China seems ready to accept a number of distorted, harmful attitudes typical of some western forms of living, and Solare is intended to offer a possible alternative. Not a dream, nor a visionary project, but a concrete, perfectly feasible idea inspired by the values of sustainability and respect for the environment, for oneself, and for the community one lives in.
"We are pursuing a rainbow here. But the rainbow is always receding from the beholder and we'll never catch up. The American Dream turns out to be a materialistic nightmare. (...) We are living in a dream that is not sustainable. Resources will be depleted, and families are breaking down from isolation. We have to realize how dangerously we are living", Soleri explains. "When you take a nation of billions and see them moving into this dream, what happens will be colossal in impact. We have to understand better what our needs are."
Limiting use of the automobile, rationalising energy consumption, establishing a healthy relationship between greenery and built space, promoting the concept of urban community as opposed to that of isolation are some of the principles inspiring Solare, a paradigm of the increasingly urgent need to turn toward behavioural and urban models that will allow us to restore man?s sense of his relationship with the earth he lives on.
Paolo Soleri in China
Pictures by Dennis Gerigk and the Cosanti Foundation