Arcosanti - An Urban Laboratory in the Arizona Desert.

Soleri Architecture

Two members of the Soleri Archives crew are visiting the Ceramics factory in Vietri sul Mare, Italy, to see this project that Paolo Soleri designed in the early 1950's and to view the recent installation of a Paolo Soleri sculpture infront of the factory. Soleri designed the sculpture in 2005.

in the photo: Here is Soleri Archives volunteer Toni Fragiacomo taking a photo of the sculpture from inside of the Ceramica Artistica Solimene. Paolo Soleri designed the sculpture in 2005.

[photos by Soleri Archives volunteer Leah Ann Walker]

see the links in 7/20/2016 posting for additional photos of the factory and some photos of Paolo Soleri's drawings, as well as of the construction of the Solimene factory.

in the photo: the inside of the factory.

In 1952, Vizenzo Solimene, an entrepreneurial ceramist, approached Paolo Soleri about designing a ceramic factory in the southern Italian town of Vietri sul Mare. In two years, the Solimene Ceramics factory stood erect and has since been a bright example of Soleri's visionary architecture.

The daring façade of the building serves a double function. The glass sections allow for natural light to penetrate deep inside, while the solid wall sections, clad in ceramic cones made at the factory, promote the Solimene products.

For the Solimene Factory, Soleri was asked to provide production, commercial and residential space. He put the residential unit on top of the main structure. From there, the entire building is united by a spiral ramp that envelops the central interior space. The building's location on a steep hill makes clay delivery from the top easy. From there, the clay travels down the ramp through the different stages of production, until it reaches the bottom level where it is sold at the Solimene gift shop. The interior of the space breathes with light coming from street windows and roof skylights.

Exerpts from — "Soleri: Architecture as Human Ecology", by Antonietta Iolanda Lima, 2000

“The building, which is both a work of art and a place for production, defies classification. With his design, Soleri came up with a wholly new idea that assimilated and reinterpreted the ancient custom of creating a courtyard to serve as a central space, a laboratory for daily life that linked the inside and the outside.

A spiraling ascent brings the site’s various levels indoors. This is architecture that allows for both movement and rest, arranged continuously from ground to roof, all in dialectic with what is produced."

in the photo: Toni Fragiacomo with the daughter of Vizenzo Solimene, the present owner of the factory.

"Three of the floors are involved in the production cycle, starting at the third level and descending to the ground level, where the finished products arrive ready for direct sale or for loading onto trucks that enter on a road specially built for this purpose.

A terrace garden covering the top of the whole building was conceived as a public exhibition space between sky and landscape. To reach it, the visitor ascends the indoor spiral ramp and therefore experiences all phases of production, thus entering the complex man-made dialectic.

The climb from bottom to top highlights the decreasing width of the cantilevered floors in the large interior space while also providing a continuous view of ongoing work and the transformation of clay.

This structure provides an extraordinary promenade built on complex networks. It banishes the loneliness and monotony of the traditional factory and evidences the individual autonomous actions required for production, expressing the rhythms of the various phases. It offers exchanges, relationships, and comparisons, encouraging an optimal stimulating life – work as an ethical value."

The Soleri Archives crew is on an adventure to visit the Ceramics factory in Vietri sul Mare, Italy, and to explore the installation of a new Paolo Soleri sculpture infront of the factory.

in the photo: Soleri Archives volunteer Leah Ann Walker, Arcosanti planning department manager Flavio Borelli, Soleri Archives volunteer, architect Toni Fragiacomo.

[photos by Leah Ann Walker]

One of our archive interns compiled a series of reports about the Ceramics factory in 2009, see the following links on our web-site:

link 1
link 2
link 3
link 4
link 5

There is an extensive chapter about the factory in the book "Soleri, Architecture as Human Ecology" by Antonietta Iolanda Lima, Jaca Books, also in an Italian book "Paolo Soleri e Vietri" by Gianluca Frediani, published by Officiani Edizioni in 2000.

in the photo: Paolo Soleri sculpture with bell assemblies.

in the photo: the Paolo Soleri Special Assemblies attached to the sculpture.

