Palo Soleri died in 2013. He was an Italian born architect, urban theorist, craftsman artist, and philosopher. He founded his Architectural Design and Craft Studios, Cosanti, in 1955 and founded Arcosanti in 1970. Arcosanti is an urban laboratory focused on innovative design, environmental accountability, and experiential learning. I first learned about Arcosanti when it was covered by the Sixty Minutes news show during my youth. Arcosanti's goal is to pursue sustainable alternatives to urban sprawl based on Soleri's theory of compact city design, Arcology, where Architecture meets Ecology. The Sixty Minutes show featured Arcosanti during its early construction. Today, what's present has been built by over 8,000 participants. This includes mixed-use buildings and public spaces where people live, work, visit, and participate in educational and cultural programs.
I mention Cosanti and Arcosanti because we recently received a housewarming gift from our lifelong friends — Tim and Marie Barrios. Tim and I have known each other since we were 5 years old. We attended the same Catholic grammar and high schools. We were college roommates at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. After we graduated and married our respective high school/college sweethearts, we got our master's degrees in computer science from Arizona State University (ASU) while he worked at GTE, and I worked at Honeywell. The gift is a set of Soleri Windbells for our Cypress home. Arcosanti is located near Cordes Junction, Arizona, about an hour's drive from ASU.
From the booklet for the windbells:
CASTING BRONZE SOLERI WINDBELLS
Paolo Soleri enhanced the traditional bronze casting process with his innovative design techniques:
A reusable aluminum pattern representing a plain bell shape is temporarily fastened between into two foundry molding boxes. Foundry sand is packed into each box and therefore on both sides of the pattern. The boxes are separated from the pattern into two sand mold sections. The upper mold section is the negative impression of the bell's exterior shape and the lower is the positive expression of the bell's interior contour. A foundry artisan presses a unique design and the Cosanti Hallmark into the bell impression of the upper sand mold section, which results in every bell being an original. The upper and lower mold sections are rejoined, directly, to form a complete bell mold that is ready for molten metal.
Silicon bronze ingots are melted in a crucible within a foundry furnace. After the bronze is fluid and heated to 2150°F, it is poured into a hole atop the mold. Upon cooling, the bell is removed from the sand mold. The sand is conditioned for reuse. Bells are cleaned of excess material, assembled, and submerged in an acidic solution the oxidized bronze patina finish.
Since 1956, Soleri Windbells are incorporated into millions of patios, courtyards, and gardens throughout the world. Proceeds from bell sales constitute a major source of funding for the construction efforts at Arcosanti.
Thanks, Tim and Marie.
Autodesk has always been an automation company. Today, more than ever, that means helping our customers automate their design and make processes. We help them embrace the future of making, where they can do more (e.g., increasing efficiency, performance, quality), with less negative impact (e.g., social, environmental), and realize the opportunity for better (e.g., innovation, user experience, return on investment). Paolo Soleri was ahead of his time, but Arcosanti is still a testament to people doing more with less to showcase the opportunity to do better.
Ringing is alive in the lab.