Winter 2013: The Arcosanti Project

The Arcosanti Project: Paradise Valley, Arizona

Home base will be Arcosanti, a prototype in arcology, urban laboratory and pioneer in green and passive solar technology. Hands-on participation in the Arcosanti Project will be the main focus of this course. Russell Ferguson will lead the course and students will produce a suite of drawings representing the unique views in and around the structures of the Arcosanti and Cosanti projects. As part of the studio course students will go on excursions to Taliesin West, Walnut Canyon, Tuzigoo and Kayenta which will help place the Arcosanti project in historical context.

Using the experimental greenhouses on site, students will set up stations and monitor climate conditions in several micro-climate zones within the Riparian and in the high steppe region of central Arizona, as well as zones within the greenhouses. Students will take part in the construction of a solar chimney to test the impact of a large tension membrane vis-à-vis temperature differentials, wind velocity and heat conservation, and collect the first data from the chimney. Lectures by Roger Tomalty on climate and responsible architecture will round out the course.

PLEASE NOTE: Living conditions at Arcosanti are adequate, but frugal. Much of the activity will be outside. Students should be prepared with proper footwear and clothing–rain gear, clothing layers for warmth as the desert can become very cold at night, sun cover and gloves. Sleeping bags and a day pack also are suggested.


Dec. 31, 2012, through Jan. 18, 2013

Academic credit:

Participants may earn up to six credit hours from the following courses:

  • Drawing Seminar:  Drawing into the Circle a Circular Perspective, GEST 340-02, 3 credit hours – The buildings at Arcosanti have continued to be constructed in a hands-on manner by Paolo Soleri and over 5,000 workshop participants since 1970 and offer a unique chance to test the ideas of perspectival systems in relationship to circular forms.  You will spend 2 days on observational drawings devoted to each building, of which there are 6.  Each day will present an opportunity to try out a new perspective system.  Weekly reviews and running critique will finish in an exhibition gift to the Arcosanti residents.  Pertinent films, archive visits, special propositions in drawing, and discussions in the evenings will round out this course that will mesh in an interdisciplinary manner with the Physical Geography course offered as part of this program.  Grades will be assessed through an evaluation of daily participation, steady work, growth, and manifest quality and participation in the final exhibition
  • Topics in Environmental Science: Arcosanti Expedition: City on the Hill, SCIE 3400-02, 3 credit hours – This course will involve study of the Riparian environment located in the High Steppe region of central Arizona’s Basin and Range.  Students will receive information through field studies, monitoring a meteorological station, talks on the natural history of the region and Arcosanti Project, investigation of human response to the local ecology, and will respond to said environment through hands-on activity in tandem with the Arcosanti Project.  You will study the local environment through hikes, lectures, and collection of field data.  The response work will involve a collaborative test Green House Structure.

Grades will reflect participation in seminars, talks, hikes, walks and work on the coursework as well as a review of a log/journal containing the information imparted. With faculty approval and permission, participants may also apply for directed study credit pursuant to a successfully completed directed study proposal signed by all appropriate parties, following the guidelines and requirements of a directed study. Visit the registrar's office for directed study forms and guidelines.


Russell Ferguson, associate professor in KCAI's School of the Foundation Year

Roger Tomalty, Arcosanti member
Roger Scott Tomalty holds a master of science degree from Arizona State University where he studied geography under Mel Marcus, and has worked in the UK, Netherlands, Italy and South Africa. Roger has been associated with the Cosanti Foundation and its Arcosanti Project since its inception. He assumes the roles of site coordinator and director of land use.

Program cost:

  • 6 credit hours:  $3,175
  • 3 credit hours:  $2,300
  • 0 credit hours (associated with KCAI):  $1,025
  • 0 credit hours (not associated with KCAI):  $1,425 

Cost includes tuition, dormitory housing with linens, food and ground transportation. For a dormitory room without linen, subtract $25; for camping, subtract $115; for a private room, add $145. Airfare to and from Phoenix, Ariz. is not included.

One out of four students are eligible for a Frank Lloyd Wright Kitchen Duty scholarship which decreases the cost of food. This is a work-trade award for which students will be assigned kitchen duty at Arcosanti. Interested students should indicate their interest on the enrollment and lodging form of the application. Students selected for the scholarships will subtract $225 from the program total. The scholarship is not available to students who opt for a private room.


Nov. 2: Completed applications including all required accompanying documentation and a $250.00 non-refundable program deposit are due. Program deposits must be paid in the business office located on the second floor of Vanderslice Hall. Completed applications must be submitted to the international studies coordinator in the Academic Resource Center on the second floor of Jannes Library.

Accepted participants will receive email confirmation early the following week at which time they will be asked to sign and return an acceptance form to the international studies coordinator in the ARC.

Nov. 16: The first half of the total program cost is due in the business office.

Nov. 30: Payment for the final half of the total program cost is due in the business office.

The application:

Download the information packet.

Download an application.

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