On the last day of the Paolo Soleri Memorial Cosanti and Arcosanti alumni, and friends supportive of Paolo Soleri’s efforts, gathered at the Paolo Soleri Scottsdale Bridge and Plaza.[photo: Paul from Flam Chen waiting with a large lense for the exact Solar Noon].
“Thank you Donna Isaac, Mayor Jim Lane, and welcome.
Thank you all for being here on a beautiful Sunday in Scottsdale, Arizona, home for 66 years to the architect, philosopher, writer, lecturer, EXPLORER – and our neighbor – the late Paolo Soleri. We are gathered today at his Soleri Bridge and plaza to celebrate Paolo. We are here at this public place, designed by an individual, funded by a government – the city of Scottsdale – for the enjoyment of its citizens. We are those citizens.
This bridge represents decades of thought and the ideals of its architect Paolo Soleri; his wish to connect us in this desert city to the sun and seasons, to earth and it’s ecology, his wish to use architecture to help connect us all to each other. That wish to define new relations and ways to celebrate them continues in this place today.
The GREAT WORK of our generation: the transformative and radical effort to change human-Earth relations from disruptive and destructive to naturally enhancing and beneficial was first modeled for us by Paolo Soleri. His legacy of writing, of building, of BRIDGE-building, really, is what we celebrate today.[photos are of the FLAM CHEN performance during the event].
A bridge is a way to cross over, a way to make a transition to the other side of something. A bridge marks the end of one thing, the beginning of another. At this bridging moment in the history of our culture, we hope our presence here today will serve as a bridge for us to continue the work Paolo Soleri began to make a transition to a better, a more coherent way to be, on the land, in the world.
The writer E.B.White said, “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”
Paolo Soleri had this same issue. But his life’s work, at Cosanti, at the enduring urban laboratory Arcosanti, including the Soleri Bridge and the new bas relief murals at the Arcosanti Interchange on I-17, all allow us new places and new ways to do both those things at once. Paolo Soleri created ways to connect and enjoy living, human connections, he modeled ways to bring together mind and heart and hand to develop a new consciousness of how the earth works, a new framework for the practice of architecture and urban design.
Paolo Soleri’s work of cultivating awareness and attention entails a commitment to tend to and take responsibility for our communities. A clearer awareness of who we are in relation to the larger whole of earth’s ecology, rooted in respect and reverence for the whole, requires of us both a response and a responsibility.
Paolo Soleri, who we honor here today, who lived and created in our midst for nearly 94 years, made a real effort to leave the world a little better than he found it. And we gathered here today intend to continue to create a reasonable alternative equal to the needs of our age. This is our time, our responsibility, and I congratulate you here today for recognizing this with your presence. I urge you to go forth from this place today with a renewed spirit, a new sense of what is possible based on the life and work of Paolo Soleri. Thank you in advance for doing it.”