Paolo Soleri

Soleri, Paolo, 1919–2013, Italian-American architect. He studied architecture in his native Turin (Ph.D., 1946). Soleri's works have been influenced by both Frank Lloyd Wright, with whom he apprenticed in the 1940s, and Antonio Gaudí. He developed an architecture that expresses a functional and organic way of life. Soleri produced extraordinary designs for vast, environmentally sensitive, compact, high-density, and self-sufficient communities. These spaces, which he termed arcologies (architecture mixed with ecology), are proposed alternatives and responses to overpopulation and urban sprawl and decay. Soleri and his students and assistants began building an arcology, called Arcosanti, in the desert north of Phoenix, Ariz. in the late l960s. It was conceived as a prototype to show how cities might be updated, minimizing energy and transportation use while promoting human interaction. The community continues to operate and expand, and is visited by thousands of tourists each year. Soleri was the author of Arcology: The City in the Image of Man (1969), Arcosanti: An Urban Laboratory? (1987), and other books.

See his Sketchbooks (1971); J. Strohmeier, ed., The Urban Ideal: Conversations with Paolo Soleri (2000) and L. McCullough, ed., Conversations with Paolo Soleri (2012); D. Wall, Visionary Cities: The Arcology of Paolo Soleri (1970); A. I. Lima, Paolo Soleri: Architecture as Human Ecology (2000, tr. 2003).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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