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8.02.2005 

genius of the week



Paolo Soleri born in Turin, Italy on June 21, 1919 was awarded his Ph.D. with highest honors in architecture from the Politecnico di Torino in 1946. He visited the United States in 1947 and spent a year-and-a-half in fellowship with Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin West in Arizona, and at Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

He returned to Italy in 1950 where he was commissioned to build a large ceramics factory, "Ceramica Artistica Solimene." The processes he became familiar with in the ceramics industry led to his award-winning designs of ceramic and bronze windbells and siltcast architectural structures. For over 30 years, the proceeds from the windbells have provided funds for construction to test his theoretical work.

In 1956 he settled in Scottsdale, Arizona, with his late wife, Colly, and their two daughters. Dr. and Mrs. Soleri made a life-long commitment to research and experimentation in urban planning, establishing the Cosanti Foundation, a not-for-profit educational foundation. Soleri's philosophy and works have been strongly influence by the Jesuit paleontologist and philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

The Foundation's major project is Arcosanti, a planned community for 5,000 people designed by Soleri, under construction since 1970. Located near Cordes Junction, about 70 miles north of Phoenix and visible from Interstate I-17 in central Arizona, the project is based on Soleri's concept of "Arcology," architecture coherent with ecology.

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