Arcosanti

From Academic Kids

Arcosanti is an experimental town that is being built in central Arizona, 70 miles (110 km) outside of Phoenix. Paolo Soleri, using a concept he calls arcology (architecture + ecology), designed the town to demonstrate ways urban conditions could be improved while minimizing the destructive impact on the earth.

Arcosanti is being built on only 25 acres (0.1 km²) of a 4060 acre (16 km²) land preserve, keeping its inhabitants near the natural countryside. The Arcosanti web site describes how an arcology functions in Arcosanti: "The built and the living interact as organs would in a highly evolved being. Many systems work together, with efficient circulation of people and resources, multi-use buildings, and solar orientation for lighting, heating and cooling."

As of 2005 Arcosanti stands some fraction of 1% complete. Existing structures include a three-story visitors' center / cafe / gift shop, the bronze-casting apse (half-dome) carefully situated to accept maximal winter sun and minimal summer sun, two large barrel vaults, a ring of apartment residences around an outdoor amphitheatre, a community swimming pool, and Soleri's suite. A two-bedroom 'Sky Suite' occupies the highest point in the complex and is available for overnight guests.

In Arcosanti, apartments, businesses, production, technology, open space, studios, and educational and cultural events are all accessible, while privacy is paramount in the overall design. Solar greenhouses are planned to provide gardening space for public and private use, and act as solar collectors for winter heat.

The city serves as an educational complex where workshops and classes are offered. Students from around the world are constructing Arcosanti. In addition about 50,000 tourists visit Arcosanti each year.

Funds to build Arcosanti are raised through the sale of art objects, the most famous being cast wind chimes. More funds are raised from workshop tuitions, which people ("workshoppers") pay for a five week hands-on experience. The workshops are the principal means by which Arcosanti is constructed.

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