Well before breaking ground at Arcosanti, Paolo Soleri published a book full of proposed arcologies, and Soleri and others have added new ideas to the canon ever since. Here are a few of the most interesting:

Arcvillage I (1969)

Three sketches of different levels of Arcvillage 1. Author's scan from Arcology: The City in the Image of Man
Three sketches of different levels of Arcvillage I. Author’s scan from Arcology: The City in the Image of Man

One of the simpler designs in Soleri’s 1969 book Arcology: The City in the Image of Man is Arcvillage I. Designed for only some 9,000 people, this relatively small arcology sits at the center of traditional farmland and is designed to support farmers and their families. It’s designed to be built over a river, with a dam and reservoir providing water to canals throughout the village, as well as irrigating vegetable gardens at its base. Working outward from the center, one would also find orchards and grain farming. Interestingly, Soleri acknowledges the need for automobiles here, to support the movement of people in and out of the Arcvillage.

Sources and More Information:

  • Arcology: The City in the Image of Man by Paolo Soleri

Asteromo (1969)

The design for Asteromo, an arcology in space. Author's scan from Arcology: The City in the Image of Man
The design for Asteromo, an arcology in space. Author’s scan from Arcology: The City in the Image of Man

As far from the village as one can get lies Asteromo, an asteroid-city designed to float through the “black void of space” with 70,000 people aboard. 1969 was the peak of the space race, and Soleri was not to be left out, although he admits this design is more of a “simulation” than a definitive design. The asteroid spins steadily to produce a fraction of earthly gravity and maintain tension-the whole system is apparently inflated, although it’s not quite clear what this means. Plants are grown throughout at a proportion of 10-20 square meters a person, producing oxygen and food. The city would also provide for research into astronomy, physics, and biochemistry.

Sources and More Information:

  • Arcology: The City in the Image of Man by Paolo Soleri

Crystal Island (2007)

A model of Crystal Island, the proposed arcology near Moscow designed by Foster and Partners. Credit: By http://agency.archi.ru/images_linked.html?rt=news&id=4799&img_id=17734, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15074878
A model of Crystal Island, the proposed arcology near Moscow designed by Foster and Partners. Credit: By http://agency.archi.ru/images_linked.html?rt=news&id=4799&img_id=17734, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15074878

Foster + Partners, the designers of Masdar City – also widely considered at least a partial arcology – designed another major project, this time in Russia. Crystal Island, which is planned to be the largest structure on Earth by floor space, would stand nearly 1,500 ft at the center of a park on the Nagatino peninsula near the center of Moscow. The iconic outer structure is, in fact, a breathable “second skin” designed to buffer the main building from weather and help with temperature control. The interior features hotels, apartments, offices, shops, and various cultural institutions.

Unfortunately, backing for the project was lost in the 2009 recession, and it seems to be on indefinite hold.

Sources and More Information:

Lean Linear City (2007)

A visualization of the Lean Linear City, with its skinny glass buildings, greenhouses, and agricultural or undeveloped outskirts. Credit: Cosanti Foundation
A visualization of the Lean Linear City, with its skinny glass buildings, greenhouses, and agricultural or undeveloped outskirts. Credit: Cosanti Foundation

Paolo Soleri proposed the Lean Linear City (LLC) in 2007 as an adaptation of his ideas. As the name suggests, an LLC would be a miles long, relatively narrow arcology, consisting of modules of two parallel buildings 20 or more stories high. The LLC, while acting as a compact, mixed use urban area in itself, also provides the means to connect existing cities – and future arcologies – with minimal impact, utilizing various efficient methods of transit to move people between places.

The LLC design also incorporates renewable energy with wind and solar along the line of roofs, and urban agriculture with an “energy apron” of greenhouses along the edge and farmland just outside the city.

Sources and More Information:

New Orleans Arcology Habitat (2009)

A visualization of the proposed New Orleans Arcology Habitat, designed by architect E. Kevin Schopfer. Credit: Ahearn Schopfer on Flickr.
A visualization of the proposed New Orleans Arcology Habitat, designed by architect E. Kevin Schopfer. Credit: Ahearn Schopfer on Flickr.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was left to reconstruct a city that had already been nearly destroyed once. A group of designers wondered if, perhaps, it was time to try something different. The New Orleans Arcology Habitat (NOAH) is a proposed floating community on the shores of the Mississippi, built to house 40,000 people in a massive pyramidal structure. The 1,200 ft building would be carbon neutral, with solar array bands, wind and water turbines, passive heating and cooling, and water recycling systems. The theoretically wind- and waterproof structure would also support 3 casinos, an entire school district, and a health care facility.

Sources and More Information:

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