One of the greatest experiences for Beth, as a 19 year old from Ohio who hadn’t been to very many places, was to leave home and fly out to Scottsdale, Arizona to be a student of Paolo Soleri’s at the Cosanti Foundation. Beth was an architecture student then, and her chance to work at Cosanti gave her a rich experience. Oddly, Cosanti is probably better know for its bronze cast Soleri bells than for its architecture.
When we planned our trip across the US, Cosanti was among the first places marked on the map. As we crossed the state line into Arizona, we were counting down the days. Then sad news came that Paolo Soleri had died, at age 93. His passing made us wish that more people knew about his ideas on urban planning centered on the concept of arcology – where ecology and architecture go hand-in-hand.
His work is intriguing and very closely attuned to the environment – the desert surroundings in Arizona. When we were in Vietri, Italy nine years ago, we turned a corner and the most wonderfully designed and magical building faced us – Ceramica Artistica Solimene. We spent some time inside and even bought some dinnerware. When we were in the office, filling out the paperwork for shipping to the U.S., we glanced up to see a framed article stating that Paolo Soleri was its architect in 1950. Of course! He was unique and so was his work.