The living phenomenon is order wedging itself into the relatively inertial spin of physical thing.

Technology and Cosmogenesis (1985)

Portrait of Paolo Soleri

Paolo Soleri

Architect
June 21, 1919 – April 9, 2013

Paolo Soleri was an Italian-American visionary architect and lecturer in the College of Architecture at Arizona State University with a life-long commitment to research and experimentation in design and town planning. He spent a year and a half in fellowship with Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin West in Arizona, and at Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

He coined the term arcology, a portmanteau of “architecture” and “ecology,” a field of creating architectural design principles for very densely populated, ecologically low-impact human habitats. In 1970, he began constructing Arcosanti, an urban laboratory testing ground for this idea.

Among his more interesting legacies are the urban effect philosophy (or esthetogenesis: a description of the universe’s general propensity to reshape itself into complex conscious structures), and his extrapolation of a hypothetical cosmic endpoint called the Omega Seed, adapted from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s concept of the Omega Point.

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Cover image for Arcology: The City In The Image Of Man

Arcology

The City In The Image Of Man

Visionary architect Paolo Soleri challenges us to think of cities as biological entities with his concept of the arcology—a massive, self-sustaining, urban “organism of a thousand minds” designed to exist in harmony with nature. He proposes that the purpose of life is aesthetogenesis: the universe progressively complexifying itself into compassionate, beautiful structures. Soleri showcases 30 potential arcologies through incredibly detailed diagrams, explaining how each integrates itself economically and ecologically into the world and fulfills his aesthetogenic criteria. The scope of his vision ranges from cities designed to span canyons or float on the oceans to cube-shaped metropolises suspended on pillars, and even a space habitat. While comprehensive, Soleri’s focus lies primarily on realizing arcologies that meet humanity’s moral imperative for sustainable urban living.

Cover image for Conversations with Paolo Soleri

Conversations with Paolo Soleri

Paolo Soleri’s architectural-philosophical thinking sets forth fundamental reformulations to address the globalizing world’s most urgent environmental, urban infrastructural, and socio-ethical problems. In this book, Soleri’s most recent ideas are distilled into an accessible overview for the general reader. Soleri proposes to transform our societal systems while raising sights to a radically long-term and humanistic perspective. Among the interrelated concepts outlined here are Soleri’s highly original ideas of orchid and forest, the city as hyper-organism, the urban effect, and the love project. These inspiring ideas are acutely timely in light of current environmental trends: responding to global climate change, radically reducing oil dependence, embracing frugality and reduced consumption, while simultaneously confronting issues of suburban sprawl, urban renewal, smart land use, and wise food production.

Cover image for Technology and Cosmogenesis

Technology and Cosmogenesis

A hopeful antidote to the destruction of man’s environment caused by technology divorced from spirituality. Paolo Soleri, the renowned architect, urban planner, process philosopher and alchemist of the new spirituality of science and technology, challenges us to let go of our absolutized views of human life and creation. By this release, he holds that we can be healed by a cosmos in the process of becoming divine.

Cover image for The Bridge Between Matter And Spirit is Matter Becoming Spirit: The Arcology of Paolo Soleri

The Bridge Between Matter And Spirit is Matter Becoming Spirit

The Arcology of Paolo Soleri

This volume brings together the essays of Paolo Soleri in which he sets forth his philosophy of arcology (architecture ecology) and pleads for a new stage in the evolution of human society—a move toward compactness, or miniaturization, of our cities. To do so we must build solids rather than veneers; we must flee from a “flat” cityscape that debilitates and suppresses the individual. Arcologies, three dimensional macrostructures, are for populations of thousands or of millions.

Cover image for The Omega Seed: An Eschatological Hypothesis

The Omega Seed

An Eschatological Hypothesis

The Ωmega Seed brings together Paolo Soleri’s writings on eschatology, that branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of mankind. Soleri believes that the simulation of the divine will provide man with a blueprint for creation not only of our physical environment but also of a new stage in the evolution of mankind. His work is against the things of a materialistic society, toward a redesigning of the urban civilization of Earth.

The Urban Effect

A Doctrine of the Infant God

Like a cosmic infant slowly learning to walk, reality is toddling towards its divine potential in this essay by Soleri. Through the urban effect of dense interactions, lifeless matter evolves in complexity and miniaturization, transforming into living spirit. The cosmic journey culminates when all moments coexist in esthetic equity.

Mentioned in 3 documents

Terence McKenna

Countdown Into Complexity

At his weekend workshop Terence led attendees on an intellectual odyssey traversing psychedelics, virtual reality, technology, culture, spirituality, and the evolution of novelty over time. Blending philosophy, futurology, and mysticism, he explored humanity's relationship with nature and machines, challenging participants to think critically, create freely, and keep an open mind. The goal was to expand consciousness and uncover deeper truths about existence.

Tyler Volk

Metapatterns

In the interdisciplinary tradition of Buckminster Fuller’s work, Gregory Bateson’s Mind and Nature, and Fritjof Capra’s Tao of Physics, Metapatterns embraces both nature and culture, seeking out the grand-scale patterns that help explain the functioning of our universe. Metapatterns begins with the archetypal patterns of space, both form-building and relational. Tyler Volk then turns to the arrows, breaks, and cycles that infuse the workings of time. With artful dexterity, he brings together many layers of comprehension, drawing on an astounding range of material from art, architecture, philosophy, mythology, biology, geometry, and the atmospheric and oceanographic sciences. Richly illustrating his metapatterns with a series of sophisticated collages prepared for this book, Volk offers an exciting new look at science and the imagination. As playful and intuitive as it is logical and explanatory, Metapatterns offers an enlightening view of the functional, universal form in space, processes in time, and concepts in mind.

Erich Jantsch

The Self-Organizing Universe

The evolution of the universe—ranging from cosmic and biological to sociocultural evolution—is viewed in terms of the unifying paradigm of self-organization. The contours of this paradigm emerge from the synthesis of a number of important concepts, and provide a scientific foundation to a new world-view which emphasizes process over structure, nonequilibrium over equilibrium, evolution over permanency, and individual creativity over collective stabilization. The book, with its emphasis on the interaction of microstructures with the entire biosphere, ecosystems etc., and on how micro- and macrocosmos mutually create the conditions for their further evolution, provides a comprehensive framework for a deeper understanding of human creativity in a time of transition.