Arcosanti - An Urban Laboratory in the Arizona Desert.


Our dear friend and college Toni Fragiacomo died yesterday. We received the news that he passed away peacefully at home with his family in Italy.

There is so much to be said about this lovely man that was part of our crew for many years. News of his sudden passing is bringing back shock and sadness from his friends around the world.

Toni first came to Arcosanti for his workshop in March 1999. He joined the staff and worked here over the years in many capacities. If we look back at all the connections with Italian participants, including special workshops with Roma Tre, Mendrisio, and Reggio Calabria, he brought a lot of Italian energy to the project [swr].

He became a very close friend to Paolo Soleri and was one of the people that stayed with him a lot of the time before his death.

Most recently he worked with us in the Soleri Archives for the past years, translating some of the Italian publications about Soleri, notably "Soleri. La Formazione Giovanile 1933-1946" book by Antonietta Iolanda Lima.

Even so he only spent part of the year with us, he was an intricate part of our archive team and we will miss his quiet presence, good laughs and serious scholarship, and hard work always, very much committed to Soleri's and our Quest.

Whether it was serious work or discussion, helping with recycling, cleaning the chicken coop, whatever the task, he set an example of enthusiasm and involvement, as well as getting the job done propperly. And he was a pleasure to work with, no stress or bullshit, just easy to the task at hand.

We will miss you. Fortune smiled on us to have had you as part of our team and Arco family.

April 28. 2017

Here are a few more photos of the "Celebration of Life" for Cliff Hersted that took place on Wednesday, April 26. 2017 at the High Desert Heritage Museum and Visitors Information Center.

[photos by lvb]

April 26. 2017

A memorial celebration for Cliff Hersted took place on Wednesday, April 26. 2017 at 1pm at the High Desert Heritage Museum and Visitors Information Center, 19600 E. Stagecoach Trail, Cordes Junction.

[photos by lvb]

Friend and co-worker Lance Cope.

Our good friend and compadre Charles Quinlan has passed away.

Charles was Professor Emeritus of Architecture at CAL Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA. He came to Arcosanti for his first workshop in 1975 and since then faithfully attended a workshop almost every year until 2007. He was a staunch supporter of Paolo Soleri's work and came every summer to give a helping hand in construction.

A quiet and gentle man with a sparkle in his eye. I remember many summers and there he was, arriving in his van, ready to go to work, a familiar and welcome sight, "Hey, Charles is back".

A hard worker always. I remember him teaching evening classes in camp to the young and old students, in the screened harbor, with long on-going discussions. 

So supportive in later years, he would send articles he found for the archives, and his Soleri collection was a welcome addition to the Soleri Archives here at Arcosanti.


Charles Quinlan, here with his wife and son, and Arcosanti resident Linda Fournier, at the Colly Concert in 2009.

Published in San Luis Obispo Tribune on Apr. 12, 2017:

Charles Quinlan Charles William Quinlan, age 87, died at home in San Luis Obispo, California on April 5, 2017.

He was born February 28, 1930, in Carbondale, Pennsylvania to William and Gertrude Quinlan. After High School, Charles worked as an Apprentice Draftsman for an Architect in New York City while attending Columbia University. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1950-1954 during the Korean War.

He then married Irene Jamison on February 14, 1954. The newlyweds moved to Ithaca, New York where Charles attended Cornell University from 1954-1959 and obtained a bachelors degree in Architecture. After graduation he worked as an Architect and taught Architecture at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

He moved his family to San Luis Obispo, California in 1966 after accepting a teaching position at California Polytechnic State University. He immensely enjoyed his students and teaching Architecture and City Planning from 1966 until his retirement in 1994. Charles took a sabbatical from 1974-1975 and moved his family to Sheffield, England where he taught part-time and completed his Master's degree in Building Science at the University of Sheffield. He was also awarded the Distinguished Teacher Award from Cal Poly in 1974.

Charles was dedicated to Arcosanti, a unique city (Arcology) building project in Central Arizona dedicated to exploring architecture, alternative urban planning and our environment based on the designs of Paolo Soleri. He completed 25 summer workshops from 1975-2003.

He and his wife, Irene, were strong supporters of Pacific Light Opera and volunteered in various capacities and Charles had small acting parts. Charles also enjoyed being a Life Drawing class participant and volunteer for many years at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.

Mr. Quinlan is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Irene Quinlan; three children: Robert Quinlan, Patricia Quinlan-Margreiter and David Quinlan; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren; as well as a brother, Frank Quinlan. He was preceded in death by his sister, Dorothy Piche.

The cremation will be handled by Coast Family Cremation and the family will hold a private memorial gathering. In lieu of any flowers, you may make a donation in the deceased's name to the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art at Sign his guestbook at - See more at this link.

April 14. 2017

A Celebration of Life for Cliff will be held Wednesday, April 26. 2017 at 1pm at the High Desert Heritage Museum and Visitors Information Center, 19600 E. Stagecoach Trail, Cordes Junction.

