Arcosanti - An Urban Laboratory in the Arizona Desert.


September 22. 2017

Construction is continuing the project to improve the area be Unit 9 and 10 with a permanent shade structure. Here is a drawing from the planning department that show the anticipated installation of a new permanent shade structure as well as the completed ADA Parking Spaces.

Jona worked diligently to weld and finish the steel beams that will support the shade.

The steel beams were fitted into place before being painted with white enamel paint to protect them from rusting.

Construction manager Joel, with Landscaping manager Julie, teach the workshop participants Ellen and Rebecca the process of pouring concrete footings for the footings.

Here is the finished frame for the shade material. More to come.

(photos by Sue Kirsch, text by Shannon Mackenzie)

September 15. 2017

The construction of the visitor parking entrance fence continues. With the concrete poured for the foundation of the main fence sections, the construction crew has begun to install the wooden beams.

Here, Tristan and Eli are working to gather to bolt the wooden beams into place, bringing the fence a step closer to the final state. (photos by Rebecca Weeks, text by Shannon Mackenzie)

Over the next several months, the Cosanti Foundation Construction Department will be receiving a generous donation of materials from Yavapai-Apache Sand & Rock. They will be sending materials such as gravel and aggregate to be used in several different places across site. The first shipment of materials was received August 22nd, a mix of gravel and concrete mix.

A portion of the gravel was used to finish the ADA parking by the north side of the East Crescent. You can find out more about Yavapai-Apache Sand & Rock at their website here: or on their Facebook page:

August 25. 2017

The steam-box was custom made to prepare the wood for being shaped. The wood pieces were put inside the plastic pipe which is connected to a steam generator. Vaporized hot air is pumped inside the pipe and treats the wood for about one hour. When the wood comes out, it is ready to be bent into the form.

(photos by Sue Kirsch, text by Shannon Mackenzie)

The plywood was steamed and then bent with the framework crafted by our wonderful Randall Schultz. After bent, the pieces were dried out and glued together. After some sanding, they were given two coats of polyurethane.

Here, Randall and workshop participant Joseph clamp the softened wood into the form.

Pieces of metal were crafted in house for the window brackets and tracks, allowing for the windows to be opened and closed easily.

While the window frames were constructed, the round pieces of plexiglass were prepared, drilled into for brackets and hinges to allow the operation of the window. Arthur lays out the drilling schedule on the protected pieces of plexiglass.

The assembled windows were then installed at the East Housing unit. Currently, Randall, with the assistance of workshop participants and the maintenance crew are putting the final touches on the installed windows.

August 18. 2017

The construction of the visitor parking entrance fence continues. Tristan helped operate the concrete mixer to prepare the concrete to be poured into the wall forms.

(photos by lvb and text by smm)

Tristan and workshop participate Richard, move the readied concrete into a wheelbarrow to be transported closer to the forms.

With buckets, the construction crew moved the concrete from the wheelbarrows and carefully poured it into the wooden forms.

Workshop participant, Irene Pancotto, pours concrete into the form.

With the forms filled to the top, the crew used edgers to smooth out the surface.

They even imbedded a small Cosanti Original tile at the end of the form.

After our last look at the installation of plumbing underneath the concrete, more piping is installed through the metal framing that will hide behind the future dry wall. Here, Valentina and Shannon prepare a water hookup for the future fridgerator.

(photos by Sue Kirsch and text by Shannon Mackenzie)

Ron Chandler solders the recirculating pump which allows for constant and immediate access to warm water from the water heater.

Once the wall plumbing is finalized, the insulation is installed. This gray insulation is made from recycled jeans, and is safer to use than fiberglass BATT insulation.

Here Joel, Fernanda, and Erik begin the installation of drywall over the insulation and metal frame.

A very time consuming process, properly installing the drywall has taken a large portion of labor in the last several months. Kendra, Fernanda, and Arthur continue applying pre-mixed joint compound, covering seams and screws. The construction crew is currently working to put the final touches on all the drywall.

Lastly we covered Ron Chandler helping to excavate the flooring to install plumbing. Here, Scott Riley, Ivan Severi, and Fernanda Ayala Torres finalize the pipes installed below the level of the flooring. (Text by Shannon Mackenzie and photos by Sue Kirsch)

Julie Quinn and Rachel Holderbach help fill concrete over the excavations and finished plumbing.

Eli McAlister prepares a piece of the metal frame that will hold up the drywall.

Here Ivan and Eli stand in front of a partially finished drywall frame while Fernanda measures another segment to be installed.

Our famous electrical engineer, Dr. Sparks teaches workshop participants and the construction crew necessary information around the electrical panel.

Fernanda stayed after her workshop and worked closely with Dr. Sparks on the electrical needs of the East Housing unit. Here she holds the excess wiring that will hide within a future wall in the kitchen.

More to come.

August 07. 2017

Flavio Borrelli, Scott Riley, Ron Chandler, Tomiaki Tamura, and Juan Diego met to discuss renovation, opening the space to bring conditions closer to original designs as well as creating an ADA accessible residential unit. The project also set out to reveal more details of the structure, including the spiral design on the concrete ceiling.

(text Shannon Mackenzie and photos Sue Kirsch) 

Zach Mundt from the construction crew water-proofs the concrete walls before installing insulation. 

In preparation, parts of the concrete slab floors were removed to install new plumbing for the bathroom and kitchen. Ivan Severi observes as Ron Chandler removes necessary material beneath the slab. 

The crew installed insulation panels over the water-proofed concrete walls while the second floor balcony was prepared. 

Here is the set up allowing the glue to firmly attach the insulation panels. More to come.

August 04. 2017
The construction of the East Crescent parking continues. After excavation and preparation has been completed, the construction crew starts pouring. (photos by Sue Kirsch, text by lvb and Leah Ann) 

Grant and Tristan, using their team building skills, to reach the middle of the concrete slab for a finishing touch.


The construction of a new fence to upgrade the visitor parking continues. Another day of pouring for the workshop and the construction crew. It is important to start early because hot weather is not ideal for working with concrete and can contribute to weakening it, as well as difficulty with the finish work.

(text and photos lvb)

In the past day the crew prepared a 6 inch snap-tie form that is now ready to be poured.

The crew mixes the concrete on site and pours it into form.

Erik is showing a workshop participant, Christian, how to use the concrete vibrator. The concrete vibration is a building code requirement. The reason is that the air-bubbles normally present in the concrete when it is poured, can weaken it. The vibrations will eliminate these air bubbles.

The form is filled up.They are now ready for the finishing step.

They finish by screeding the concrete and edge it.