But the phrase Chef Barber used caught my attention, fitted right snug and up tight with my memory of a night I spent in 1999 in Jerusalem, watching the sky from midnight to dawn.
The hue of the midnight sky was dark azure, so deep it seemed velvet in texture. It lightened gradually, translucence coming into it as if the darkness was somehow draining out of it. I'd never before seen the like. If I'd thought I knew something about desert skies, having lived under them in the American Southwest, the spectacle of that Jerusalem night made it clear to me that I'd had no more than the barest taste of how different they can be.
Back from Jerusalem, when I saw Paolo I told him about my family's house there, a fourplex in the Old City designed and built by my great-grandfather in the 1880s, to house his youngest daughter in the care of his mother after a cholera epidemic in their tiny village near Kovno in Lithuania had taken the life of his youngest son. That house, I told Paolo, is in need of restoration. Would he consider it? I asked. Would he consider taking on such a project?
He was intrigued, in part because of the location, in part because it was mine. Although such commissions were not really his thing, he immediately asked me what its orientation was, did the doorways face south - or ? What was the exact setting for this "little jewel," as he would have it.
Life is short and that's as far as we got with that "little jewel" my alte zayde built. But what remains for me is how that precise sense of compass Paolo possessed contributes so much to Arcosanti as extraordinary architecture, how it deserves our own consideration and is why I suggest that the first order of business for us is to Go With The Original Design For The Old Town.
It seems to me that that is what we can do, what we should do, for the sake of seeing How The Original Design Concept Is "All About The Geography" - which, as I said, mattered acutely to Paolo.
In support of this ides, here's an outline, of sorts, to indicate some steps we could take to help bring about that change, which is a change I suspect I'm not alone in thinking is essential:
I. Determine where Maintenance wants to be
A. Consider ancillary, related tool-using community needs, such as
b. instrument building
a. uses to which recycled metals are being put
b. uses to which recycled metals can be put
II. Design and build that new structure for Maintenance and its related workshop/craft functions with the assistance of all the parties who will be making directive use of that new structure. Include in the design process consulting with all those who've used Maintenance space for their own projects, or worked in Maintenance, etc.
!!. Ask Randall Schultz if he would care to manage an expanded ArcoMart and if so, where he feels it should it be located. Ask him also this Question: Could/should ArcoMart become a sellers' or producers coop to handle the sale of wares that have not been produced with a Cosanti Originals label or stamp so as to encourage other on-site development of site-based businesses?
III. Re-purpose use of the Lab Building! Return the Lab Building to its original design, which is to serve as the main entry point into the "Old Town" of Arcosanti, as its "Visitor Center" (and/or "Town Hall"). This will allow the Vaults to function for visitors as well as residents as the "town square" that defines the center of the "Old Town" site, delineating all the "east" structures from all the "west" structures.
IV. Once that's done or well underway, take a few more steps, like:
A: Retrofit the entire site for handicap accessibility. This, I think, has high priority. If Arcosanti isn't accessible, what does that say about the value system of arcology, about the universal value of arcology?
B: Invite BASEG to come from Germany after arranging with them as a contributing non-profit to take on landscaping the entry area of our newly re-visioned Visitor Center/'Town Hall' space as their summer project. I met this gang in summer of 2001 when they were transforming the entry of a meeting center in the Hartz Mountains between Braunschweig and Berlin. They're totally amazing. They know about Arcosanti and will love to help. See link below for a purview.
C: Retrofit the Cafe in Crafts III; turn the old Bakery space into a mini-exhibition space; move the Bakery equipment into the new Visitor Center.
Me, I think reorienting the site will make everything much easier. Don't maps make better sense if we start from a compass consultation to orient ourselves?
Huh, I bet this is all so obvious, every Arconaut who reads this was already thinking along these lines...