool down. It was only ~98 this weekend.
Our view of the Agua Fria basin. It contained no agua and if it did, it would certainly not be fria.
Maybe seca calliente would be a better name.
Yikes! The only other visitor in our complex found this scorpian in her room.
Welcome to Acrosanti, enjoy your stay!
Great view, goofy guy.
Let the photofest begin! Notice the unpacking hasnt even begun.
Again, very basic room but artistic touches were sprinkled throughout.
Still not unpacked.. probobly shoot more pictures.
A storm joins the scorpian as a welcoming commitee.
Pam enjoying the sunset, lightning and cool air.
Taking a picture of Pam taking pictures. There gonna be a lot of that over the next few days.
Heading up to the main entrance to the complex.
A little artistic homage to our little residence guest.
At the entrance to the guest center
In the main building. The top floor was the artissan gift shop, guest check-in, and walking tour gathering area.
One floor down was the cool little coffee shop and the bottom floor was the restaraunt.
The Arcosanti "Solei Wind Bells". Not cheap but these handmade one of a kind bronze bells
paid for the bulk of the complex's construction. The bells is hand cast into a sand mold,
with little artistic variations making each one unique in design and sound that gets
The meals were pretty good at the restaraunt. "Granola" was definitely strongly felt - two of the breakfast condiments
were (seriously) "hemp" and "active yeast". What the $^#! do you sprinkle active yeast on?
A shot from the bottom floor
Our cool tour guide from Milan
This is the concept model of the entire complex. Each of these complexes is called an "Arcology" - a
self sustained mini city that minimizes the need for wastful "urban sprawl" and
the need for daily car use. One of the big pushes is to bring back the rapid decline of the
connected comunity feel..
One of the original underground studio residences. All designed around solar and water
efficiency and resuse. Several families have lived there since the 70's!
The back side of one of the lab areas.
This section is cool but the photo doesnt do it justice. The arc house that row of lights and
the stage is for performers of some type. Anyway the lights cast the shadows of the
performers on a sheer rock hillside not visible in this pic.
A quarter dome area that is used for part of the bronze foundry.
I have no criminal record and I'm married so that weighed in my decision not
to strangle this obnixious kid.
A cool structure made from oxidized steel stock. You might all it rusted metal junk.
A view of the juncture of two complexes.
Pam checking out the sites.
The main archway with a studio in the background
The archway with a studios behind the little round windows.
This ampitheater had a really cool design. Straight down the center of the aisles were tracks
to allow water from a small pond to trickle down the channel between teh steps. The water
ends up in a semi-circle moat that adds to the cooling of the pavillion.
More blown glass and ceramic wind chimes.
The shaded foundry pour area. The pine trees are native to the area and concrete was formed around
each of the trees!
These are the rough pours from the silt casting process. Most of these will be remelted and formed back into
ingots for future use. Note : I tried to buy one of these malformed pours but they would not
sell me one.
One of the semi-submerged dwellings
Checking out the ceramics studio.
The ever present ongoing construction.
Most of the complex's roof area acts as a catch basin. Water flow from the roof, through the U channel concrete
forms and down to the moss covered cisterns and through a natural filtration bed. Cool.
The "Y" shaped concrete finger jutting out have two maroon peices of sheet steel sticking out
of them. These will be used to suspend a complex tensioned awning array.
More awning stantions pertruding from some of the residencies.
This long bean will one of themain anchor points for the awning structure.
An outside view of the main building. Our group concludes its tour in the restaraunt.
Yikes! What a vibrant Arcosanti ambassador to send us off int style. We saw this dude
litteraly on our walk back to pack up. Pam shoots and instructed me not to move..
..luggage gets heavy.