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Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht.

Aldo Rossi (May 3, 1931 - September 4, 1997) was an Italian architect and designer who accomplished the unusual feat of achieving international recognition in four distinct areas: theory, drawing, architecture and product design.[1]

Rossi was born in Milan, Italy. In 1949 he started studying architecture at the Politecnico di Milano where he graduated in 1959. Already in 1955 he started writing for the Casabella magazine, where he became editor between 1959-1964.

His earliest works of the 1960s were mostly theoretical and displayed a simultaneous influence of 1920s Italian modernism (see Giuseppe Terragni), classicist influences of Viennese architect Adolf Loos, and the reflections of the painter Giorgio De Chirico. A trip to the Soviet Union to study Stalinist architecture also left a marked impression.

In his writings Rossi criticized the lack of understanding of the city in current architectural practice. He argued that a city must be studied and valued as something constructed over time; of particular interest are urban artifacts that withstand the passage of time. Rossi held that the city remembers its past (our "collective memory"), and that we use that memory through monuments; that is, monuments give structure to the city.

He became extremely influential in the late 1970s and 1980s as his body of built work expanded and for his theories promoted in his books The Architecture of the City (L'architettura della città, 1966) and A Scientific Autobiography (Autobiografia scientifica, 1981).

Aldo Rossi died in a car accident in September 1997 in Milan.

The Quarter Schüzenstrasse, in Berlin.


Neo-Rationalist movement

Rossi is considered one of the founders of the Neo-Rationalist movement known as La Tendenza. His influence in shaping European architectural thinking during this period is often compared to that of Robert Venturi in the USA. Along with Venturi, Rossi became one of the prime examples given by architecture critc Charles Jencks of Postmodern architecture. But this characterization of Rossi sat oddly with his background in European urbanism and his idea of progressing Modernist views.[2]

Main works

Stainless steel kettle "Il Conico", 1986. Such products have been designed for Alessi, Pirelli, and others.



For the Venice Biennale in 1979 he designed a floating Teatro del Mondo [5] that seated 250 people. For the Venice Biennale in 1984, he designed a triumphal arch at the entrance to the exhibition site.


He won the prestigious Pritzker Prize for architecture in 1990. Ada Louise Huxtable, architectural critic and Pritzker juror, has described Rossi as "a poet who happens to be an architect."


  • Alberto Ferlenga, Aldo Rossi. Opera completa (1993–1996), Electa, 1996
  • G. Leoni (a cura di), Costruire sul costruito, intervista a Aldo Rossi, "Area" n.32, maggio/giugno 997, pp. 44-47 (Italian)
  • Giovanni Polazzi, Aldo Rossi Associati - Area ex mattatoio, in "Area" n. 46, sett/ott 1999, pp. 106-110 (Italian)
  • Nicola Berlucchi, Aldo Rossi: ricostruzione del teatro La Fenice, in "Area" n. 51 luglio-agosto 2000 (Italian)
  • Panayotis Mario Pàgalos, "The significance of time in contemporary architecture. Technical and poetic time: the case of Aldo Rossi", Phd dissertation, University of Patras, Greece, 2008


  1. ^ Germano Celant and Diane Ghirardo, Aldo Rossi Drawings, Skira, Milan, 2008.
  2. ^ Richard A. Etlin, Modernism in Italian Architecture, 1890-1940. MIT Press, 1991.

External links


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