Friday, September 2, 2011

Arcosanti

A few weekends ago we took a trip to Arcosanti Arizona. Arcosanti is a remarkable living laboratory project that was conceived by Italian architect and sculptor Paolo Soleri (b 1919). In this blog post I will give a short review of our stay and point anyone interested to the Arcosanti website for information about this inspiring project.


A view of the main building holding the Bakery, Cafe, Gallery and Reception area

The most simple way to describe Arcosanti would be that it is an experimental city being constructed by volunteers from around the world (most often architects, artists and free thinkers). It is currently housing between 20-100 residents, who live and work there year round as volunteers and students of the philosophies of Arcology http://www.arcosanti.org/theory/arcology/main.html .The Website for Arcosanti will also tell you about their beautiful silt cast bells and has a detailed schedule of their exciting performances and events .

a selection of bronze silt cast bells available in the shop


A short history:
 "In 1970, the Cosanti Foundation began building Arcosanti, an experimental town in the high desert of Arizona, 70 miles north of metropolitan Phoenix. When complete, Arcosanti will house 5000 people, 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." (from the Arcosanti Website http://www.arcosanti.org)

We decided to visit Arcosanti after hearing about the incredible performances that are held there on a regular basis.Not being a huge fan of crowds I thought it would be interesting to go there during a "down time"- in the heat of the summer- to simply experience the setting (and to "cambiare aria" (change air) before settling into our school routine for the year. )

Daisy by the pool. Note the "pod like" artist studio with circle windows in the distance

I think it was a good choice, because we had a peaceful few days, however, the heat was quite oppressive so I'm thinking that we would not go in August again. I really have a hard time dealing with extreme heat (though I live in Arizona) so I did more reading than hiking. (Cosmo and his Dad hiked in the early mornings).

There is also a pool on site that we very much enjoyed at the end of the long hot days. I look forward to going back in the cooler months to experience the trails and landscape more completely. I could even see going by myself for a few days in order to retreat and work on a project.
MBZ in the "vaults" - the largest performance/meeting space at Arcosanti

One idea I have is for interested participants of next year's SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) conference to take a field trip to Arcosanti to observe their foundry and daily silt cast bell production. At the very least, I would recommend a visit to the Cosanti foundation (closer to the conference, in Scottsdale) which is Paolo Soleri's home and sculpture studio. (Cosanti is also open to the public and has daily tours.)

Arcosanti Arizona is located about 35 miles east of Prescott and a little over an hour north of Phoenix. (It took us about 3 1/2 hours to drive there from Tucson) For more information see http://arcosanti.org
and you can also find the Arcosanti project on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1069939853


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