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.