A visit to Paolo Soleri’s architectural masterwork is an adventure into utopia. Founded in the 1960s on a mesa north of Phoenix, Arcosanti was an experiment in using architecture to create a sustainable city that fostered and celebrated community.
“We must redefine the American Dream before we rebuild the infrastructure on which it is based,” Soleri once said. Using low-impact silt casting, the architect built some 13 interrelated modernist structures, such as iconic vaults, multiple living quarters and dining areas (including a cafeteria for visitors).
Tours take place throughout the day, and bronze pourings at the foundry twice daily allow visitors a peek into the making of the signature Soleri wind bells (shown above and right). Architecture enthusiasts can reserve the archives for an afternoon, and those wishing to further immerse themselves in the Arcosanti experience can rent rooms or guest houses. There are jazz and film festivals, too.
With global capitals aiming to become net-zero and the buzz of smart cities on the rise, Soleri’s legacy and the ideas behind it seem especially relevant today.
PHOTOS: TOP, JENS KAUDER; BOTTOM: JEREMY SHEVLING, COSANTI FOUNDATION
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