Born on the 3rd of May 1931, Aldo Rossi was an extraordinary Italian architect and designer who achieved great recognition in the fields of theory, drawing and architecture. His vast body of exceptional work stands true even today and is studied.
EDUCATION AND EARLY WORK OVERVIEW
In 1959, he graduated in architecture from the Politecnico di Milano in his native city of Milan. Aldo Rossi started his writing career while studying architecture in 1955 and had become the editor of the architecture magazine named Casabella-Continuità in 1959. Serving his post till 1964, his writings discussed post-war architecture and the lack of understanding of the city while planning it. this top-down totalitarian approach was harmful in the long run. Cities are constructed over time and must be looked at as “collective memory” that withstands the passage of time. Rossi then went on to become a lecturer in 1965. He served as an architecture professor at the School of Urban Planning in Arezzo, Polytechnic University of Milan, and the Institute of Architecture in Venice.
“One can say that the city itself is the collective memory of its people, and like memory, it is associated with objects and places. The city is the locus of the collective memory.”, Also Rossi.
THEORETICAL CAREER AND EARLY WORK
In the 1960s, Rossi’s work was mainly focused on architectural theory and academia. ‘The architecture of the city’ was his first published book. The time he wrote for the Casabella enriched him with the knowledge to write these masterpieces. This book changed the course of the profession for the rest of time from a totalitarian approach to a contextual and coherent approach. His second book ‘Autobiografia scientifica’ (A Scientific Autobiography) was published in 1981 also gained him immense credibility.
Jose Rafael Moneo said, “When future historians look for an explanation as to why the destructive tendencies that threatened our cities changed, Rossi’s name will appear as one of those who helped to establish a wiser and more respectful attitude.”
MATURE CAREER AND PRACTICAL WORK
In the 1970s, this career to a different turn. Italian architect Carlo Avmonino invited Rossi to design a building for the Monte Amiata Housing complex in the Gallaratese quarter of Milan. This complex structure made interlaced their ideologies. This independent work, part of the San Cataldo Cemetery in Modena, Italy (1971-1984) is to this day considered monumental and is the most important postmodern buildings. The idea for this structure came to him while he was at the hospital due to an auto accident. Teatro del Mondo (The floating theatre, 1979) allowed him to pay tribute to his passion, drama. He went on to do further significant work. Along with his literary work and practical, he went on to do product design as well. The famous ‘Milano’ chair and was one of his pieces. Like Robert Venturi in the US, Aldo Rossi’s influence in shaping European architecture is significant and notable. He is also considered one of the founders of the Neo-Rationalist movement known as La Tendenza.
“In all of my architecture, I have always been fascinated by the theatre.”, Aldo Rossi.
Monte Amiata Housing, Milan
After the Second World War, there was a major housing shortage in Europe. In Milan, a series of plans were drafted. Monte Amiata Società Mineraria per Azioni commissioned to Studio Ayde. Its partner Carlo Aymonino invited Aldo Rossi. They through this project were able to interlace their urban ideologies and bring to reality their utopic versions for a micro-society. They exhibited their neo-rationalist ideas while still being an icon. Aymonino designed the A1, A2, B, and C complex and Rossi designed the D complex. Rossi’s inspiration comes from the Ancient Rome painting Giorgio de Cherico of the 1930s.
Unlike Carlo Aymonino’s style of units which muted reds and browns, Rossi’s buildings were strikingly uniform and symmetric and white. All the visible elements of the building were purely structural. Identical windows run for the whole stretch of 200 meters. The amphitheatre and corridors are painted bright yellow provides contrast. This structure was the launch pad of Rossi’s practical work. The building to this day is used for its intended purpose.
‘The Architecture of the City’
First published in 1966, Aldo Rossi wrote ‘The Architecture of the City’ based on his notes and lectures. He criticised the modern movement and tried to solve the age-old question ‘what should be the inner logic of the whole structure of a town?’ He put forward an argument that a city must be studied and valued as a living ecosystem. They are constructed over time and become alive once people live and use the structure.
The book is divided into four parts, Problems of descriptions, classifications and anthropology, the structure of a city, the individuality of urban artefacts and the locus. The book also talks about the importance of monuments and how they speak to the people about the city and its adventures.
Made in 1987, by Aldo Rossi, The Milano chair was one of his most significant pieces of furniture. Milano is a rugged, small and extremely lightweight chair. The chair pays respect to a traditional form of chairs where the back and seats are made of parallel sticks. Here, they are wedged into sheaths in the parts that are fixed. The chair is designed to guarantee the sheathes’ elasticity and eliminate creaking.
Rossi about this chair said, “the sort of chair that comes to mind when people say chair”.
Parigi exhibits Aldo Rossi’s version of the perfect office. Envisioned in the1980s, the armchair responds with apt functionality to the demands of the office environment. The project aimed to create a chair capable of adapting to a living and working environment. Aldo Rossi’s response to this query is a simple seat, far removed from the claims of efficiency. This chair brings comfort and intimacy to the work environment. The armchair appears as rigid as wood but is soft and comfortable: a black painted aluminium frame is completed by a self-supporting seat and backrest in polyurethane foam with a red paint finish. The Parigi armchair is an iconic piece of Italian design.
The Great Factory in Modena
The piece was made by Aldo Rossi in Italy,1977. The piece was made while Rossi was creating one of his master architectural pieces “The Cemetery in Modena.” He took inspiration from the brutalist and bold features of the buildings surrounding Modena. This painting is a testament to the influence these industrial buildings have had on his architectural style.
- Onniboni, L., Onniboni, L. and Onniboni, L., 2021. Aldo Rossi – Theoretical Architecture | Archiobjects. [online] Archiobjects. Available at: <https://www.archiobjects.org/aldo-rossi-theoretical-architecture/> [Accessed 23 May 2021].
- Architect, S., 2021. Aldo Rossi Architect | Biography, Buildings, Projects and Facts. [online] Famous Architects. Available at: <https://www.famous-architects.org/aldo-rossi/> [Accessed 23 May 2021].
- Architectuul.com. 2021. Aldo Rossi. [online] Available at: <http://architectuul.com/architect/aldo-rossi> [Accessed 23 May 2021].
- Carlson, C., 2021. Ten key Aldo Rossi designs that showcase the relevance of his work. [online] Dezeen. Available at: <https://www.dezeen.com/2021/04/20/ten-key-aldo-rossi-designs-maxxi-retrospective-alberto-ferlenga/> [Accessed 23 May 2021].
- Zukowsky, J., 2021. Aldo Rossi | Italian architect. [online] Encyclopedia Britannica. Available at: <https://www.britannica.com/biography/Aldo-Rossi> [Accessed 23 May 2021].
- Casati Gallery. 2021. Shop Aldo Rossi Drawings | Casati Gallery. [online] Available at: <https://www.casatigallery.com/collections/aldo-rossi-drawings/> [Accessed 23 May 2021].
- Biography.yourdictionary.com. 2021. Aldo Rossi. [online] Available at: <https://biography.yourdictionary.com/aldo-rossi> [Accessed 23 May 2021].
- Galloway, A., 2021. AD Classics: Gallaratese Quarter / Aldo Rossi & Carlo Aymonino. [online] ArchDaily. Available at: <https://www.archdaily.com/867165/ad-classics-gallaratese-quarter-milan-aldo-rossi-carlo-aymonino> [Accessed 23 May 2021].