Friday, May 6, 2011

Arcosanti

Arcosanti is situated about an hour outside of Prescott Valley, Az.
It is a self sustaining town initiated by Italian architect Paolo Soleri
(also the creator of the world famous Soleri Bells).

Imagine the thrill of finding out about this experimental town in the middle of the Arizona high desert.
Creepy, huh? I mean just the combo of words like "experimental town" and "desert"... 
Insert flash backs of "The Hills have Eyes" scenes here. Haha...
Well, I immidately programed my GPS and took a stroll up north to see what this place was all about.



The picture above is the view from the access road leading up to the entrance. What's interesting is how the entire town blends into the landscape, which was the entire point of Soleri's concept.


If you're unfamiliar with Soleri's design concept for this experimental town, check out the website for more information. The construction started back in the early 1970's and once complete the idea is that this town will be home to 5000 people. It's designed to be a self sustaining community based of the concept of arcology which states that people and buildings co exist with each other as one harmonious being.

 I was able to experience one of the many facets this place has to offer with the cafe lunch buffet. All the food is grown on site using one of the two greenhouses continuously evolving to better support the prototype town. The food was actually really decent for it being coined "buffet" food.

My meal that day was roughly $9 and I had a bowl of hearty chicken and corn soup with garbanzo beans, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, some sort of penne pasta casserole that resembled a less cheesy mac and cheese, meatballs in marinara sauce and a side salad with green and black olives, shredded carrots, red onions, and a basic balsamic vinaigrette. Along with all that was a nice chilled glass of raspberry infused black tea that I refilled about a dozen times during my meal. Hands down, the chicken soup was the best part.


To me, one of the most unique structures of Arcosanti has to be the vaults. The picture seen below is of the South Vault. It was the first structure to be built at the Arcosanti Mesa. A few years after this vault was built, a twin vault was constructed to the north and together they are the gathering point for many activities at Arcosanti. It's a very serene space and the view of the desert scape is lovely.



The view from inside the vaults look onto a nice little lawn that features Italian cypress and olive tress. The olives grown on these trees are harvested, canned locally and are available for sale in the Visitor's Center.




This is the Ceramics Apse where wind bells and tiles are produced. Besides the beauty of the architecture and products made here the purpose behind its design is quite worth the visit. Again, more information can be found here.



View from inside the cafe facing the surrounding desert to the south


That was my little visit to Arcosanti. It's an interesting place for sure and I'm really glad I got the chance to check it out. I'm excited for the completion of the town and to see if all the ideas will be realized and executed. A self sustaining town that doesn't destroy the natural surrounding is something I can stand behind.  Yay Earth!

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