Frequently Asked Questions about Arcosanti
Frequently Asked Questions about the Arcosanti Workshops
FAQ - Arcosanti
Arcosanti is the a prototype for architect Paolo Soleri's vision of an arcology. The idea of an arcology is the combination of architecture and ecology, a concept first conceived by Paolo Soleri in the 1950s. Within this urban laboratory students of all ages and backgrounds have come to participate in workshops where they learn about the theories of Paolo Soleri and gain hands-on experience in a variety of fields such as construction, agriculture, archives, architecture and planning, facilities maintenance, or landscaping.
Over the past forty years people have come from all over the world to participate in this urban experiment. The top three nations represented, besides the United States, are Italy, Canada, and Japan. Since Arcosanti's inception in 1970, approximately 7,000 volunteers have participated in the construction of the site, some of which have stayed to become residents. Currently about 80 residents live permanently at Arcosanti. The population fluctuates, but continual growth is expected throughout the long term scale of the project.
Arcosanti is open to the public and we receive about 50,000 visitors annually. Guided tours are given of the site every day except holidays. Visitors can learn about the history of the buildings and progress of Arcosanti. Tourists may purchase Soleri's wind bells, tiles, and publications of Soleri's work in the Gallery Gift Shop.
Where is Arcosanti?
Arcosanti is located in the Arizona highland along the I-17 highway between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon. Many visitors like to take day trips to the scenic red rocks of Sedona, which is within an hour drive, and also to the Grand Canyon, which is a three hour drive.
How does Arcosanti fulfill Paolo Soleri's philosophical ideas?
The key words to Paolo Soleri's philosophy are “leanness” and “elegant frugality”. Arcosanti follows the motto of “doing more with less”, by using less energy, less pollution, less waste of space and material we are creating a more efficient society. This is an idea that embraces not only the architecture, but also the human aspects of everyday life. Arcosanti attracts not only those interested in studying architecture, but also people who want to learn about organic farming, solar panels, or simply to see what it would be like to live in an arcology and be free from the stress of an automobile-oriented lifestyle.
How much of the plan has been completed and how is it financially supported?
Since the beginning of the project in 1970, the completed buildings amount to about 5% of the original plan, which will culminate in a building complex that supports 5,000 people. Within this urban laboratory the goal is not just to construct the arcology as fast as possible, but also to teach and experiment. The buildings that are here have been constructed primarily by unskilled labor of students and volunteers using materials that are specific to the areas close to Arcosanti.
Major financial support for the project comes from the production of the Soleri Windbells. The ceramic and bronze bells are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also produce a beautiful sound as they blow in the wind. There are also Cause Bells for which a portion of the proceeds from the sale is sent to support a variety of charitable social and environmental organizations.
The workshop fee and donations from visitors are another important source of financial support. If you would like to donate to Arcosanti click here.
How can I purchase a Soleri windbell?
The Paolo Soleri bells are sold primarily at Cosanti (Phoenix) and at Arcosanti. While visiting Arcosanti you can take a guided tour to see the ceramic and bronze foundries to learn about the process required to make each bell. You can also purchase a bell on-line through the Cosanti Orginals website.
How much does Arcosanti rely on renewable energy sources?
We have photo-voltaic panels on separate systems throughout the site, generating a current total of 10kW. This is only a small percentage of the energy consumption, but the long-term goal is to be completely independent of the grid.
What is the origin of the terms Arcology and Cosanti?
The term Arcology is the result of the combination of the words ARChitecture and ecOLOGY.
Cosanti is the name of the site in Phoenix where Paolo Soleri actually lives and it is also the name of the non-profit Foundation that manages Cosanti and Arcosanti. The word Cosanti was coined by Paolo Soleri in the 1950s as the result of combining Cosa + Anti, meaning “thing” and “before”. The term reflects Soleri's concerns about hyper-consumption in our society and can be flipped to Anti-Cosa, meaning against the excessive materialism.
Is it possible to stay at Arcosanti without participating in a Workshop?
Guest rooms are available to visitors who wish to stay at Arcosanti, starting at $35 per night. Our sky suite is also available for $100 a night. The sky suite is a two bedroom unit with a kitchenette and one of the best views on site. A continental breakfast is included in the overnight stay, while lunch and dinner are additionally available in the Arcosanti café. For more information click here.
If you would only like to participate in part of the workshop you can register for the Seminar Week, the introductory week of the workshop. During the Seminar Week you are given the opportunity to experience a variety of educational activities, such as a comprehensive guide of Arcosanti, an in-depth nature walk through the surrounding landscape, and lectures on the history of Paolo Soleri, the Theory of the Arcology, and how Arcosanti operates today. The seminar week also includes a discussion with Paolo Soleri on a subject of your choice. The fee for Seminar Week for 2012 is $550 which includes the registration fee, tuition, meals and accommodations.
FAQ - Workshops
The workshop is beneficial for anyone who would like to learn about Arcology Theory and participate in a hands-on learning experience. Previous construction or architectural experience is not a prerequisite for participation in our program - most participants are novices. There are several departments that workshoppers may choose to work in after seminar week. These include construction, facilities maintenance, agriculture, landscaping and sometimes archives.
Workshops are generally the first Sunday of each month. Contact the workshop coordinator for the schedule of dates.
Workshops can range anywhere from 2 people to 50 people. We are always glad to accept as many participants as desire to come. However, we do have a limited amount of housing available (see below). Those with tents (weather permitting) or other alternative housing are encouraged to bring them.
Arcosanti is not an accredited college. However, many participants have received college credit for their Arcosanti experience through their own institution. The workshop coordinator can forward information to your college advisor to assist them in awarding appropriate credit.
