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Whatever happened to Paolo?

Thirty years since it started you might have hoped for Arcosanti to have achieved its intense and monumental goals. But life isn't always quite like that and Paolo Soleri's visionary arcology has still a way to go--if the site's slightly ambivalent website at is anything to go by. Ambivalent? There is a subheading 'An Urban Laboratory?' and the home page is largely given over to a big ad for music performances--and wind bells. A really self-confident operation wouldn't have put that question mark after 'Laboratory'. Maybe it should have gone after 'Urban' since this is in the middle of the Arizona desert. You may also say that there is something symbolic in the fact that Soleri, still visibly fit--and active as an internal design critic, visits the place only twice a week. Visits? You ask in horror. Doesn't he live there like some mediaeval archbishop dispensing advice about enhanced arcological living to the faithful plus instructions about silt cast concrete? Arcosanti was knife-edge stuff from the beginning. But I think it appealed to the megalomania lurking in the recesses of most architects' psyches. What if it actually worked? And now that the Master only visits, is it too late?
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Title Annotation:Browser;
Author:Lyall, Sutherland
Publication:The Architectural Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Aug 1, 2004
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