The Twelfth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectual Design Excellence 2010
Berkeley Prize 2010

Marina Sapunova Proposal

History is architectural.

"Ignoring of biological ecology rules might kill the man, but ignoring of cultural ecology rules might kill the human ethics. And there is no precipice between these concepts as there is no clear boundary between nature and culture." (D. Lihachev “The ecology of culture”, 1984) Human interconnection with his past is as strong and solid as his insuperable passion of forecasting the future. From generation to generation our existence creates the space “between” past and future, the link that supports the march of history. Social and cultural human’s memory permits a person to analyze the centuries-old experience and technical progress enables these riches to be carefully improved. What if we deny our historical heritage, our basis for self-identification, as it was in the Soviet Union, where all the old cultural and social traditions had been destroyed? The new type of a man, the “soviet” one had to start building the light future curiously enough without any base or “reference point”. In such life conditions the man weakened morally and ethically. The Residential House for Government which I have chosen as the architectural theme of my essay offered its inhabitants the best living conditions for that times, but were comfortable conditions just enough for normal social and cultural self-development? Probably no. D. Lihachev called it “the ecology of culture”. He put into it the complex of thoughts that is necessary for the human’s “spiritual, morally life, for his “settled spiritual riches”, for his attachment to the native place, for his ethical self-discipline and stable social life”. That is why the «Acrosanti» project is very interesting for me, because it gives an opportunity for deeper understanding of social art in architecture and of the idea of cultural ecology.

Description of the program: (“Acrosanti” Arizona, USA)

«In 1970, the Cosanti Foundation began building Arcosanti, an experimental town in the high desert of Arizona, 70 miles north of metropolitan Phoenix. When complete, Arcosanti will house 5000 people, demonstrating ways to improve urban conditions and lessen our destructive impact on the earth. Its large, compact structures and large-scale solar greenhouses will occupy only 25 acres of a 4060 acre land preserve, keeping the natural countryside in close proximity to urban dwellers. Arcosanti is designed according to the concept of arcology (architecture + ecology), developed by Italian architect Paolo Soleri. Arcology is Paolo Soleri's concept of cities which embody the fusion of architecture with ecology. Arcology theory holds that this leanness is obtainable only via the miniaturization intrinsic to the Urban Effect, the complex interaction between diverse entities and organisms which mark healthy systems both in the natural world and in every successful and culturally significant city in history».

This project is an attempt of creating the unique artificial architectural environment based on the intersection of such disciplines as ecology, philosophy, history, sociology, urban design, new technologies of alternative energy and power efficient building. And one of the main terms is careful and protective attitude towards environment.

Although the project is mostly aims at creating a new settlement, a new urban structure, it nevertheless fuses the centuries-old knowledge and experience supplementing them with the contemporary technologies. Perhaps this is its principal value, the one that is frequently absent in modern cities: harmonious and wise interaction between the aged and the most recent architecture and urban structures, between cultural, social traditions and heavy land prices.

Today the “Arcosanti” project offers different types of participation (from 12 months to 1 day). To my mind the optimal one for me is the five-week workshop which enables to get to know about the history of project, Paolo Soleri’s theory and also gives possibility of taking part in constructing.

Five-week workshop Week 1: Seminar Week Seminar Week is an introduction to the theory and concepts of Paolo Soleri. Week 2: Field Trip and Work Opportunities During the second week of the Five-week Workshop, participants have the opportunity to take a field trip to the Phoenix metropolitan, stay at Cosanti, Soleri's original studios started in mid-1950's) and at times assist small on-going projects there. Weeks 3, 4 and 5: Hands-on Intensive During the last three weeks of the Workshop, participants work in one of the following departments: construction, facilities maintenance, agriculture, archives, or landscaping.


TUITION AND FEES: • The total cost of the Five-week workshop is $1,350. The fees cover tuition, meals and accommodations. Arcosanti Workshop Coordinator HC 74, Box 4136, Mayer, AZ 86333, USA • They require a $50 non-refundable registration deposit • Round ticket cost $2000

From Elena Birukova, Head of chair of architecture, Vladimir State University. Recommendation letter: “Dear Berkeley Prize jury, I know Marina Sapunova for already 4 years as one of the most talanted students of our University. I’ve worked with her on different projects and international competitions in social architecture design (Prisoned 2009, Social design foundation), urban design (Tempelhof, Berlin, Germany) and some local competitions and conferences. During this period she has proved herself as a very responsible, active and creative person. For two years she has been taking part in summer architectural schools. Also I know her as a good team-worker: open, communicative and hard-working. I’m pleased to recommend her as a candidate for participating in Acrosanti project at Arizona. Having familiarized with her competition essay and with the current proposal and history of the project, I consider such an activity as a real chance for Marina to extend her thoughts and get deeper knowledge in social, moral and ethic aspects of architecture, to find something new about heritage value, ecology value and all that is very important about cultural ecology value. I believe this project could be useful for her not just in view of the current competition task, but also for the future researching and professional work. Birukova Elena,”

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Marina Sapunova, Vladimir State University, Vladimir, Russia
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