The Paolo in Peril, Save Our Soleri

sfis paolo soleri amphitheater

As you may have heard, the Paolo Soleri Amphitheater at Santa Fe Indian School is in immediate danger of demolition. The theater was designed in 1965 by visionary architect Paolo Soleri, who is most noted for pioneering concepts in the fields of environmental architecture and alternative urban planning. Many alumni of the Santa Fe Indian School are outraged at the idea of losing this unique theater and have mobilized to save "The Paolo". I feel that we need to rally, and fast to save this significant contribution to New Mexico's architectural heritage.

To show support for the preservation of this important building, please join the Save Our Soleri facebook page here, and spread the awareness of this important issue with your friends and family.

Historical background. In 1965, the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) hired Paolo Soleri to design an outdoor amphitheater at its Santa Fe campus. Soleri's design consists of a dramatic earth-cast concrete structure over the stage. Soleri explains, "The notion of using the local landscape, geology, and natural materials was an integral part of the process. We molded earth and arranged the arches, then we excavated trenches and poured concrete to form the walls, using a technique that captures the consistency and shape of the earth itself.”

Soleri recently said that IAIA Co-founder and President Lloyd Kiva New was the mover that had the imagination and determination to have the outdoor theater at the Santa Fe Indian School. The construction began as the cooperation of the school’s students headed by Lloyd himself and me with the Cosanti Foundation of Scottsdale, Arizona. Imagination was at the origin of the theater, imagination is essential now."

About Soleri. Paolo Soleri is an internationally recognized architect, artist, and philosopher who is best known for his theory of arcology, blending architecture and ecology to create a pedestrian urban system in response to problems caused by urban sprawl including environmental degradation, resource depletion, lack of cultural activity, social isolation, disconnection between people and natural resources, and pollution. Soleri founded the Cosanti Foundation, incorporated in 1965, as a nonprofit, educational organization for planning and architecture research. In 1970, Soleri launched Arcosanti, a prototype arcology in central Arizona.

We need to act now if we don't want the largest Soleri work left in NM to be that huge wind bell hanging off Bart Prince's house. There are only a couple more show scheduled, Modest Mouse is on the 9th of July and Lyle Lovett may be the very last performance. Lyle's scheduled for June 29th.

Follow developments here:
Support the Alumni's facebook page:!/group.php?gid=115567075151323

Photo credits: left photo courtesy of Lunaly, Lyle Lovett concert 2007; right photo courtesy of Arcosanti

Views: 35

Comment by Masshole in Fringecrest on June 16, 2010 at 12:10pm
Context for this... while the Paolo Soleri is located in Santa Fe, and not our beloved burg, this effort requires our population base and was previously mentioned on MF.
Comment by Mark on June 16, 2010 at 4:34pm
Right. It is a New Mexican issue like a lot of the topics here. Interestingly, this is not really located in Santa Fe eitehr according to the Pueblo Indian Council either. ;-) Sovereign land. It is a New Mexican issue; it is a pueblo issue and that makes it very complicated of course.
Comment by Kelly Vickers on June 17, 2010 at 8:04am
We love Paolo's work and met him and toured his place near Phoenix. It's beyond my comprehension that this NM landmark might be bulldozed. Hopefully it's just a ploy by the school to get someone to step up and write a big check. However, to be safe, we're grateful that we have tix for the Lyle Lovett show in case it really is the final show there.
Comment by Kelly Vickers on June 17, 2010 at 8:17am
Comment by Mark on June 17, 2010 at 6:11pm
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