Southwest Part I - Arcosanti, AZ May 29 2013
We packed the Doka for a trip out to Texas destined for about two weeks of open road. We were hoping for scenic views, inspiration, killer vintage finds and a few meetings with makers along the way. The first night we camped in Prescott National Forest near Phoenix so we could wake up and explore Arcosanti in the morning. Arcosanti was architect Paolo Solari's experimental city testing "Arcology"; his idea of mixing ecology and architecture. A way of life living densely in a city with multipurpose spaces that are highly efficient and self-sustaining.
We were taken by the beautiful brass and clay bells that they craft on site and sell in order to make up for some costs of keeping the tours going and to help earn money to construct the buildings. In fact they even utilize the same technique of constructing bells to craft their breathtaking domed buildings in a sort of earthen kiln. Basically, Arcosanti is a handmade city in progress, a.k.a the Mecca of handmade.
It's been 43 years since Solari purchased the land at Arcosanti and the city is now 3% complete, inhabited by less than 60 people who all work on the property between artist residencies, facilities, and maintenance. Paolo Solari passed away 3 days after our pilgrimage to his test city. We left the city with the hope that it would continue to be a place for artists to live and work and with doubts of it achieving its planned size. Now that Solari is no longer with us though, we hope even more that his dream will come true some day.