Arcosanti, Arizona

Arcosanti is an entire city under construction near the town of Mayer, north of Phoenix, designed by the architect Paolo Soleri (1919–2013), a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. While there is evidence of the influence of Wright's Arizona style in the idealistic architecture of Soleri, the Italian architect's plan, in scale at least, is more like the modernist urban utopia designs of Le Corbusier and Sant'Elia. However, in his principles of design--the ideas that are manifested in the forms of his Great City--Soleri is unique. He developed an entire living system based on his concept of Archology (architecture and ecology), in which a sophisticated multi-use approach results in the total integration of living, working, and public spaces. Arcosanti (one of numerous Arcologies Soleri designed, but the only large-scale project he built) has been under construction since 1970. The builders of the city are also its residents. Since 1970, people have come to Arcosanti to learn from the master architect and craftsman, who was famous for his cast metal bells, and to work on his city of the future. Most residents pay for the privilege, with money or work, though usually both, and most seem to value the experience as a training for how to, and how not to, operate an intentional community of their own.