© Ken Howie
In 1970, Paolo Soleri embarked on what is his most ambitious work, Arcosanti. Located in the high desert of central Arizona, Arcosanti is being constructed as a prototype arcology. Arcosanti is a materialization of arcology theoretics; the community embodies Soleri’s vision for a sustainable urban alternative. Since its inception in 1970, the development and construction of Arcosanti has been at the center of Soleri’s life and work.
Arcology is Paolo Soleri’s concept for cities that embody the co-presence of architecture and ecology. The arcology concept proposes a highly integrated and compact three-dimensional urban form that is the opposite of suburban sprawl, with its inherently wasteful consumption of resources and tendency to isolate people from each other and the community. The miniaturization of the physical environment of the city enables effective conservation of land, energy and resources.
Jeff Buderer presents the Arcosanti plaza vault to students
Traditionally, an arcology is a set of architectural design principles aimed toward the design hyperstructure habitats of extremely high human population density.
An arcology is distinguished from a merely large building or habitat in that it is supposed to sustainably supply all or most of the resourses for comfortable life: power, climate control, food production air and water purification, sewage treatment, etc...
It is supposed to supply these items for a large population. Also, an arcology would need no connections to municipal or urban infrastructure in order to operate.
Arcologies were proposed to reduce human impacts on natural resources. Arcology designs often apply conventional building and civil engineering techniques in very large, but practical projects in order to achieve economies that are difficult to achieve in other ways. Frank Lloyd Wright proposed an early version with his Broadacre City.
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