Paolo Soleri was a gifted architect of Italian origin. He is renowned for his gifted designs and respected for his thought leadership and philanthropic spirit in his field. His work has touched Arizona in so many ways. And now a curated collection that enables the public to follow and understand his journey is on display at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. This retrospective entitled, “Paolo Soleri: The City Is Nature” covers his 60 year career as an artisan and a visionary.

Studying under the infamous Frank Lloyd Wright, Paolo Soleri was a member of the team that built Taliesin West in Arizona, and at Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin. It was during this time that Soleri gained his own critical acclaim and recognition for a bridge design that was displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

During a career interlude he took up a love for ceramics and this skill set Soleri in another creative direction. This new passion was essential in his step into philanthropy. Soleri modernized the ceramics process and in turn earned himself commendation for his designs and specifically for his production of ceramic and bronze wind-bells. Soleri’s legacy has been enriched through the 40 years that these wind-bells have served as a source of funding for his theoretical work sold at Arcosanti and Cosanti.

This urban laboratory became world renowned. The Cosanti Foundation, a 501C 3 educational focused charity showcases the philosophy that Soleri focused on, which was influenced strongly by the Jesuit paleontologist and philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Soleri’s focus with the Cosanti Foundation was to introduce Arcology (architecture coherent with ecology). A creation of Soleri, this city that was built for 5k was designed to maximize human interaction with complete access to shared, cost-effective infrastructural services; conserve water and reduce sewage; minimize the use of energy, raw materials and land; reduce waste and environmental pollution; increase interaction with the surrounding natural environment. Soleri passed away in 2013 and this initiative has sadly been on hold ever since.

Through the exhibit at the SMoCA visitors can have a bird’s eye view of Soleri’s exciting journey. Showing until January 28th this display is one that will enrich visitors understanding of an Arizona legacy and also to and also understand the genius of this creative force.

Tickets available here

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