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Portrait of Paolo Soleri

Paolo Soleri

Architect
June 21, 1919 – April 9, 2013

Paolo Soleri was an Italian-American visionary architect and lecturer in the College of Architecture at Arizona State University with a life-long commitment to research and experimentation in design and town planning. He 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 coined the term arcology, a portmanteau of “architecture” and “ecology,” a field of creating architectural design principles for very densely populated, ecologically low-impact human habitats. In 1970, he began constructing Arcosanti, an urban laboratory testing ground for this idea.

Among his more interesting legacies are the urban effect philosophy (or esthetogenesis: a description of the universe’s general propensity to reshape itself into complex conscious structures), and his extrapolation of a hypothetical cosmic endpoint called the Omega Seed, adapted from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s concept of the Omega Point.

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Cover image for Arcology: The City In The Image Of Man

Arcology: The City In The Image Of Man

Visionary architect Paolo Soleri challenges us to think of cities as biological entities, and introduces us to a philosophy for a new kind of urban living: the arcology, a city-sized organism of a thousand minds designed to exist in harmony with nature. Split into two sections, the book first explains the moral and economic necessity for humanity’s transition to arcological urban landscapes, and proposes that the general purpose of life is aesthetogenesis: the universe progressively complexifying and interconnecting, consciously reshaping itself into compassionate structures. In the second section, Soleri showcases 30 potential arcologies (including one space habitat) through the use of incredibly detailed diagrams, and explains how each was carefully designed to integrate itself economically and ecologically into the world.

Conversations with Paolo Soleri

Cover image for The Bridge Between Matter And Spirit is Matter Becoming Spirit: The Arcology of Paolo Soleri

The Bridge Between Matter And Spirit is Matter Becoming Spirit: The Arcology of Paolo Soleri

This volume brings together the essays of Paolo Soleri in which he sets forth his philosophy of arcology (architecture ecology) and pleads for a new stage in the evolution of human society—a move toward compactness, or miniaturization, of our cities. To do so we must build solids rather than veneers; we must flee from a “flat” cityscape that debilitates and suppresses the individual. Arcologies, three dimensional macrostructures, are for populations of thousands or of millions.

Cover image for The Omega Seed: An Eschatological Hypothesis

The Omega Seed: An Eschatological Hypothesis

The Ωmega Seed brings together Paolo Soleri’s writings on eschatology, that branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of mankind. Soleri believes that the simulation of the divine will provide man with a blueprint for creation not only of our physical environment but also of a new stage in the evolution of mankind. His work is against the things of a materialistic society, toward a redesigning of the urban civilization of Earth.

The Urban Effect: A Doctrine of the Infant God