Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Paolo Soleri´s amphitheater in New Mexico may be demolished

Picture from the Architect´s Newspaper blog
From The Architect´s Newspaper blog:
An earth-formed concrete amphitheater designed by Paolo Soleri may be demolished later this summer. One of only a handful of structures built by Soleri, the open-air theater (known as the “Paolo”) is on the campus of the Santa Fe Indian School, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The school commissioned Soleri to design the theater in 1964, and though it has been used for graduations and concerts since that time, the school now believes that it costs too much to maintain, and says it brings drunken crowds onto the campus during events.
Built using student labor from the school, the structure was designed to “frame the sun and the moon,” and operate like an Elizabethan theater with bridges and ramps that allow performers to access various levels above, below, and behind the stage. A dramatically arched form over the stage covers the principal performance area, and according to Soleri was created of “trenched earth that captures the shape and consistency of the earth itself.”
On June 11, New Mexico’s Cultural Properties Review Committee urged the school to rethink its plans to raze the structure, and the Santa Fe City Council has also called for the theater’s salvation. Soleri, who will turn 91 on June 21, has been rallying admirers of the earthen structure, noting in a statement, “I am willing to do anything to support the preservation of the theater.” His Cosanti Foundation is working with a variety of organizations to prevent its demolition, as well as raising funds to help the theater continue to serve the Santa Fe Indian School students and the broader Santa Fe community.
Behind the stage. From the Architect´s Newspaper blog
Soleri, whose best-known vision is the project Arcosanti in the Arizona desert, drew upon the past to design the future in the Ampitheater, planning it for the Indian School theater department as an interpretation of the Elizabethan stage.  "We were hoping actors would not just use the stage, but also the area above it, and that's why we designed the bridge and other platforms ....with action taking place on different levels...,"  was how Soleri described the design process in a Cosanti Foundation press release made public last week.

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