Segments in this Video

City Culture (04:37)


Half of the world's population will live in cities by the 21st Century. Paolo Soleri practices arcology, advocating smaller cities with less than 1 million people. Alvin Toffler, Kenneth A. Gibson, and Soleri discuss modern cities.

Arcology Proposals (02:07)

Stewart Udall shows blueprints and models for "3D Jersey," "Arcoforte," "Hexahedron," and "Babelnoah." The cities are designed to require less land.

Urban Planning (04:26)

Moshe Safdie and Soleri discuss the evolution of the city scape. Soleri contends that today's cities are in response to topography, but the natural landscape is no longer sufficient.

Arcology Themes (03:30)

Stewart Udall states that arcology relies on miniaturization. Soleri compares his designs to the biological kingdom; humans must focus on spirituality.

Criticism of Soleri (02:53)

John Gallahue states that Soleri's theories could lead to a totalitarian regime; miniaturization will condition inhabitants. Soleri states he addresses topographies, not social systems. Experts discuss how arcology creates a philosophical debate.

Transforming a New Landscape (02:36)

Gallahue feels arcology will condition inhabitants; Soleri contends it will free them. Gallahue worries about the implicit social system arcology will create.

Soleri's Background (02:21)

Soleri graduated from Turin Polytechnic and stuied with Frank Lloyd Wright. Apprentices create models of bridges and cities. In "Dam-Research Center Project," Soleri explores how residents can enjoy the function of a dam in the midst of a natural setting.

Man vs Nature (03:27)

Arthur C. Clarke and Soleri discuss whether a physical structure can appeal to individuals who prefer the city or the country. Modern cities isolate humans within a human-created environment. Soleri attempts to fit man into the biosphere.

Soleri's Philosophy (02:28)

Soleri believes humans are destined for "something else" and are on Earth for a reason beyond living. Clarke writes about man's ascendance up a spiral staircase to an unknown destination. (Credits)

Part Two: City Dwellers (03:47)

Soleri advocates arcology because urban man is the future of the human race. Arcology incorporates architecture and ecology. Harold Francis and Soleri examine arcology's theme of complexification.

Life in Miniaturization (02:32)

Clarke and Soleri examine how modern innovations compact technology. Soleri discusses the "ideal" height of humans. He moved to the Arizona desert to work under Frank Lloyd Wright.

Congruence of Man and Nature (02:07)

Soleri advocates a frugal life; opulence is not sustainable. He describes how the Arizona landscape influences his work. Nature is nourishing and crushing.

Arcosanti (02:32)

Currently under construction, Arcosanti will house 2,500 people on 10 acres of land. Arizona's urban sprawl necessitates a car. Soleri wants his apprentices to understand why Arcosanti is important and to try to implement the vision to the best of their abilities.

Whole Systems (02:15)

John Muir felt nature and man were linked. Soleri cautions against fixing isolated problems in whole systems. Udall explains how today's architects serve special interests and corporations.

Soleri's Inspiration (03:23)

The narrator compares the work of Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Étienne-Louis Boullée, and Soleri. Hugh Ferriss wrote "Metropolis of Tomorrow" before the Empire State Building broke ground. Machu Picchu blends the natural landscape with a large city.

Moderating Conditions (03:09)

Arcology will not create an artificial environment. Soleri incorporated ideas from Tony Garnier, Buckminster Fuller, Bruno Taut, and Wright into his designs.

Soleri's Designs (04:02)

As Soleri grew older, he became more interested in geometric architecture rather than organic. Michael Heizer and other Earth Artists and Soleri share a preference for the desert landscape. Soleri explains that while nature is beautiful, humans create aesthetics through effort and pain.

Arcosanti's Progress (02:55)

Soleri estimates that the shell of "Arcosanti" will cost $30 million. Walter De Maria and Heizer examine differences between sculpture and architecture. Soleri needs to convince individuals that a radical solution is necessary.

Part Two Summary (01:35)

Volunteers help build Arcosanti. In the next part of this series, Soleri will explore issues that arose in constructing the city. (Credits)

Part Three: Implementing Arcology (03:09)

Soleri's guidelines for future cities include: compactness, miniaturization, environmentalism, logistical flow, and liveliness. Toffler and Soleri discuss repairing breakdowns of public services by uniting and deciding on a common goal.

Arcology Benefits and Drawbacks (03:11)

Soleri explains how Arcology can improve conditions for children and addresses concerns about limiting freedoms. A large population can be beneficial because it produces "cultural sap."

