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We continue with the report on the Solimene Ceramics factory, designed by Paolo Soleri in 1952.
Visitors enter the factory on ground level where they can look at various ceramic products. Then, to reach the top level, which Soleri conceived as a public exhibition space between sky and landscape, the guests climb up the spiral ramp (for photos see report from Jan. 14, 2009).


? On the way up all phases of production are visible. These photos show some of the activities that go on in the factory. In the top left corner of this photo collage, a man is putting a final glazing on plates. In the top right corner photo, taken from the second level, people are hand-painting ceramic objects.
The bottom images are from the third and fourth levels, where clay is molded in various shapes.


? On this last section of the ramp more Solimene products are exhibited.

In her book “SOLERI – Architecture As Human Ecology”, Professor Iolanda Lima describes the Solimene Ceramic factory both in words and images.
Excerpt from the book:
“The building, which is both a work of art and a place for production, defies classification. With his design, Soleri came up with a wholly new idea that assimilated and reinterpreted the ancient custom of creating a courtyard to serve as a central space, a laboratory for daily life that linked the inside and the outside.
A spiraling ascent brings the site’s various levels indoors. This is architecture that allows for both movement and rest, arranged continuously from ground to roof, all in dialectic with what is produced.
Three of the floors are involved in the production cycle, starting at the third level and descending to the ground level, where the finished products arrive ready for direct sale or for loading onto trucks that enter on a road specially built for this purpose.
A terrace garden covering the top of the whole building was conceived as a public exhibition space between sky and landscape. To reach it, the visitor ascends the indoor spiral ramp and therefore experiences all phases of production, thus entering the complex man-made dialectic.
The climb from bottom to top highlights the decreasing width of the cantilevered floors in the large interior space while also providing a continuous view of ongoing work and the transformation of clay.
This structure provides an extraordinary promenade built on complex networks. It banishes the loneliness and monotony of the traditional factory and evidences the individual autonomous actions required for production, expressing the rhythms of the various phases. It offers exchanges, relationships, and comparisons, encouraging an optimal stimulating life – work as an ethical value. ”

The next report will show images of the residential unit located on the roof of the building.


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