‘His inner circle knew about the abuse': Daniela Soleri on her architect father Paolo

Fifty years ago, his utopian desert city attracted acolytes from around the world. Can his legacy survive allegations of sexual abuse? Arcosanti looks much as it did when I visited in 2008: curving vaults, apses and amphitheatres with patterns inscribed in the concrete; circular windows, winding little paths, cypress trees, wind chimes tinkling in the breeze. This experimental city in the Arizona desert, founded in 1970, is like a set from a sci-fi movie for an alien civilisation more enlightened than ours. And in some ways, Arcosanti is more enlightened. Its utopian community was the brainchild of Paolo Soleri, an outsider architect who looked at America’s unfolding future of consumerism, urban sprawl and environmental destruction, and decided there had to be something better. Arcosanti was a showcase for his concept of “arcology” (architecture plus ecology), which argued that cities should be compact, car-free, low-impact, civic-minded. Planned as a city of 5,000, its population has, however, rarely risen above 150. By 2008, it had come to a standstill. “The main fault is me,” Soleri told me then. He was 89, and seemed resigned. “I don’t have the gift of proselytising.” But this was not the full extent of the problem, it emerged. We were all bowled over. Why didn’t we delve into it? She might have dropped the information hoping we'd come to her aid I thought, when he died, then things would be sorted out. They didn’t do anything Related: Steve Rose talks to visionary architect Paolo Soleri Continue reading...

Post a Comment