Modernist Melody?

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.



Filed under architecture, Downtown

3 responses to “Modernist Melody?

  1. Very nice colourful photo and an interesting reflection on life in cities – and city planning. A very important subject!

  2. A gift of doing this blog for me was discovering downtown Tucson. I had thought of it as mostly ugly and mismatched architecture, not to mention driving on the confusing one-way streets and finding parking. Instead I have just become fascinated. Not even sure why exactly but I love going down there to take photos. And I found places near downtown where I could park easily for free and then just walk wherever I’m interesting in going.

  3. I just love colors on buildings. It makes me wish I was in AZ. I’ve been around the Phoenix area. I really want to live in AZ someday.

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