The idea is to have an exhibition of his art along with a video with photos from his life, music he enjoyed at various time in his life, to share memories/fav stories/personal thoughts or messages to Cliff. His ashes will be spread at a later date, some at the petroglyphs on Arco land and some up at Perry Mesa. If any of you have something to contribute please get in touch. If you are off-site just scan and send with a description to

[text by Lance Cope]

April 10. 2017

Our co-worker and friend Cliff Hersted passed away peacefully this morning. We mourn his passing and we celebrate his life full of accomplishments.

Cliff was the son of John Hersted and Clara Claussen and graduated with the following degrees:

BA in Anthropology 1981 California State University,  Sacramento
MA in International Affairs 1989, California State University, Sacramento

Chinese-Mandarin Certificate, The Defense Language Institute, 1983

Cliff came to Arcosanti in September 1992 after an adventurous life as an Intelligence Operations Specialist in the US Marine Corps, and 10 years as an Army Reserve Officer. He worked for the IRS and later, here at Arcosanti, helped many people with their taxes. He also had especially fond memories of owning a bookstore for many years.

Here at Arcosanti he managed the visitors center for many years. He worked in the bronze foundry and was responsible for Paolo Soleri's Special Assembly production here at Arcosanti. He also taught silt-cast and cement-cast panel workshops to visiting groups. For some years he was Arcosanti's liason to the Arizona Office of Tourism.

photo: Cliff is teaching intern Chieko Shimizo the art of assembling and casting Paolo Soleri's hand-carved styrofoam links in June 2005.

Here are Mary Hoadley, Bruce Colbert and Cliff Hersted while cleaning up the Spring Vally area for the Upper Agua Fria Watershed Partnership in 2006.

Cliff was a sculptor, he mostly worked in stone and metal. Here is some of his work in the Resident Artshow in February 2011.

Cliff and Paolo Soleri in November 2011.

Cliff was an instrumental force in establishing the Cordes Lakes Visitors Center, as well as an integral part of the 'High Desert Heritage Museum' and the 'Friends of Agua Fria' association, see this link.

He was active in the Highway 69 Chamber of Commerce and in the Upper Agua Fria Watershed Partnership.

He was also an avid hiker and researched, photographed, and logged petroglyphs and native ruins in our area.

And he gave archeological tours to view the petroglyphs and ruins, as well as tours to see birds and wildlife in our area.

Here is Cliff speaking at the 2016 CORDES AREA HERITAGE FESTIVAL on October 15. 2016.

The "Desert Viking", a quiet force behind the scenes, but he certainly made things happen with persistance and determination. He will be missed.

December 16. 2016

Shannon Moore contacted us in April 2015. She is a Master of Journalism student at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and wanted to do her Thesis about Arcosanti.

Here is Shannon [fifth from left] during the seminar week of May 2015.

She contacted us a few days ago with a link to the completed project, take a look here.

Congratulations! Very well done! Thank you Shannon!

November 16. 2016

Our good friend Bruce Colbert has passed away.

Bruce worked for the local BIGBUG NEWS and the PRESCOTT COURIER between 2006 and 2011.

He spent a lot of time at Arcosanti and wrote many very supportive articles about Paolo Soleri and the project.
Here are Mary Hoadley, Bruce Colbert and Cliff Hersted while cleaning up the Spring Vally area for the Upper Agua Fria Watershed Partnership in 2006.

Kim & Bruce Colbert with Charlie and their golden retriever, Chewey, on a hike at Arcosanti during 2006.

[photos courtesy of Cliff Hersted]

September 19. 2016

Welcome to AURORA JUNE JESKY, born on June 21. 2016, a few hours after the Solstice this year, to proud parents Erin and Richee Jesky.

Arcosanti alumna Erin Jesky, formerly Erin Jeffries, did her workshop in 2002 and lived and worked at Arcosanti for many years as our dynamic Public Relations representative.


photo by Jens Kauderphoto by Jens KauderFew more images captured here by Jens Kauder (1996 Arcosanti alumnus from Germany) are from his recent visit to Cosanti, Paolo Soleri's original crafts and architectural studios in Scottsdale.

This outdoor Ceramic Studio is a large earthcast concrete shell and beams encompassing the work area. Plaster and earthen molds surround a central work area where ceramic bells and planters are crafted.

Clay is mixed with water to make slip, which is poured into either earthen or plaster molds. As the slip begins to dry, it shrinks away from the outer edges of the mold. Excess slip is drawn out. Designs are carved into the bell while the clay is still partially damp. Once dry, the bells are fired in the kiln and assembled.

More images by Jens' are featured on the previous posts whose links are shown below:

Arcosanti Images

Cosanti Images

photo by Jens Kauderphoto by Jens Kauder

The 20-ton concrete pool canopy (shade) was cast over an earth form at ground level and lifted into place by two cranes. The shell roof is supported by 3 used telephone poles in each of the four corners. Concrete color pigments were painted on the earthen mold and transfered to the finished concrete surface when completed. The Swimming pool was installed after the canopy was in place. The structure offers a partial shade over the pool and deck area.

Paolo Soleri used the swimming pool every day while he lived and worked at Cosanti.

[Photos by Jens Kauder & text by Tee]