roadside: Arcosanti


Arcosanti is an anomaly in the high desert of Arizona. On a trip through the southwest, traveling between Sedona and Phoenix, it appeared out of nowhere. Remembering the name from studies of urban design theory I made a last minute decision to pull of the interstate and down a nondescript gravel road.

Described as an “urban laboratory focused on innovative design, community, and environmental accountability” Arcosanti is the brain child of the design thinker Paolo Soleri. His philosophical approach towards human settlement focused on integrating architecture and ecology, what he termed arcology. Arcosanti is an ongoing manifestation of this philosophy.

It is a work in progress that has continued even after Soleri’s passing in 2013. The ambitious plan and it’s implementation offer new ideas about how we connect and build community.

Watching the resident artisans craft the siltcast windbells provides a glimpse into the same technique that was used to construct some of Soleri’s structures. In fact, it was the technique used to construct the open air apse where you can watch the ceramics being made. And it’s these ceramics that fund a significant portion of the ongoing construction of Arcosanti.

Look out for this place if you’re in the area. It’s well worth the stop. Take the tour, eat at the café and buy a windbell.
Categories: architecture, elsewhere, roadside, urban | Leave a comment

About michael

Michael grew up as a suburban hooligan bugging his older sister and spending his time in train yards, alleyways and rooftops while studying graphic design at Herron School of Art and Design. Later he wandered aimlessly, working in print and copy shops. Interest in art and public space led him to earn a Masters in Urban Planning at the University of Cincinnati, where he learned to crunch numbers, make maps, and appreciate the city for its chaos. Michael's focus on urban design and economic development led to his years of work in the public art field as an arts administrator. At VisuaLingual, he is Chief Exploring Officer, constantly looking for new adventures and ways to connect his love of the outdoors and urban spaces.

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