This past week, I went up to Sedona for work and, as I was driving up the I-17 above Phoenix, I saw this freeway sign for Arcosanti Rd. This is what I said out loud: “Arcosanti? Is that THE Arcosanti? Is that here? I studied that in college. Can we go? Is that it?” Having no one with me who knew what the heck I was talking about, I waited to google it when I arrived at my destination. Guess what? It was! It was THE Arcosanti! Well, if you follow our Facebook Page, or saw the blog from last Friday, you know that it truly was. I was so excited to visit!
Arcosanti is the creation of architect Paolo Soleri. Born in Italy and achieving the equivalent of his Master’s Degree there, he later came to the US and studied under Frank Lloyd Wright (my absolute fav) at Taliesin West and Taliesin Spring Green. Paolo Soleri is best known for his work on Arcosanti, which is his grand “urban laboratory” for his Arcology design.
Arcology is the combination of “architecture” and “ecology”. Soleri’s underlying premise was that we needed to be designing on a large scale to combat urban sprawl, minimize the use of energy, conserve water, reduce waste and the impact on land, share resources such as food, and increase human interaction with each other and the environment. Like an Earthship, writ exceedingly large.
Work began on Arcosanti in 1970 and is still ongoing, though many projects were put on hold when Soleri passed away in 2013. One of the biggest projects on hold, and one that I am certainly interested in, is the green house; it was set to begin construction in 2010, but missed that original date, and is now awaiting the re-visioning of the Cosanti Foundation. We didn’t arrive at the right time to take a tour, so it is now on my list of things to do. I’m hoping that the Foundation finds a way to continue the building of this prodigious undertaking and that it may realise its completion in my lifetime.
The sale of the iconic Soleri Bells has helped to fund this project since it’s inception. I find them wonderfully Soleri specific – with overtones of FLW. They sound absolutely beautiful. The artists have also begun making “Cause Bells”, where a certain percentage from the sale of different bells goes directly to support the cause. You can have an up-close look at all the artwork available by visiting the Cosanti website.
The work at Arcosanti has been completed by over 7000 people since the project began. There are still opportunities for work related stays. Or you can simply visit and stay overnight for the incredible price of $50/night. Breakfast is $5 and lunch is $10; I don’t believe dinner is available to the public. There are also plays and concerts held on site. All of this helps to fund the project. I know I’m spending a lot of time on this, but – having the “environmental design” educational background has helped shape my belief that projects such as Arcosanti, may be what we’ll need to embrace in an all too immediate future. We, I mean humans and designers, absolutely need to embrace design that allows us to feed, house, cloth, and provide work for the masses in a sustainable system of some sort. We won’t know what that system will need to look like; however, if we don’t try some of them out, we’ll never discover the answer. We’re investigating the smaller systems right here, and are trying to share what we learn with you. We’ll continue to do that, and I’ll continue to write these occasional special reports… next Saturday we’re going to attend the 2017 HarvestFest at Sonoita Vineyards and tour the Vineyards to see exactly how they are doing their viticulture in the desert. We’ll be sure to share it with you here! Until then, as always~
Thanks for reading.
Today’s Weather: Still in the midst of monsoons and loving the rain that we’re getting. Right now, at 6:01pm, it is 71° and clearing up from a nice afternoon rain.
Egg Report: Yesterday we picked up 8 eggs, today the gathering was 10, so still doing quite well.