Arcology by Paolo Soleri
Cosanti and Arcosanti
Report based on books, and images and text found on the Arcosanti Project website
Architect Paolo Soleri was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin East and West. In 1956 he settled in Scottsdale, Arizona and established Cosanti. The Cosanti Foundation then began their largest project called “Arcosanti” in 1970 based on Arcology (Architecture + Ecology). Arcology advocates urban interaction and accessibility in environmental structures. It seeks to minimize the use of energy, raw materials and land, reducing waste and environmental pollution; and allow interaction with the surrounding natural environment.
Arcosanti is an evolving prototype town with a capacity for 5,000 people. Arcosanti demonstrates massive ways to improve urban conditions through alternative architecture, and lessen pollution. Even the mega-structures will only occupy 25 acres of a 4060 acre land preserve. This keeps the natural desert an intimate part of the architectural experience. The rules of nature dictate the human designs, instead of just copying conventional methods that miss the point of living with nature. Arcosanti builds for efficient use of space, resources, and solar orientation.
Stowell Architects owned his books, and loved his designs.
“Greenhouses provide gardening space for public and private use, and act as solar collectors for winter heat. The residents of Arcosanti are workshop alumni, who work on planning, construction, teaching, computer aided drafting, maintenance, cooking, carpentry, metal work, ceramics, gardening and communications. They produce the world-famous Soleri Bells, as well as hosting 50,000 tourists each year in a Gallery, Bakery, and Cafe open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. Guided tours introduce visitors to the philosophy, history, planning and ongoing construction of the site. Concerts and other events in the Colly Soleri Music Center also allow visitors to experience Arcosanti. Shows include dinner, and are often followed by a pictograph light show on the opposite mesa.” – Arcosanti Website