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 in Arizona and Taliesin in Wisconsin.  In 1965, Soleri established the educational non-profit Cosanti Foundation in the Scottsdale-Paradise Valley area north of Phoenix to develop his architectural and urban planning theories, in particular the 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, conserve natural resources, reduce pollution, and foster interaction with the surrounding natural environment.  Soleri was also 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.  The audiovisual materials in the collection document construction and other activities at Arcosanti as well as in-depth discussion and analysis of Soleri’s architectural concepts and philosophy. The slides in the collection document buildings designed by Paolo Soleri and also include pictures of Paolo and Colly Soleri, activities and buildings at Cosanti and Arcosanti, and architectural models, drawings, and designs by Soleri.