Monthly Archives: January 2007
Downtown Tucson speaks its history and the thinking of the people in its buildings. Sometimes it seems to me like a disjointed cacaphony and sometimes it seems like what it must be, a mismatch of styles and forms – nonetheless creating a kind of modern rhythm, a kind of free jazz of architecture.
Here’s an alternative, Arcosanti, a totally planned from-the-ground-up community, located north of Phoenix, Arizona. The Italian architect, Paolo Soleri, began construction in 1970. I visited it in the late 1990’s and it seemed dispirited, a handful of people living in makeshift conditions, like they were camping out in the buildings. It seemed like a dream that had failed. However it appears to be thriving now, at least judging by the website.
I like people who have grand dreams, like Arosanti. But at a city level, I think this kind of thing is not possible without a rigid central control in government that we don’t want. So we have Tucson as it is, a lot of different dreams, not necessarily in harmony.
Looking towards the Santa Catalina Mountains, a few days ago actually. The snow isn’t nearly as visible on the mountains today. The Santa Catalinas, including Mt. Lemmon, form the northern boundry of Tucson. In reality, fringe communities bordering Tucson have spread around their western edge and up north of the mountains. Since growth is seen as a good thing by the powers that be here, the Catalinas plus the neighboring Rincon Mts to the east, should be a mountain island in the middle of Tucson in another 20 years.
On Wednesdays I visit 6th street in an attempt to photographically document a cross section of Tucson by photographing one block per week of that street, moving gradually north.
The block this week is between Aviation St and Columbia St. Businesses on that street include a hairdresser, a used car lot, a shop selling party supplies, a shuttle company making trips to Mexico and Phoenix, a locksmith, an auto detailing shop, an auto paint and supply shop, even a Mexican restaurant with a teepee on its roof. You would think there would be sufficient inspiration with all that for a few good photos but no, I have nothing much to show this week. No inspiration on my part. Nonetheless here is one photo and few more here.