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“Intriguing, informative and futuristic (architecture + ecology)”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Arcosanti

Arcosanti
Ranked #1 of 4 things to do in Mayer
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Attraction details
Owner description: Both a tourist destination and educational project, Arcosanti is dedicated to testing and demonstrating the concept of arcology, blending architecture and ecology to reduce human impact on the environment while also improving quality of life. Great for those interested in architecture, sustainability, design, or beautiful desert views. Open daily (closed major holidays); walking tours at 10am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm; overnight accommodations by reservation; breakfast, lunch, & dinner served in the Arcosanti Cafe.
St Louis, MO
Level Contributor
31 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Intriguing, informative and futuristic (architecture + ecology)”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 6, 2014

Despite being a "lab" for future human development and lifestyle, the Arcosanti philosophy and construction imbeds creative and innovative thinking for over 40 years.

The tour was interesting. The staff friendly, helpful and eager to share the philosophy of Arcosanti's founder.

The production process of the famous wind chimes is captivating. The beauty of the final product and the audio essence of the chimes is mesmerizing.

A visit to Crosanti is also interesting.

This site is not for everyone. If you have an interest in urban planning, sustainable living and lifestyle it will be of interest.

Conceptualization of architectural and ecologic blending do stimulate thoughts about how we might plan for future developments.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank sailgal53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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177 reviews from our community

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English first
Level Contributor
41 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Fascinating, but not for everyone”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 13, 2013

I had heard about Arcosanti many years ago (an old boyfriend worked there for a while) and knew generally of Paolo Soleri's vision and the concepts of "arcology." I would say that almost all of the reviews on Trip Advisor are accurate, and your satisfaction or disappointment will be driven by your interests and previous knowledge of Soleri's planning philosophy. The "voluntary" $10 contribution for admission is tax deductible and the place is struggling, so we had no resentment about paying the fee. The hour-long tour began with a 13-minute video overview of problems created by urbanism and suburban crawl. This made a good case for Soleri's vision, which was described clearly in the video. Our guide was nice enough, but still learning (she had only been there a couple of weeks.) She covered Soleri's design concepts and vision adequately; she also described the bell-making process in great detail, which was of less interest to my friend and I. (CAUTION TO DISABLED FOLKS WITH MOBILITY ISSUES: there are many steep steps here and no elevators, so we would not recommend a visit if you have trouble with stairs.) We felt there was something missing from the tour, and I think it was a lack of passion (on the part of the guide) for Soleri's vision. Others have described this place as "funky," or failing. I agree with both. Arcosanti, which Soleri started building in 1970, has been struggling for years. With Soleri's death in April of 2013, one cannot help but wonder how long the place can hold on. As others have stated, they are still building here. While trying to stay true to Soleri's original design, they adjust as they learn. My concern is how much they will depart from his concepts as time goes on. The place does feel run-down. We were told that plans have been scaled back from the original vision: Soleri envisioned 5,000 people living here and now their goal is down to 1,500, although 100 residents is about the maximum there at a given time now, and it sounds like they rarely exceed 50. Yet Soleri's planning concepts are more relevant today than they were even 40 years ago. My preference would be to have a more organic feel in terms of the structures being compatible with the landscape--but that's my personal view.

We enjoyed a light lunch at the cafe,which offered a variety of fresh, healthy food and was very reasonable. There was a huge selection of the distinctive Arcosanti bells available for purchase--from small $40 bells up to large ones for hundreds of dollars.

I believe that Soleri was at least 100 years ahead of his time in terms of urban planning/arcology. The issues he addressed are even more critical now than they were when he started. As our population continues to grow, we may be forced to create the kind of communities that Soleri envisioned. Even if this is to happen, it will be many years in the future. If you are the kind of traveler who enjoys being challenged by new concepts and seeks thought-provoking destinations, this place is for you. If you decide to visit, be prepared to focus on the philosophy, vision and dream of the place rather than its physical appearance and condition.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
10 Thank NatureandLuxury
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
47 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Complete waste of time”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 3, 2013

Visiting Arcosanti is like watching a bad sci-fi movie 30 years after it was made. The vision might have been grand and enticing when Paolo Soleri had it in the 1960s. But today it looks and feels more like a 1958 Edsel than a Tesla. The washboard road that covers the last mile to the parking lot is so extremely bumpy that speeds of more than 5 mph are hazardous to your car. This is your first inkling that this place might not be what you expected. Then as you approach from the parking lot, rather than seeing a vision of the future it is quickly apparent you are visiting a decaying, outdated relic. The place looks like the inhabitants have spent the last 20 years smoking weed rather than actually working on the structure. The fact that it was supposed to have 5,000 residents by now but actually has only 56 says all you need to know. The trip there was 4 hours of our life we cannot get back. The only thing that prevented our visit from Phoenix to Arcosanti from being a complete waste of a day was that Montezumas' Castle cliff dwelling is fairly close by. Arizona has scores of amazing sites and sights to visit. Arcosanti isn't one of them.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
5 Thank Danny562
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port Clinton, Ohio
Level Contributor
65 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Not what we expected”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 26, 2013

I guess we should have done some more research on this before stopping by on our journey towards the Grand Canyon. We weren't aware that you had to pay for a tour so that was disappointing. From what we saw from our walk to the main area & in the gift shop, we decided to pass on the paid tour. Learn and live as they say.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank dabsyr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scottsdale, Arizona
Level Contributor
15 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“A unique experience ...”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 6, 2013

It seems that most folks to visit Arcosanti have some awareness of Paolo Soleri from his numerous books and/or the Soleri wind chimes. Arcosanti is an urban laboratory, an experiment built by volunteer workshop labor and a small vision of what an arcology can be ... there are motel style rooms available for $3o to $50/night and tours of the gallery, foundry, ceramic studio, and ampitheater. Tours are available from the staff for a donation of $10 that last about an hour and give you a good overview of the ecological structures and habitats. Further ecological tours can be arranged to walk the Aqua Fria river. The restaurant is only open for lunch at noon and dinner at 6pm for visitors and staff so that is a chance to mingle with the residents and artist-in-residence.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Ronald B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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