Apr 16, 2020

Arcosanti: The Forgotten Unfinished Futuristic City

Genevieve Montague

he forgotten city of the future is the brainchild of the Italian architect Paolo Soleri who passed away in 2013 before completing his dream abode. The unfinished city, Arcosanti, had the most elaborate plans — with hopes of it becoming a revolutionary symbol for modern living. In 1976, Newsweek magazine depicted it as “the most important urban experiment undertaken in our time.” 

"If an architect's ego is very small, he is done for, if it is vast then he might make some very important contributions".
Paolo Soleri, Italian Architect
Paolo Soleri --- Source

Paolo Soleri's Vision

Soleri conceived Arcosanti to be a vast “multi-leveled concrete megastructure” that was to be home to 5,000 people. The tenants of these super-dense open homes were to live in “self-sufficient harmony.” It was to be an urban existence, with the “residents working together in the production of bells.”

The urban lifestyle of the Arcosanti was to renounce several amenities that the modern world has adopted. None of the 5,000 residents will own cars, and everyone will grow their food. There will be minimal energy needs since the megastructure’s design will function with passive solar principles. The dream Arcosanti will have rooms that get their light from the sun, and the vegetation will provide shade and cooling. While the plans appear to support ideas of eco-friendly design, Soleri only seemed to have been successful as an early proponent of these concepts.

The Planning & Drafting Department as well as Paolo Soleri's old Apartment --- Source

Arcosanti's Unfinished Dream

Forty-seven years later, the construction of the 25-acre site has slowed to a near standstill. Only 5% of the dream urban sprawl is complete. Paolo Soleri wanted the development to be enveloped by an energy apron of greenhouses for his acolytes. Unfortunately, the project can’t hold the attention of enough people. 

Google Maps View of Arcosanti --- Source

Soleri purchased the submerged lands in the Arizona desert with a loan. But the buildings of the sanctuaries only happened when volunteers showed up. Volunteers were responsible for building the community after they relocated to the eco-urban city Soleri promised. Although the project started well as a passion call, the growth quickly slowed, mostly due to a lack of funds and a clear direction. 

Right now, only 5% of the expected numbers of followers have bought into the idea of the sanatorium. Though dedicated followers provided free labor at first, the expensive plan soon ran out of funding. Creating living spaces became at the expense of volunteers themselves, who, in turn, became discouraged. Most of the original dreamers left and the ones that remained settled into the cozy Soleri-designed futuristic apartments.

A View of Arcosanti from the Southwest --- Source

Arcosanti Today

A few people still wander in to settle into the eco-friendly life. However, they have to build their structures and residences themselves. Besides, the production of bells seems to have taken a backseat. The remaining 80 residents all work for the Cosanti Foundation and earn a minimum wage. Their work is geared towards on-site improvements such as construction and administration. Sadly, Soleri's plans are far from the realm of possibility right now. 

80 Residents Remain --- Source

Jeff Stein, as the co-president of Arcosanti, still believes that the urban laboratory will manifest to full strength one day. Plans to finish the Arcosanti are still very much in motion, according to him. Supporters believe that although building the dream city is taking longer than expected, the ideas of solar energy, local food sourcing, and small neighborhoods — formed out of habitats extending outward, upward and deep underground — are still winning relevant ideas to address global warming

"I do think Arcosanti, even in its current state - a fragment, really, of what it is meant to become - will begin to play a larger role in the international discussion of how we should live on the planet".
Jeff Stein, Co-President of Arcosanti

Soleri envisioned Arcosanti as a city of harmony integrated with the natural environment. But with only 80 people living in the stead of 5,000, it’s hard to see how his dream would be realized anytime soon. 

Arcosanti Vaults Viewed from the North --- Source
The Outside Shell of an Arcosanti Ceramics Apse --- Source
The Arcosanti Main Visitor Cafe --- Source

No items found.
No items found.
More Posts

You Might Also Like

Keep Your Vehicle in Check with the AstroAI Digital Tire Pressure Gauge

The AstroAI Digital Tire Pressure Gauge is the latest device equipped with multiple measurement settings, non-slip ergonomic grip and accurate tire pressure readings. Read more on what we think of the product.

Genevieve Montague

Is the STOGA Typewriter Gaming Keyboard Really All That?

This article reviews the STOGA Typewriter Gaming Keyboard, and our expert product reviewers will take a deep dive on whether this product is worth looking into.

Genevieve Montague

What’s the Nunet Smart Star Projector Really All About?

This article reviews the Nunet Smart Star Projector, with some key information pertaining to key features, device flaws, and a final verdict on whether this product is worth the buy.

Genevieve Montague

The MAONO USB Microphone Product Review

The MAONO USB Microphone is equipped with all the key features to optimize sound quality without a massive expense coming your way. Does this product's accessories, key features, and device flaws equal a meaningful purchase?

Sergio Penguamo

Is the Logitech MX Master 3 Mouse Worth the Hype?

Logitech MX Master 3 Mouse adapts to the rapidly changing trends in the technological environment with key design features, making it an impressive addition for usability.

Matthew Mann

Why Every Party Needs the Fylina Cocktail Shaker Set

The Fylina Cocktail Shaker Set is a high-quality and affordable choice for anyone looking to elevate their mixology game. The versatility of the product in terms of price, quality, and the variety of what if offers into in one set makes it as attractive as it gets.

Genevieve Montague
See All Posts