Clicking on the link below will yield information about the NY Center for Architecture Foundation, the one above will let you download a pdf about Arnold W. Brunner. Here is the link to the award announcement:
I'm still stunned, grateful and humbled to have such encouragement to move forward with research I've wanted to carry out for quite some time. My study, based upon my doctoral proposal, will examine the ethnosphere of arcology at Arcosanti. (The term “ethnosphere” is a gift from anthropologist Dr. Wade Davis, National Geographic explorer, writer, photographer, BC Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk, Faculty Associate/ Professor of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver – a gentleman, scholar, and genuinely nice guy with an excellent sense of humor. My grand-uncles would certainly have called a “mensch” - rightfully so - because he absolutely is one.)
My point-of-view, the perspective from which I have consistently viewed the place and its people, is intentionally a naive one. I do my best to maintain the objective distance of a voyeuse whose own identity is less important than what is perceived. I'm not as young nor am I as green now as I was at first encounter but I believe time and experience have helped make me better able to ask pertinent questions. (Thank you, Dr. Feynman!)
To personally thank all those who have made it possible to undertake this study would take the rest of my life; but privileged and grateful, I feel, to say the least, to have been accorded the award.
My research is dedicated to the memory of and conducted in honor of Corolyn "Colly" Woods Soleri. She was an ever-moving force behind the force of the architecture of Paolo Soleri.
This research study is a commitment I have made in part because despite my own experience of Cosanti and Arcosanti, my familiarity as well as my curiosity about the culture of the place, when I was writing "The Imaginable Archetype," my McGill MSW report on sandplay (downloadable, unillustrated, on <academia.edu>) I somehow left out the "playing in the sand" that Paolo Soleri did. To rectify my omission in that modest study of the "miniaturized" world of sandplay, I am picking up where I left off by locating materials for use of sandplay as a projective test at Arcosanti, a material cultural artifact itself: a laboratory within which such human ecology testing can take place.
I'm still pinching myself that this fantasy will be no more a fantasy; that with the support of the NY Center for Architecture and a boost from the Cosanti Foundation, Arcosanti will become a place that allows for witnessing a 'bringing together' of macro and miniature "playing in the sand."
To create this transformational space that will become quite real, the physical space to be used for this almost metaphysical undertaking will be, by design, wheelchair accessible. Handicap accessibility had not been mandated in 1970 when ground was broken on a mesa top at the geographic epicenter of Arizona for construction of Arcosanti; but it is now, and I am ethically bound to make sure that the creation of a "free but protected" space at Arcosanti for sandplay will make it possible for all those who participate in the research study to create a sandtray, including those who may no longer freely walk.
My venture is also a departure from the use of sandplay as a form of therapy. Although its use as a projective test has been documented in various clinical studies, the Brunner research study will make use of the "snapshot of the unconscious" afforded by sandplay in a non-clinical trial. I expect to do some rambling about this over the course of the next year, at least, in this blog. Please do check back as you see fit.
For now, here is a short-list of some questions I have begun asking Brunner-study people to answer:
- How did you hear about Paolo Soleri?
- What made you decide to come to Cosanti or Arcosanti?
- How did you actually, physically, get from your starting point to your destination?
- Please describe what constituted (or constitutes) an ordinary workday for you at Cosanti or Arcosanti?
- What do you feel or think was or is most memorable for you about your experience?
- What, if anything, would you like to have done differently? To do fifferently?
- Had you expectations before you arrived about what you would or might find?
- Had you wanted to realize anything particular from your time at Cosanti or ArCosanti; for example, were you wanting academic credit for your workshop experience?
- If you did obtain academic credit for your time, how has that been accomplished? - production of a model, delivery of an essay, or ...?
- What were some of your ideas about architecture and/or architectural design prior to your experience?
- Please elaborate on your professional or personal career aspirations prior to any experience of Arcosanti?
- Did your experience affect your personal or professional performance in any manner; if so, how or in what way(s)?
- Have you kept or do you keep in touch with others who were at Arcosanti? How would you characterize the nature of yoru connection?
- Is there more you'd like to say about your "hands-on" experience with Arcosanti?
Although this is not a clinical study per se, there will be clinical supervision. This is due to the fact that sandplay is known to 'dredge the unconscious' and I have seen up close that the unconscious is a force that must be reckoned with. Its use as a projective test will require the consent of study-participants for release of information entrusted to me. This is not because I expect the research will be widely broadcast, but because it is a matter of courtesy, common sense, civility, and conscience.
I have no doubt the Brunner research study will provide information of value to those interested in architectural education. It will also provide material for an institutional/organizational case study, a type of behavioral science investigation not currently available in any literature review of sandplay that I have seen.
The study must also address the paucity of ethnographic information with respect to what I imagine we might call "arcology literature." While arcology as a field of study is one many people have entered, I find an absence of consensus about what the field itself has to offer, what it constitutes, what it encompasses, much less how a social construction of architecture is impacted by its presence or its absence.
It has become my responsibility as well as my privilege to begin asking direct questions of people who came to Cosanti and Arcosanti while they were enrolled in registered schools of architecture or were graduates of registered architecture schools. There will be other blog posts about the interview questions in due time but for now it must suffice to assert that the study focus is education, particularly architectural education.
If you were in architecture school, an architecture school graduate, or an architecture school student who had left school when you came to work at Cosanti or Arcosanti (or engaged in a workshop of any type) and you would like to participate in the study, please use the contact page on this website to get in touch with me directly at your own convenience.
Of course, if you have any comments or questions about any of this, please use the contact form to let me know. Just be sure to include your current contact information, including a phone number if you have one, so an interview schedule can be arranged?
Thank you again. May this be of benefit.