Eventually I decided his odd phrasing was so characteristic of his writing that likely accounted for why he was rarely cited in any critical writing on architecture, but a conversation I had with him in 2003 did give me hope:
He'd asked me to help him with some writing he was doing (I'd offered to do that when I first met him, it only took him 50 years to let me.)
When I handed him his hard copy after I'd blue penciled it, he kind of gasped after he'd read through my markings.
But that isn't what I wrote!" says he
"Paolo!" I answer. "You know how when you make drawings for a building, the first one isn't the same as the building or even the final drawing? Writing is like that!"
He got it right away, comprehended in a flash - but obviously he'd never thought of it before. Words, he'd imagined, that fell from his pen were cast in stone. (Or concrete...)
We worked on his writing for a few years after that, I didn't seem him let go of a basal faith that his written words were irremediable but he did let those of us working on his editorial team put his ideas in plainer English. (And we all knew that what he wrote was at best a very thin echo of what he was able to convey in his drawings.) .
What this brings to mind is the fact that Italy, his homeland, will honor the "virtue and value" of his legacy as a year-long event in 2019 - only 2 years away! - because 2019 is the year of what would have been his 100th birthday. And while Italy is already busy as it can be, striving to make much of its native son, what I'm wondering is what can/will Arconauts around the globe do to honor/express their own stake in having helped abet his indomitable will to design and construct the spectacular architectural geometries he envisioned for ArCosanti?
Chatting with others who had worked closely with him, I was given the idea of encouraging us to share personal recollections, anecdotal stories - what it was like to experience working with him.
To help facilitate that pursuit - just to have a place to begin - I started re-formatting the Conversations page on this website so if you wish to offer your thoughts immediately, in addition to commenting here, there's a place to wax on as much as you like.
I'll also investigate how we can do this on various other websites.
Most likely there should be several monitors involved, to preserve focus and maintain composure, people who might (or might not) get directly involved in the conversation, .But in the main, I'm mostly thinking "let it rip" - and we'll just see what happens....
What think you, gentle reader?