This report continues on Friday, July 22. 2016

photo by Tomiaki Tamuraphoto by Tomiaki TamuraAn entrance to the Arcosanti Amphitheater features a tunnel formed by low-hanging branches of a pistachio tree. This deciduous tree provides a variety of color palettes throughout the changing seasons. In the evening, a string of LED lights mixed into the leaves overhead welcome the visitors.

[Text and photos by ttmr]

photo by Tomiaki Tamuraphoto by Tomiaki TamuraOnce the passers-by clear the narrow tunnel, the Amphitheater defined by surrounding multi-functional architecture of the East Crescent Complex prompt them to expand the visual exploration of the space.

Canal Convergence | Water + Art + Light is in its third year and took place on the banks of the Arizona Canal at The Scottsdale Waterfront between Soleri and Marshall Way bridges from Thursday, Feb. 26 - Sunday March 1. 2015. This event was free and open to all ages.

One of the installations for this years event is "Migration", a work by Saskia Jorda

[photos by Mary Hoadley]

This event offered innovative artworks by local and international artists, hands-on activities, live music, performances, and Artisan Market's urban marketplace experience.

"The Super Moon on May 5th starting it's path in the sky over the pylons at the Soleri Bridge and Plaza."

This terrific photo came in from Phoenix photographer Dennis Scully. THANK YOU!

The opening and official dedication of the SOLERI BRIDGE AND PLAZA took place this last weekend on the Scottsdale Waterfront and all of it was spectacular.

Festivities started Friday morning with a group of VIP guests on an intimate tour of Arcosanti with an extended visit to the Soleri Archives.

Archive Director Tomiaki Tamura talked about Soleri's prolific creativity and displayed several sketchbooks and scrolls.

The VIP reception for the bridge opening was scheduled from 5 pm to 7 pm and was very well attended.


[photo: YoungSoo Kim]

VESSEL performance  group, directed by Rachel Bowditch, was part of the scene Friday evening and Saturday for the public dedication.

The group moved in exquisite slow motion, drawing water from the canal, walking from the canal sidewalk onto the bridge ringing Soleri bells, bringing the little red buckets of water onto the bridge, walking about in two's and three's, becoming still sculptures in various places, very lovely.


[photo: Tomiaki Tamura]

Renowned classical pianist Sonya Lee, who has performed at Arcosanti many times, flew in from New York City to play at the reception.

We received so many gorgeous photos that this report will continue over many of the next postings.


[photo: YoungSoo Kim]

CONGRATULATIONS to Paolo Soleri and the many people involved that made the SOLERI BRIDGE AND PLAZA possible, to a beautiful and highly successful opening event.

We are still gathering many photos and will continue to report on the event in the coming days.

[photo: The VIP opening on Friday evening, December 10. 2010]

This coming week-end is the official dedication and opening of the PAOLO SOLERI BRIDGE AND PLAZA.

Friday, December 10, 2010
VIP Tour of Arcosanti –
Provided by Ultimate Art & Cultural Tours
9:00am – 7:00pm / $150 (includes food & transportation)

Enjoy an intimate guided tour of Arcosanti, Paolo Soleri’s prototype town designed to house 5,000 people.
Located in Cordes Junction, just 65 miles north of Scottsdale, the project is based on Soleri’s concept of “arcology,” architecture coherent with ecology.
Arcology advocates cities should be designed to maximize the interaction and accessibility associated with an urban environment; minimize the use of energy, raw materials and land; reducing waste and environmental pollution; and allow interaction with the surrounding natural environment.

This full-day tour also will take you behind-the scenes and into the Arcosanti archive, which contains work by Paolo Soleri not on display for the public.
Following your tour, which includes transportation, lunch and snacks, you’ll return to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art for a guided tour and an up-close look at the special exhibition “Bridges: Spanning the Ideas of Paolo Soleri,” led by the exhibition’s curator.