No. For those unable to attend the entire five weeks, we offer the One Week Seminar or the one day Siltcast Workshop. For a group of ten or more, we can customize a workshop to fit your group's needs.
In brief, the five-week Arcosanti Workshop is a process of experiential learning designed around the philosophical basis of Dr. Soleri's ideas. Through lectures, discussions, and tours, workshoppers should gain a solid understanding of Arcosanti and Arcology Theory. Working with the construction crew will offer an overview of the process required for building and maintaining the Arcosanti structures as well as teach some basic construction skills. Mentoring with different departments will also offer a variety of educational opportunities. Finally, the experience of living and working in this unique environment is a valuable learning experience in itself.
Arcosanti is a construction site where most residents live in the various completed buildings. Workshop participants are primarily housed in dormitory-style accommodations for the duration of their stay. The dorms are partially completed rooms that will eventually be finished into apartments. The facilities are shared with other workshop participants (various rooms can accommodate 2 to 8 people), but there are places to lock up valuables. There is minimal heating and no air-conditioning! It may be possible to upgrade to a private guest room for an extra cost, depending on availability. Arrangements for guest rooms must be made well in advance by contacting the workshop coordinator.
In general, Summer temperatures are at or near 100°ƒ in the day cooling off to 70°ƒ at night. Winter is generally mild with 60°ƒ days and nights around 30°ƒ (sometimes below). Please bring clothes and a sleeping bag that correspond with the season. It can rain, so also be prepared for mud.
A good rule of thumb is to bring what you would need to be comfortable on a camping trip (i.e. flashlight and sleeping bag). Sunscreen is a must and insect repellent and a hat are recommended. You will also need work clothes including work boots and gloves. A further description of what to bring will be sent to you by the Workshop Coordinator once you have been accepted into the program.
Pets are not allowed during the Workshop for any circumstance except service animals for persons with disabilities. Temporary overnight guests staying in the guestrooms may bring a pet for an additional fee, depending on availability of designated rooms for guests with pets.
For those who are interested in becoming a resident at Arcosanti after the Workshop, residents are allowed to have small pets; dogs are not allowed at this time. The Arcosanti Community also has a Cat Policy, including a limit on the number of cats. Please contact the Workshop Coordinator for more information.
We expect you to arrive on the first day of the Workshop before 3 pm. If it is easier for you to arrive one or two days before the Workshop starting date, please let us know. The cost for room and board prior to the starting date is $20/day.
If you’re coming to Arcosanti from the Phoenix airport, you may make arrangements to take the "Shuttle-U", a bus service to the city of Prescott, which also stops at Cordes Junction (our exit off of Interstate 17, about two miles from Arcosanti). You can check the “Shuttle-U” schedule and make a reservation at 1-800-304-6114 or www.shuttleu.com. We will need to pick you up at Cordes Junction when you arrive, so please keep us informed of your expected arrival time.
If you’re driving to Arcosanti, simply go to the Visitor’s Center/Gallery when you arrive and the Gallery staff will contact the workshop coordinator. Arcosanti is located about 1 hour north of Phoenix or 1.5 hours south of Flagstaff on Interstate 17. Take exit 262 (Cordes Junction) and follow the signs to Arcosanti, which is located about 2.5 miles from the exit.
If you are not a United States citizen and are entering the U.S. from another country, make sure to indicate the following address in all the immigration and customs-related forms:
13555 South Cross L Rd
MAYER, AZ 86333
Yes, we have free, site-wide Wi-fi if you bring a computer. A community computer is also available.
Many workshop participants stay on after their workshop for short or long term. You must be sponsored by a department manager and you must submit a letter of intent to the Community Council. Meals in the café and frugal accommodations are provided at reasonable rates. For more information on employment, volunteering, extended stay, residency and community life see community.
Yes, in most cases. We are always looking for good people to help with the project. For those that have successfully completed the 5-week Workshop, volunteer positions are usually available, even for a short time. Paid positions may be available; please see Employment Opportunities.
If you are already interested in extending your stay at Arcosanti after the completion of the Workshop, please let us know. An arrangement for a volunteer position for two weeks or more can be made based on your qualifications and position availability.
Yes. Many people at Arcosanti have professions independent of the project, such as sculpting, jewelry making, writing, mycology, and web design, to name a few. All adults living on site must contribute 40 hours per week to the building, maintenance, or administration of Arcosanti. As long as this requirement is met and community rules are respected (especially relating to noise), residents are free to live their own lifestyles at Arcosanti.
Yes. For the most part, weekends and evenings are free. During week one (Seminar Week), Workshop participants will have activities scheduled throughout the day, from morning until about 5:00 p.m. (specific hours will vary with the seasons to take advantage of the best temperature). After Seminar Week, there will be a field trip to Phoenix that may last for a few days. Besides that field trip, participants will be working a regular, Monday - Friday work schedule for the remainder of the Workshop and will have weekends and evenings free. Many Workshop participants use weekends as an opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon and other sites around Arizona.
Yes. During your Workshop, your home is Arcosanti. You may have short-term visitors as long as it does not interfere with your Workshop schedule. Visitors may not stay with Workshop participants in the dormitory, as they are shared with other participants. Overnight visitors can stay in our guest rooms; see information on overnight stays.
Please do not hesitate to give us a call! We would be glad to talk with you over the phone or by email about the Workshop and our great community here at Arcosanti. To speak with someone in the Workshop department:Workshop Coordinator
Arcosanti, HC 74 Box 4136Mayer, AZ 86333
email: workshop [at] arcosanti [dot] org