Born in Turin, Italy on June 21, 1919, Soleri is an Italian-American visionary architect and a distinguished lecturer in the College of Architecture at Arizona State University and a National Design Award recipient in 2006. He is widely known with the notion he created: archology, ie. architecture in line with ecology, explained in detail in his book Arcology: The City in the Image of Man (1969)
As early as 1955, the idea of environmental architecture appears in Soleri’s notes. An earlier example is the Mesa City: “Project Mesa: quest for an environment in harmony with man.” Over the next five years, Soleri would draw over a thousand feet of scrolls detailing the structures and landscape of this hypothetical city.
He made a life-long commitment to research and experimentation and founded the not-for-profit Cosanti Foundation. The Foundation’s major project is Arcosanti, a prototype experimental town, under construction in Arizona, accommodating 5,000 people, which was conceived to show how cities might be updated, according to the principles of archology.
A peculiar feature of Arcosanti’s architecture is the use of tilt-up concrete panels that helps the concrete blend in with the landscape. Most of the buildings are oriented toward the south to capture the sun’s light and heat. Roofs are designed to admit the maximum amount of sun in the winter and a minimal amount during the summer. The layout of the buildings is intricate and organic, to provide the people with accessibility to all of the elements.
Soleri received one fellowship from the Graham Foundation and two from the Guggenheim Foundation, as well as many notable awards.