Gusippena Scuffi – an Arcosanti Resident Volunteer from Italy – is planning on going over to the EarthShip International HQ at Taos NM in June for about a month of training on how to build EarthShips. The program is designed to train people on the basics of EarthShip construction that was initiated by founder Michael Reynolds
Comparisons are made between the two projects as both were started by maverick architects seeing the need for change away from ecologically unsustainable building construction models.
However there are major differences in relation to Arcosanti and EarthShips. For one thing Paolo Soleri founder of Arcosanti waxes endlessly about the evils of Sprawl, Consumerism and Car Culture, while Reynolds seems to side-step many of those issues. At Arcosanti the focus is on higher densities and alternatives to car culture. Taking a different approach, the EarthShip community seems to emphasize the need for getting off the grid and building with local and recycled materials.
It would be interesting to combine the innovative use of recycled materials (such as aluminum cans, bottles and tires) that are associated with EarthShip construction with the idea of a integrated and reasonably densified Arcology themed built environment. The key is seeing that each project has their focus and also their blind spots and that combining the best of the two could make for a rather interesting and in my view could make compelling statement forwarding Ecological Design on a practical level.
Garbage Warriors is a documentary about Michael Reynolds that documents his struggle to realize the EarthShip vision. One interesting aspect of the story apparently is that earlier in the development of his work the state and local authorities tried to shut him down because it did not fit to code. However he was able with the help of someone who knew how to work the political system in Santa Fe to pass a bill in the state legislature to allow the continued construction of EarthShips.