The tour includes a VIP preview party reception at the Soleri Bridge and Plaza.
For Tour reservations, please call 480-994-ARTS(2787)

Saturday, December 11, 2010
VIP Tour of Cosanti
9:30am – 5:00pm / $130 (includes food & transportation)
The first stop on this full-day tour is Paolo Soleri’s Cosanti, where an expert guide will give you a behind-the-scenes look at the renowned Italian architect’s unique arcology concept.
You’ll also witness a pouring of Soleri’s beautiful bronze wind bells.
This special event also includes a driving tour showcasing selections from the Scottsdale Public Art collection, special access to the Soleri Bridge dedication, a private talk with the Soleri Bridge project manager, a private tour of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art exhibition “Bridges: Spanning the Ideas of Paolo Soleri,” and a guaranteed seat at the panel/lectures.
This tour includes transportation, lunch and snacks.
Purchase tickets by calling the Box Office.
For Tour reservations, please call 480-994-ARTS(2787)

Official Public Dedication
of the Soleri Bridge and Plaza
11am – 2pm (remarks begin at 12pm)
Come to downtown Scottsdale and be among those to walk the Soleri Bridge and Plaza on the day of its official dedication.

Join Mayor Jim Lane, artist Paolo Soleri, representatives from Cosanti Foundation and Scottsdale Public Art in celebrating the completion of this new landmark at Scottsdale Waterfront. Speakers, live music, children’s activities, educational information, and artists from Scottsdale Artists School painting live. Ceremony takes place at Scottsdale Waterfront, just west of Scottsdale Road just south of Camelback in downtown Scottsdale.

Panel/Lecture at SMoCA
2:30 – 5:00pm / The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is pleased to partner once again with in bringing relevant and lively discussions about architecture to the public. Admission is free, but seating is limited so reservations are required. Reserve free tickets by calling the Box Office.

Organic Architecture and the Work of Paolo Soleri:Keynote lecture by Alan Hess, architectural critic and author of “Organic Architecture: The Other Modernism”. Soleri’s body of work will be discussed in the national context of the organic architecture movement. The fragile yet beautiful Paolo Soleri Amphitheater at Santa Fe Indian School (currently endangered), will be addressed as international effort galvanizes to save this important and rare structure.

Soleri’s Principles in Action:A Panel Discussion Using slides and illustrations, Phoenix Architect Will Bruder, AIA and three other architectural experts will discuss Soleri’s principles and influence on architecture today. The conversation will be facilitated by Tim Rodgers, PhD, Director of Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
[image: Douglas Architecture, Scottsdale, AZ & text: Ultimate Art Tours web-site]


Cosanti Foundation Reacts to Demolition Plans for Paolo Soleri Amphitheater in Santa Fe

Architect Paolo Soleri hopes to find alternatives to demolition.

On June 8, 2010, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported that the Paolo Soleri Amphitheater at the Santa Fe Indian School “is scheduled for demolition.”

The theater was designed in 1965 by Italian architect Paolo Soleri, who is most noted for pioneering concepts in the fields of environmental architecture and alternative urban planning. Many alumni of the Santa Fe Indian School and local residents of Santa Fe are outraged at the idea of losing the theater, a well-loved venue for performing arts events and graduation ceremonies for the students.

Paolo Soleri said “I am willing to do anything to support the preservation of the theater.” Architect Doug Lee said about the demolition plans “It would be a great tragedy when we actually built the theater working with local Indian students.”

The Cosanti Foundation looks forward to supporting any effort to preserve, restore, and maintain the Paolo Soleri Amphitheater as a cultural and historic resource in Santa Fe and to work with a variety of organizations to both prevent demolition and to raise funds to help the theater continue to serve both the Santa Fe Indian School students and the Santa Fe community.

