Paolo Soleri died this past April and I've had a few months to reflect on the man and his dramatic influences on my own life. I first learned about Paolo Soleri's work when I was around 9 or 10, having seen his seminal book Arcology: The City in the Image of Man, MIT Press, 1969. I was smitten. If this was Architecture, than I wanted in! The drawings within the book were literally fantastic, with incredible structures, that were a cross between massive earth works and human generated spatial geometries. I still have the book, through all my years in architecture school and various architecture firms, and even through the 5 years of living through the raw and spartan sanctuary called Arcosanti; the book still remains. A testament, perhaps, to the power of ideas in general, and Soleri's ideas in particular. There have been a number of obituraries written about Soleri, but this one from The Gaurdian, is the one I find most compelling.
Seeing Gaudi's architecture was one of the seminal experiences which led to my interest in an aesthetic immersed in organic geometric transandental abstraction. He was the master at combinig form, pattern, surface, color into an ecstatic spatial experience. I recently stumbled upon a current look at his masterwork, Sagrada Famila, via a "60 Minutes" segment. The link below leads to the video episode.
Construction on the Sagrada Familia began in 1883, when famed architect Antoni Gaudi first laid the blueprint for his now-iconic Barcelona church. Gaudi devoted his last years to the project, and 130 years later, it's widely regarded as one of the most stunningly unique buildings on Earth. It also has yet to be completed.