13555 S. Cross L Rd.
Mayer, AZ 86333
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You probably think of those clever little copper bells whenever you hear the name of this place, but Arcosanti is about much more than rusty musical souvenirs. This high-elevation experimental town began construction in 1970 in central Arizona (about 70 miles north of Phoenix) by architect Paolo Soleri, who used a concept he dubbed “arcology.” His plan—to prove that local urban conditions could be improved while minimizing the negative impact of city-dwelling on the earth—combines adaptive reuse and “green” ecology long before either was considered fashionable. The ongoing construction of this never-ending city is home to between 50 and 150 people, but visitors come from around the globe to visit the tilted concrete panels cast in a bed of desert silt on which this popular tourist attraction rests. They ogle the bronze-cast apse, built in the form of a semi-dome; the intricate and organic architecture; and the fun-and-educational five-story visitor’s center, café, and gift shop (where you can snag a bagful of those Arcosanti bells!). Also worth seeing: the community’s oddball home elevations, storefronts, and stunning outdoor amphitheater. Too tired to head back to town? A two-bedroom "Sky Suite" is available for overnight guests.

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