Soleri last visited the theater when he traveled to Santa Fe to participate in the 2009 Celebrate Sustainable Santa Fe Festival. Roger Tomalty, who has worked with Soleri for over 40 years, accompanied Soleri during the visit and “was surprised how enthralled Paolo was with the structure.” On his visit, Soleri said “I rediscovered the value of the theater.” Cosanti Foundation executive Tomiaki Tamura describes the structure: “The aesthetic vocabulary of the theater resonates with the environment and architecture of Santa Fe, then and now.”

In 1965 the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) approached Paolo Soleri to design an outdoor amphitheater at its campus in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Soleri’s design called for a dramatically upwardly-shaped, earth-cast concrete structure to cover the performance area. The theater has since been used for events ranging from internationally publicized rock concerts to IAIA graduation ceremonies to the annual Native Roots and Rhythms Festival.

From the book Soleri: Architecture as Human Ecology by Professor Iolanda Lima, Copyright 2003 by The Monacelli Press:
“In 1964 Lloyd Kiva New, president of the Institute of American Arts and a friend and admirer of Soleri, commissioned him to build a three hundred seat open-air theater that would both serve its traditional function and “frame the moon and sun. Soleri accepted the assignment… What he was after was not so much stage mobility as synergy among the participants. He achieved this by creating a stage and seating with no division, a place where actors and musicians could interact with spectators.”
“Soleri said of the project: ‘We were hoping actors would not just use the stage, but also the area above it, and that’s why we designed the bridge and other platforms. It was meant to be similar to the Elizabethan theater, with action taking place on different levels… The notion of using the local landscape, geology, and natural materials was an integral part of the process. We molded earth and arranged the arches, then we excavated trenches and poured concrete to form the walls, using a technique that captures the consistency and shape of the earth itself.”

Paolo Soleri recently said “Lloyd Kiva New was the mover that had the imagination and determination to have the outdoor theater at the Santa Fe Indian School. The construction began as the cooperation of the school’s students headed by Lloyd himself and me with the Cosanti Foundation of Scottsdale, Arizona.
Imagination was at the origin of the theater, imagination is essential now. This American culture is bent on demolition in all fields. It is a deleterious way of making history and forfeiting memories, the very memories cutting the landscape of history for country in search of culture and civility.”

Soleri’s primary work has been in city design and planning, rather than focusing on individual buildings. He is most known for the alternative planning concept arcology (architecture + ecology) as a method of reducing human impact on the environment while improving quality of life. Soleri often describes “the orchid vs. the forest,” comparing a single building as an architect’s beautiful “orchid” to a complex, interacting city as the “forest.” To Soleri, the amphitheater is an orchid he is proud of.

? There have been many rumors recently that the PAOLO SOLERI AMPHITHEATER in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is scheduled to be demolished.

The theater is located on the campus of the Santa Fe Indian School and many of the beautiful old buildings on that campus have been destroyed in the last couple of years.

On June 7. 2010, these rumors were finally confirmed with an article by George Johnson, posted in The Santa Fe Review. The article was sent to us by Ryan S. Flahive, Archivist at the IAIA, College of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe. Thank you, Ryan!

? According to this article, the Superintendent of the Santa Fe Indian School, Everett Chavez, publicly announced, on New Mexico’s 94 Rock’s Morning radio show, that
the Paolo Soleri amphitheater will be destroyed as part of the school’s “aggressive educational agenda.”
The reasons stated were yearly maintenance costs of $95,000.00 to $99,000.00,
and a sum of $578,000.00 to bring the theater up to code, which would include compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

? From the earliest rumors to the actual announcement by Mr. Chaves and to date, there has been a terrific response against the destruction, from students and alumni of the Indian School as well as from the architectural and general community.
There have also been many many heartfelt testimonials from people that attended events at this venue over the years.

We at the Cosanti Foundation will do whatever we can to support the preservation and restoration of the theater as a cultural and historic resource.

Stay tuned for more information on how to help!

One of our interns put together a series of web-postings about the Paolo Soleri Amphitheater in St. Fe, see Today@Arcosanti from January 2. 2009 - January 12. 2009.