The NYtimes explores the paths that Paolo Soleri’s masterpiece may take now that he has retired. Will Arcosanti become a stagnant museum like Taliesin West, a vibrant educational foundation that furthers his work and philosophy, or will it slowly crumble back into the desert?
Intended to be a self-sufficient an Eco-City, Arcosanti lacks the basic systems that are standard sustainability practices today (and even were typical 40 years ago), no insulation, no water harvesting or recycling, just two greenhouses to grow their own food, no renewable energy systems, and high performance window. I’d even argue that the choice of concrete is not the most sustainable material to have used – yes, it has great thermal mass that is important in the desert, but has a huge carbon footprint. Perhaps history will see Solari as a visionary that lacked the technical depth (or knowledge) to fully realize his dreams (a charge that his peers like Malcolm Wells avoid), just a paper architect who built full-scale models.
At least the Arconauts have their bells.
The NYtimes has a slideshow here.
Image credits: John Burcham for The New York Times