Scottsdale Celebrates Paolo Soleri’s Lifework With Museum Exhibit


Paolo Soleri is featured in an upcoming exhibit is called Bridges: Spanning the Ideas of Paolo Soleri It will be shown at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMOCA).

Several of us from the Arcosanti tribe are going to down to the SMOCA “VIP” Soleri Bridge Exhibit launch on Friday the 9th @530.

The Soleri exhibit coincides with the construction of the Scottsdale Pedestrian Bridge & its eventual completion in Dec and bridge dedication on Dec 11,12,13.

A portion (about 3ook) of the 4 million dollar bridge budget supports our work, via a comission for Soleri’s design & also through a bronze wind bell installation.

The bridge celebrates Soleri’s lifework on a practical level, facilitating pedestrian transportation over a irrigation canal that cuts across downtown Scottsdale.

From a recent post about the SMOCA exhibit on the Today@Arcosanti Blog:

Paolo Soleri conceived the ‘Pulse Bridge’ in 1988 for the New York cityscape. He designed it so as to alter its own stress configuration according to the traffic loads it carries and the temperature and wind variations. It does not so much react to such stresses as it dynamically adapts to them. This is achieved by suspending the whole structure on two sets of hinges and altering the weight distribution by way of four ballast spheres, constantly changing in weight because of the water volume they contain that is pouring in or spilling out of each. Temperature differential and wind loads will suggest asymmetrical ballast content.

Bridges have been a major passion for Soleri and he has designed Arcologies that operate as bridges along with attempts to design dams levees and airports as multi-use facilities. One of the things that Soleri has long sought to incorporate into his architecture is the idea of using facilities we see infrastructure as human habitats. Similar to the visionary engineer Bucky Fuller, these ideas are often derided as silly and unrealistic. Yet, if we had designed the New Orleans levees as Soleri envisioned using his Lean Linear City Arcology model, we would now have not only an levee to protect the inner core of the city, but also a linear city model that might actually have been an appropriate and ideal application of such a novel idea.

The Scottsdale Pedestrian Bridge is the first large scale urban project that I know of that has led to the construction of a bridge based on one of Soleri’s bridge designs.

The bridge is a way to honor Soleri, who has contributed so much to a unique and pioneering vision of architecture called Arcology, that many still believe best represents the future of cities and humanity. With ecocity themed projects like Norman Foster’s Masdar City in Abu Dahabi slowly becoming reality, such a vision may not be as far off as we think.

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