Sunday, April 21, 2013

Soleri Bells

Sometime about a decade ago, during our first year or two in Arizona, David and I had a chance to meet Paolo Soleri.  Paolo Soleri was an architect, who in his early days in America lived with Frank Loyd Wright's family.  He was a great thinker and the very person that created arcology - a happy marriage of architecture and ecology.

Soleri used to hold lecture talks/conversations on arcology every week either in his residence known as Cosanti, or in the city he built just outside of Prescott, AZ known as Arcosanti.  David and I attended one of these talks and bought one of Soleri's books: The Urban Ideal (a compilation of conversations with Soleri from the past 30 years).

Here are some of my favorite quotes and paragraphs from his book:

1. "I think our gravest problem is the technological rage, the rage to do whatever is possible.  There is a difference between desirable and feasible.  We create a catastrophic avalanche of junk because it is feasible, when we should be paying attention to what is desirable.  I call that 'a better quality of wrongness.'  We are getting very skilled - skilled at doing the wrong thing in better and better ways.'

2.  "It is necessity to make the city package small enough so that both the man-made and the natural are at your disposal.  There is a limit to the size of any organism, whether biological or para-biological.  The city is no exception to this imperative."

The pictures I added here are pictures of bells hanging on my front porch.  I bought them during one of the visits to Arcosanti.  These bells are one of the ways Soleri was able to raise funds to build his experimental city Arcosanti, which is still a work in progress.

If you are around Phoenix area, the Scottsdale Art Museum currently has models and sketches of Soleri's buildings and designs.  You can also visit in person his residence in Cosanti, or you can visit his marvelous city of Arcosanti.
Paolo Soleri died on April 9th this year.  He was 93.

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