Paolo Soleri and the Arcosanti Project

Written by buzz. Posted in Design

Arcosanti

Arcosanti

Paolo Soleri was born in 1919 in Turin, Italy.  He received highest honors from the Politecnico di Torino in 1956 and came to the U.S. in 1947 to spend a year and a half at Taliesin West in Arizona and Taliesin in Wisconsin with Frank Lloyd Wright.

Soleri returned to Italy in 1950 where he was commissioned to build Ceramica Artistica Solimene, a large ceramics factory.  Here he learned the concepts for his famous Arcosanti bells.

He settled in Arizona in 1956 and committed his life to Cosanti Foundation, a non-profit educational foundation teaching his philosophy and works under the influence of Jesuit paleontologist and philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

The Foundation’s major project is Arcosanti which I have visited.  It is a planned community under construction since 1970 and is 70 miles north of Phoenix, AZ.  Based on the concept of Arcology, it marries architecture with ecology.   It is a self-sustaining model of communal living.

Since 1970 over 6,000 visitors had participated in the construction project, it was only 3% complete as of 2005.   The sale of the Arcosanti bells help to keep the Foundation alive, I have two of them and they are beautifully designed. 

Soleri wind bells are made from either ceramic or bronze.  You can watch them being made in the foundry on the premises, the red hot molten metal being cast to make each one by hand.  I have had mine for many years; it is a treasure and a reminder of the dream of a man in the desert of Arizona.

Solari has received many awards for his work and written several books.  He has three honorary doctorates and two fellowships from the Guggenheim in New York, NY.

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