Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Soleri



The word came from Arcosanti today:

"Thank you to all the alumni, architects, writers, artists, journalists, publications, and many others who have shared their thoughts on Paolo Soleri and his work. We, at Arcosanti, are looking forward to continuing this work with even more rigor in the future.",

as well as a page in memoriam on the Arcosanti website.

It was significant to me, having spent a college summer working with the building teams out on the mesa, taking in his lessons and living his examples of space and form. Most memorable, to me, was the experience of place, which is situated at a very powerful locus in the Arizona desert. Thank you Paolo. So long....all those lectures in the amphitheater, building East Crescent at dawn in 1978. Experiencing the transcendent power of moonlit desert nights. Bells in the wind. Watching those billowing electrical storms from the apse...

The New York Times provided an excellent writeup, but there are books and books out there. Paolo was prolific in his writings and drawings, and a special volume worth having is the black book full of the renderings of his ecocity dreams. Ecotecture magazine has interviewed Richard Register, who outlined the origins of Soleri's urban approach, resulting from a conference at Arcosanti in 2000. He discusses the idea of the arcology as a node of conciousness that is part of the evolution of the human species, expanding on the concept of the "Omega Point" espoused by Teilhard de Chardin and carried out even further by Soleri's habitation experiment. Soleri took the concept to its most extreme in designs and models for future cities and even space habitats for the human seeding of the universe. He saw the future as infinite and intelligent, with the principles of natural processes at its core.

And the bells! You didn't leave Arcosanti without a bell; a city built from bells...