Paolo Soleri – Design and the Arts Library Collections

A noted architect, urban planner, and artist, Paolo Soleri (1919–2013) was best known for Arcosanti, a planned community about 70 miles north of Phoenix.  A native of Turin, Italy, he earned a Ph.D. in architecture from the Polytechnic University of Turin in 1947 and apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin West and Taliesin.  He returned to live in Scottsdale, Arizona in 1956 and established the educational non-profit Cosanti Foundation in 1965 to develop his architectural and urban planning concepts. 

Arcosanti was intended as a model demonstrating Soleri's concept of Arcology, architecture coherent with ecology.  Arcology as envisioned by Soleri included dense urban development designed to maximize human interaction and access to infrastructural services, while conserving natural resources, reducing pollution, and fostering interaction with the surrounding natural environment.

Soleri was a lecturer in the College of Architecture at Arizona State University, a National Design Award recipient, and the author of six books and numerous essays. 

This collection originated in 1972 with a grant given to Professor Jeffrey Cook of the ASU College of Architecture to preserve materials about Paolo Soleri. It includes audiovisual materials, slides, photographs, ephemera, drawings, and newspaper clippings. Many audiovisual materials and slides have been digitized and are available on PRISM at Paolo Soleri Collection.

The original drawings, journals, sketchbooks, models and personal papers of Paolo Soleri are housed in the Paolo Soleri Archives at Arcosanti. Link to their website here for a small example of items in the Arcosanti Archive collection as they are continuing to build a larger on-line library.

Ceramic Apse under construction at Arcosanti
Ceramic Apse under construction at Arcosanti, 1972. Image from Paolo Soleri Collection, Design and the Arts Special Collections, Arizona State University Library