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Paolo Soleri


Biography

The long career of Paolo Soleri (1919-2013) spanned more than 60 years working in Italy and the United States in the fields of architecture, urban planning, sculpture and ceramics. A designer and theoretician, Soleri authored numerous monographs and essays.
After graduating from Politecnico di Torino, the Polytechnic Institute in Turin, in 1946, Soleri moved to the US, where he worked in Taliesin West, one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s studios. When he returned to Italy he opened Fabbrica di Ceramiche Solimene in Vietri sul Mare (Salerno) before going back to the US to settle in Paradise Valley, Arizona.
When he opened his own practice, Soleri began an incessant career as a theoretician concerned with issues in ecology, community life, social ethics and global overcrowding.
Issues of extraordinary relevance, which Soleri addressed with enthusiasm as early as the 1950s, when he set up Cosanti, a school and building site in which students from Arizona University experiment with communal way of living, constructing an experimental ecological environment which they finance by selling their ceramics.
Soleri is associated with the concept of “arcology”, a term he coined in the sixties to combine the concepts of “architecture” and “ecology”. Soleri designed self-sufficient hyperstructures with a high population density which minimise environmental impact and optimise movement, “temporal and spatial relationships and energy issues”.
This enormous project was implemented in Arcosanti, a town of about 5 thousand in Arizona which Soleri began building in 1970 with the aid of hundreds of volunteers: an “urban laboratory” which “contrasts with the big cities and their degraded suburbs” and has an essential role to play in the evolution of the “city of the future”.
Soleri’s most important projects before and after Arcosanti have been only partially constructed, and all have to do with “arcology”. These include Mesa City, a city of 2 million to be built on 55 thousand acres designed for Manhattan (1958-1963), and the Hyper Building, a construction/site designed for Tokyo which rises 1 km into the air and can house 100 thousand people.
Soleri was awarded a Golden Lion at the International Architecture Exhibition in Venice in 2000.

Paolo Soleri Selected Projects and Works

- The Lean Linear City Project, China, 2005
- Scottsdale Bridge Project, Arizona (USA), 1997
- Hyper Building project, Tokyo (Japan), 1996
- Glendale Community College Amphitheater, Arizona (USA), 1996
- Asteromo 94 – Model of spatial arcology, Tsu Mie Center of Arts (Japan), 1994
- Pedestrian bridge, Scottsdale, Arizona (USA), 1992
- Arcosanti 2000, 1991
- Rainbow Pulse Bridge for Bering Strait (Russia), 1988
- Santa Fe Amphitheater, Santa Fe, New Mexico (USA), 1966
- Plan for Mesa City, a city of 2 million people on 55 thousand acres in Manhattan, New York (USA), 1963
- Establishment of the foundry and production of aluminium and bronze sculptures and windbells, Cosanti, Paradise Valley, Arizona (USA), 1960-present
- Establishment of the studio and production of windbells, dishes, vases, bowls and lamps, Cosanti, Paradise Valley, Arizona (USA), 1955-present
- Ceramic windbells, Santa Fe, New Mexico (USA), 1954
- Ceramica Artistica Solimene, Vietri sul Mare (Italy), 1953
- Artistic production of fabrics, papers and ceramics, Turin/Vietri sul Mare (Italy), 1950-1954
- Dome House, Cave Creek, Arizona (USA), 1949
- “The Beast” bridge design, 1949

Official website

www.arcosanti.org

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