Inside Arcosanti, the utopian eco-city in the Arizona desert

Apr 10, 2018 832

Arcosanti is an architectural UFO born of the imagination of Italian architect Paolo Soleri, who brought his ambitious vision of the ideal city to life, in the middle of the Arizona desert in the 1970s. With an amphitheater, a café, roofless buildings left open to the sky and greenhouses heated with solar energy, the unfinished city today welcomes artists in residence, travelers and also people who want to live as part of – and contribute to - an ecological project. Chairman of the Arcosanti Foundation Jeff Stein shows us around an unique habitation, that offers a counter-balance to our sprawling, polluted and socially unequal cities.

How did the Arcosanti project come about?

"Arcosanti came about in 1970, when Paolo Soleri saw the need to demonstrate an alternative to the urban sprawl that was beginning to lay waste to the natural world surrounding cities.For nearly a decade prior to breaking ground at Arcosanti, Dr. Soleri had worked on the idea of “Arcology,” that is, Architecture and Ecology as two parts of a single whole system on the earth. This research resulted in the famous black book, City in the Image of Man, published by MIT Press in 1969, a powerful polemic about urban land use and human social evolution that included a design for Arcosanti. It also resulted in a major exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC, The Architectural Vision of Paolo Soleri, in early 1970. 

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