Arcosanti

Experimental green town in the Arizona desert

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US United States
Web http://www.arcosanti.org/project/main.html
Maturity

In development

About the project Edit

In 1970, the Cosanti Foundation began building Arcosanti, an experimental town in the high desert of Arizona, 70 miles north of metropolitan Phoenix. When complete, Arcosanti will house 5000 people, demonstrating ways to improve urban conditions and lessen our destructive impact on the earth. Its large, compact structures and large-scale solar greenhouses will occupy only 25 acres of a 4060 acre land preserve, keeping the natural countryside in close proximity to urban dwellers.

Arcosanti is designed according to the concept of arcology (architecture + ecology), developed by Italian architect Paolo Soleri. In an arcology, the built and the living interact as organs would in a highly evolved being. This means many systems work together, with efficient circulation of people and resources, multi-use buildings, and solar orientation for lighting, heating and cooling. The town is still very much a work in progress. The population varies between 50-150 people, based on the number of students and volunteers on the site. Currently there are 13 major structures on the site, of at most several stories in height, but the master plan envisions a massive complex, called Arcosanti 5000, that would dwarf the current buildings.

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

Arcosanti is an experimental town which features many unique and innovative features, for example the use of tilt-up concrete panels that are cast in a bed of silt acquired from the surrounding area, which gives the concrete a unique texture and colour and helps it blend in with the landscape. Many of the panels were cast with embedded art. Most of the buildings are oriented toward the south to capture the sun's light and heat, but with roof designs that admit the maximum amount of sun in the winter and a minimal amount during the summer. For example, the bronze-casting apse is built in the form of a quarter sphere or semi-dome. The layout of the buildings is intricate and organic, rather than a typical city grid, with a goal of maximum accessibility to all of the elements, increased social interaction and bonds, and a sense of privacy for the residents.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

The town aims to combine the social interaction and accessibility of an urban environment with sound environmental principles such as minimal resource use and access to the natural environment. Another social value of this experience is its educational value. Arcosanti is an educational process. The four-week workshop program teaches building techniques and arcological philosophy, while continuing the city's construction. Volunteers and students come from around the world. Many are design students, and some receive university credit for the workshop. People of many varied interests and backgrounds are all contributing their valuable time and skills to the project. At the present stage of construction, Arcosanti consists of various mixed-use buildings and public spaces constructed by 5000 past workshop participants.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

What is the business model of this project? Edit


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