Paolo Soleri once said that "virtue and value are to be found beneath the heap of seldom-inspiring ineptitudes."
At the time, I found the phrasing odd but I figured I knew what he meant, Maybe that is why it took me a while to decide it was that odd phrasing, so characteristic of his writing, that largely accounts for why he's been so rarely cited in virtually all serious critical architectural writing..
In 2003, however, after he'd asked me to help him with some writing he was doing, I had a conversation with him that gave me a moment of hope. (Background first, then a quick recap of how it went):
I'd offered to help him with his writing when I first met him. A mere 51 years later, he took me up on my offer
When I handed him his hard copy after I'd blue penciled it, he sort of gasped in shock after he read it through and saw my markings.
"But that isn't what I wrote!" says he.
"Paolo!" I answer. "You know how when you make drawings for a building, those first sketches you make aren't how that building turns out, they aren't even how the final drawings look? Writing is like that!"
He got it right away, comprehended in a flash - but obviously he'd never thought of it before. Words that fell from his pen, he'd imagined, were cast in stone - or concrete...
After that little talk, I didn't see him let go of a basal faith that his written words were irremediable, but he did his best to let those of us working on his editorial team help him put his ideas into plainer English. Everyone on publications knew that anything he wrote, no matter its subject, would be at best a sliver of an echo of the voice in his drawings, but we darned well saw it mostly through a speculative lens: Its prismatic cultural distortion examines ideas of evolutionary and philosophic approaches to an architectural comprehension.
The reason I'm bringing this up now is that Italy will honor the "virtue and value" of its native son's legacy as a year-long event in 2019. Only 2 years away!
2019 is the year of what would have been his 100th birthday. What I wonder is what Arconauts around the globe can/will do to honor/express their stake in his indomitable will to design and construct the spectacular geometries he envisioned for ArCosanti?
What can they do to express themselves in that place? What have they retained of it? What would they like to have back from it? What needs to be done to make living there agreeable for themselves?
I'm aggressive about this, likely, being one of those whose kinaesthetic sensibility underwent an immediate transformation when first I encountered the constructions of his original atelier, Cosanti. "All The World's A Stage" was suddenly Buddhist insight.
Retaining connections counts. I blog here to emphasize that the visibility of place sensory experience shared with other earth-inhabitants is what makes me want us to share its stories. Because its stories are our stories, I want to know
- Who we are
- Where we come from
- What drives us
- When did we?
- HOW WAS IT FOR US?
Where to begin?
I'm starting where I am, starting from where I am, too.
What I do here is a story of mine own. There's a Forum page on this site, the Conversations page. It needs a co-administrator or 12! Doesn't matter where you are, Just offer your thoughts, leave comments,wax on. COME ON, WARRIOR CLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What about at least one Social Media Monitor? Someone with a get-directly-involved in the conservation conversation who'd help preserve focus, maintain composure, provide a safe container for everyone and still "let it rip" when it's time to see what'll happen. And when whatever happens, happens, people will take it from there, right?
What think you?