Paolo Soleri


1919 - 2013

Working with Wright at Taliesin West, the Turin architect Paolo Soleri discovered two things: that he found the Arizona desert fascinating, and that he did not share his master’s passion for automobiles. These two discoveries were a lifelong influence. It was 1947, and after returning for some time to Italy, where he established Solimene – a ceramic company based on the use non-contaminating techniques –, Soleri would end up returning, this time with his wife and two daughters, to Arizona, where he would settle for good. In Arizona he studied traditional mud architecture, and used his skills and knowledge on the use of ceramic materials to implement a series of visionary projects: compact and pedestrian cities as alternatives to the then imposing sprawl. The most ambitious of them all, Arcosanti, began to be built in 1970, in the light of Soleri’s theses on ‘Arcology’ (architecture and ecology), with the hippy culture in full bloom. 7,000 apprentices from 35 countries took part in its construction, gathered in a community of acolytes in a Wrightian fashion. Today Arcosanti lives on, and the master’s remains rest there.

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