Paolo Soleri; The Urban Ideal



The role of utopian thinking in architectural and urban design has always been fundamental. Utopian thinking is about breaking the limits and constraints and building a new visionary based on desirable values, this is when the thinker engages the most challenging issues the human society faces. Suggesting solutions for human terrestrial salvation, not necessarily feasible ones, but imaginable ones. Paolo Soleri is one of those influential figures, a polymath who dedicated his life to architecture, art, crafting and philosophy. He finished his education in fascist Italy in Politecnico di Torino and then immigrated to America and worked for Wright in Taliesin West for a while. He then established his own “urban laboratory” called Arcosanti in the high Arizona desert, where he experimented and examined the ideal models for a frugal, liveable, comfort, vibrant community based on the idea of Arcology (Architecture+Ecology). His life and career are outstanding and full of inspirations for those who are keen to know how he bridged the gap between utopian theory and actual practice.

The Urban Ideal consists of seven conversations with Soleri conducted between 1973 and 2000. These conversations depict not only his approach in architectural design and construction but also his ideas about religion, art, society, politics, environment and technology.


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