Paolo Soleri, architect, philosopher and a citizen of the planet. Fans have gone as far as to compare him to DaVinci and Gandhi, but critics believed him to be an ego driven eccentric with a failed experiment out in the desert. A student of Frank Lloyd Wright, Paolo's Utopian vision has been steadfast, urban sprawl is destroying the planet and the answer is to build mega-structure cities a hundred times the size of the Empire State Building. Explore the artist, the dreamer, the philosopher, the architect Paolo Soleri as he tries to build his new world filled with futuristic ideas and controversy.
Reviews / Quotes:
One of the more colorfully eccentric figures of the 20th century was Paolo Soleri (1919-2013), whose theories on urban redesign earned him a devoted cult-like following during his lifetime. Geoffrey Madeja's documentary offers a positive view of Soleri's work and vision, which was striking for its audacious plan of hyper-dense human habitation but was perhaps a bit too utopian for practical purposes. Born in Turin, Italy, Soleri grew up influenced by and drawn to urban settings, He was briefly a student of Frank Lloyd Wright in the late 1940s, but the film claims that Wright became upset when Soleri outshone him in a bridge design competition. Soleri returned to Italy in 1950 to oversee the construction of a ceramics factory, but came back to the U.s. in 1956 to pursue the concept of "arcology"--a melding of architecture and ecology--through the construction of an experimental community dubbed Arcosanti. But this project, worked on by students and volunteers over several decades, never achieved completion, and it is primarily used today as an educational forum to highlight Soleri's theories and celebrate his design skills. The documentary combines archival footage with interviews of admirers to serve up an entertaining portrait of a charismatic architectural outsider. Recommended. Aud: C, P. (P. Hall)