Paolo Soleri is well known especially for being the founder of the Cosanti Foundation (1956) situated in Scottsdale (Arizona), a place where both research and teaching takes place. The main aim of the foundation is the creation of Arcosanti, a self-sufficient city, for seven thousand inhabitants, the construction of which started in 1970. The Arcosanti experience, a cross between the Wrightian Broadacre city utopia and the inventiveness of the American young hippie culture, can be summed up by the term “arcology”, a neologism created by Soleri himself in order to introduce the ecological thinking into the field of architecture. Soleri wrote about topics such as low density and the wilderness of the American landscape in his most famous book, Arcology: City in the Image of Man. Soleri was born in Turin, where he graduated before leaving Italy in 1946 in order to study at the Taliesin Foundation, founded by Frank Ll. Wright in Arizona. Upon his return in 1950, he was called on to design the Ceramica Artistica Solimene (Solimene Artistic Ceramic) factory in Vietri (Salerno). Here, he was capable of designing a version of Wright’s continuous space. He also experimented the ceramic manufacturing processes, and introduced ceramic tiles in the design of the facades of the building. Once more, the American dream called him back overseas, where he has lived permanently since 1956. Soleri’s works have been present in the MAXXI Architettura collection since their acquisition in 2008, on the occasion of the “Paolo Soleri. Etica e invenzione urbana” exhibition.
Paolo Soleri, Study for TIPTOE Bridge Elevation, 1988 (part.)