Arcosanti, Meyer, Arizona
my research and reading about Frank Lloyd Wright, I can’t help but be
fascinated by the experiences of the people around him.
I love reading the books and articles written by his apprentices and
family members. I think that is why
I enjoyed the Ken Burns documentary so much.
This interest has lead me to look closely at some of the things his
apprentices have done after his passing. One
of the best places to make such a discovery is called Arcosanti.
The main building houses the cafe, bakery, book store and ceramics kilns.. as well as some living space.
is the brainchild of architect Paolo Soleri, a former apprentice of Frank Lloyd
Wright. It was designed to address
the continued problems of urban sprawl and dependency on cars.
In its final stage, its 3 dimensional structures are designed to house
7000 people in a pedestrian based town built on about 24 acres of desert land
north of Phoenix. The land is quite unforgiving, but has access to an
underground river for water and there is some topsoil in the valley below.
The swimming pool and the valley.
began on Arcosanti in 1970. The
design follows Soleri’s idea of Archology… stated plainly the mating of
architecture and ecology. This idea
views architecture as a living, vital system that must work in tune with the
local ecology on which it rests. When
the two work together, people can live in close quarters to each other and be in
harmony with their surroundings. By
taking the local ecology into account, all the negative aspects of urban
sprawl… traffic congestion, soil erosion, displacement of indigenous
wildlife… can be alleviated if not eliminated.
its current phase of construction, Arcosanti is home to about 200 people.
Students and volunteers come for 5 week “workshops” where they learn
about Archology using the hands-on method.
They work at activities that range from construction and concrete form,
to architectural design and drawing, to ceramics and brass foundry to build the
Soleri Bells and sculpture that are sold to finance the project.
Building new living space.
This is what it will look like when done.
volunteer programs are available for people to take part in through different
organizations like Elderhostel. These
programs do much of the same work as the larger workshops, but on a smaller
Silt Ceramics Work area.
Where brass for bells is poured
permanent residents of Arcosanti are made up of workshop alumni.
They guide the students and volunteers as well as give life to the
Skylight and ceiling fan in main building.
and events are held at the Colly Soleri Music Center in the middle of Arcosanti.
A reggae concert was played here the night I was there.
The grounds are lined with these beautiful evergreens.
The main building from below.
The whole complex from across the valley.
Arcosanti from the southern ridge trail.
From the rocks across the valley. The long building in the lower right has rooms that can be rented for about $20 per night.
more information about Arcosanti, please visit the Cosanti Foundation’s web
site at www.arcosanti.org.
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