Arizona, USA
Co-Op / Non-Profit
Ecovillage / Experimental
1970 - Present

Arcosanti, Arizona, is a technoprimitivist moonscape of arches and cypress spires built and manned by volunteers and students self-described as “Arconauts.” Begun in 1970 as the hippie movement flourished, Arcosanti forged its identity in the halcyon days of LSD and free love. An indictment of American urbanism like nearby Phoenix, Arcosanti is a demonstration of Italian architect Paolo Soleri’s high-density and low-impact Arcology: architecture + ecology. Many off-grid communities don’t survive the death of their founder—it’s the final test to see if ideology, not personality, can cohere and sustain a group of people. At Arcosanti, there was a one-two punch: Following Soleri’s death in 2013, his daughter, Daniela Soleria, published an open letter detaling years of sexual abuse by her father. Today, the Arcosanti compound—partial, fragmentary, still incomplete—epitomizes the double-edged nature of utopian fantasies.

The layout highlights the dual nature of Arcosanti, on one hand a community of permanent residents, and on the other a temporary tourist destination for short-term stays and medium-duration educational programs. The communal dining hall (1) doubles as a gift shop and destination meeting point for tour groups. The amphitheatre  is ringed by apartments and offices (7), single family residence, many live and camp down the hill (8)

Nam semper semper ex
In porttitor pellentesque sapien

Annie Schneider

Communes in the New World

The question of how to live together—of how best to live together—is the foundation of any society. The last few years have exposed the fault lines in our current system: climatic catastrophe, economic crisis, supply chain collapse, civil unrest, rampant inequality, and a global pandemic. We live in congested cities and in potentially dangerous proximity, yet remain isolated. In light of these mounting pressures, it’s time to revisit the fundamentals. How to Live Together offers alternative ways of being, thinking, dwelling, and living. It calls into question every basic assumption and prevailing social norm: belief, sex, the nuclear family, property ownership, our relationship to land, production, and consumption. It is both a critique and a roadmap.