Paolo Soleri, an Italian protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright, looms large in his adopted home state of Arizona. So does Arcosanti, his experimental town rising from the desert 65 miles north of Phoenix.
The cluster of concrete spires and hulking domes, two miles off Interstate 17 at Cordes Junction, welcomes 50,000 visitors a year with a gift shop, communal cafeteria, and bakery. Residents, who come here to learn while helping with the slow but continual construction, lead hour-long tours ($8 donation) that illuminate Soleri’s vision of arcology—architecture married to ecology. Rambling through the earth-friendly apartments and workspaces, visitors discover how high-density living might help curb society’s hyperconsumption.
Science fiction? Nah. For that, you can study Soleri’s futuristic drawings of outposts in space. (928) 632-6217, www.arcosanti.org.
Photography by CodyR/Wikipedia
This article was first published in January 2007. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.