Visiting Arcosanti: An Urban Laboratory?

In January 2012, Tiffany Beffel had the opportunity to visit Arcosanti in Cordes Junction, Arizona. The visit included a quiet lunch in the Café at Arcosanti followed by a guided tour detailing a comprehensive introduction to the history and design of Arcosanti, the vision and work of distinguished architect, Paolo Soleri. Arcosanti represents a unique environment sited along the Agua Fria River at an elevation of 3,750 feet. The property includes guest rooms, swimming pool, amphitheater, music center, housing, several art studios (shown above), and a Ceramic Apse (shown above), among other unique spaces. Soleri’s vision to create a environment in which every component represents a learning opportunity, provides a sustaining, urban space supported by on-site agriculture, power generation, and multi-use buildings.

Begun in 1970, Arcosanti is designed according to arcology, a concept created by Soleri as the connection of architecture and ecology. In arcology, the living and built environments work as one with multi-use buildings, people, resources, and passive strategies for heating, cooling, and lighting. Presently, Arcosanti is an education program in which participants gain an understanding of building techniques and arcology over a four-week period. Participants, representing diverse backgrounds, work to continue the construction of Arcosanti throughout their participation in the program. When complete, Arcosanti will be home to 5,000 people and will be an active demonstration of how to minimize our destructive impacts to the earth.

Visit for additional information on guided tours and how to get involved in Arcosanti. It was an amazing experience and is highly recommended to visit.

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