Three-Dimensional Architecture (04:02)

Soleri designs define new types of spaces; there are repercussions for autonomy. Automobiles do not conquer time constraints as effectively as minimizing travel distances. Soleri's cities would require redundant and auxiliary systems to avoid potential catastrophe.

Whole System City Architects (05:58)

Examine designs by Vitruvius, Pieter Bruegel, Leonardo da Vinci, Edgar Chambless, Le Corbusier, Hans Hollein, and Yona Friedman. An architectural firm developed a proposition for renewing a large metropolis, moving city life upward.

Putting Soleri's Designs into Practice (04:45)

Soleri states humans need to come together and create a common goal; arcology is necessary but may not receive serious thought unless under national emergency conditions. Governmental agencies need to stop patching current problems without perpetuating them.

Future of Urban Humanity (03:48)

"Science Magazine" describes how electronic communication will reduce the need for cities. Gibson and Soleri discuss the importance of cities to the development of humankind.

Continuing Urban Sprawl (02:57)

Soleri advocates miniaturization, but most experts favor decentralization. He states that humans will never be happy if we only maintain our existence. His goals include equality and freedom for all citizens.

Part Three: Summary (02:08)

Udall states that Soleri will speak to Paul Ylvisaker about practical issues with arcology during the next episode. The two met when Soleri designed a self-contained city on New Jersey's Meadowlands.

Part Four: Abstract Message of Arcology (03:00)

Soleri describes how the architectural models evoke emotions and frequently deter from his overall message. His cities would require redundant and auxiliary systems to avoid potential catastrophe. Transportation within urban sprawl includes detrimental environmental and economic effects.

Moving to a Radical Concept (02:27)

Soleri criticizes modern society, but offers an alternative solution. He does not advocate ridding current cities— New York City is very close to an arcology. Cities should have a constant flow.

Question New Construction (02:07)

Soleri believes he is realistic, not practical. America must build a new city every year until the year 2000 to accommodate the growing population. Fovernmental agencies should question why they build utility corridors to urban sprawl.

Individuals Who Do Not Experience (04:13)

Paul Ylvisaker and Soleri examine the differences between miniaturization and intimacy in architecture. In Los Angeles, one cannot operate without a car and society needs to remove the need for vehicles.

Arcosanti's Progress (03:47)

Soleri created designs to illustrate that each city could be individualized and address citizen needs. He started building a prototype without a sponsor or governmental subsidies. The Cosanti Foundation needed to purchase the land for Arcosanti in Arizona.

Trends in Architecture (03:30)

Japanese Culture focuses on miniaturization, but Soleri worries the Japanese are becoming too Western. He expresses the loneliness and depravity of suburban life. If he were to design and urban renewal project, he would try to only dislocate a small number of people and incorporate citizens from outlying communities.

Immediacy or Privacy (02:24)

Soleri states that cities will be crowded, but not congested. An elevator is more efficient and simple than a car. Citizens will stagger times for recreational activity and the need for mass transportation and vehicles.

Whole Systems (03:27)

Soleri wants to make a social statement that highlights how the city is the ideal form to avoid distance between citizens. Ylvisaker and Soleri society's lack of common direction. Soleri contends that each human is more complex than a galaxy.

Credits: Paolo Soleri: Ideas and Work (01:06)

Credits: Paolo Soleri: Ideas and Work

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Paolo Soleri: Ideas and Work

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Wide ranging exploration of the ideas of architect Paolo Soleri. With Paolo Soleri, architect, philosopher; Stewart Udall (former Secretary of Interior and head of an environmental consulting firm); Kenneth Gibson, Mayor of Newark, N.J.; Alvin Toffler, author (Future Shock, etc.); scientist/future-thinker Arthur C. Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey, etc.); Moshe Safdie, architect (Habitat); Harold Francis and Tony Pearce (architecture students); Prof. John Gallahue (Columbia Univ., New York City.) An illustrated series of interviews about Paolo Soleri's ideas. Themes: architecture, the future of urban centers, the Earth's ability to sustain itself under the increasing load of human population, the interaction of art and utility, the future of ideas we take for granted, (such as progress and technology), and the changing nature of man himself.

Length: 114 minutes

Item#: BVL128502

ISBN: 978-1-64023-334-8

Copyright date: ©1972

Closed Captioned

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