Continuity and review. Rebuilding Aldo Rossi's legacy at MAXXI

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Curator
Alberto Ferlenga.
Dates
From 10 March 2021 to 17 October 2021.
Location
Gallery 2. MAXXI Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo - Via Guido Reni 4A - 00196 Rome. Italy.

Aldo Rossi

Aldo Rossi (born May 3, 1931, Milan, Italy—died September 4, 1997, Milan) was an Italian architect who achieved international recognition in four distinct areas: architectural theory, drawing and design and also product design. He was one of the leading exponents of the postmodern movement. He went to the school of architecture at the Polytechnic University of Milan. His thesis advisor was Piero Portaluppi and he graduated in 1959.

From 1959 was one of the editors of, the architectural magazine Casabella-Continuità, with editor in chief Ernesto Nathan Rogers. His early articles cover architects such as Alessandro Antonelli, Mario Ridolfi, Auguste Perret and Emil Kaufmann and much of this material became part of his second book, Scritti scelti sull'architettura e la città 1956-1972 (Selected writings on architecture and the city from 1956 to 1972). He married the Swiss actress Sonia Gessner, who introduced him to the world of film and theater. Culture and his family became central to his life. His son Fausto was active in movie-making both in front of and behind the camera. His daughter Vera was involved with theatre.

During the early 1960s he began his lifelong career as a teacher, working for a time at the Polytechnic of Milan and the Istituto Universitario di Architettura in Venice (IUAV).In 1966 Rossi published his seminal publication L’architettura della città (The Architecture of the City)

Among Rossi’s first works to be built was his winning competition design (with Gianni Braghieri) for the Cemetery of San Cataldo (1971–84) in Modena, Italy. Rossi’s design for the sanctuary of the cemetery, a heavy cube standing on square pillars with raw square windows carved out in symmetrical layers, stripped architecture down to its essence. While in some ways reminiscent of Greek and Renaissance models, it had a severity and total lack of ornamentation.

Rossi’s Gallaratese housing scheme (1969–73) in Milan is an enormous concrete structure built to house 2,400 people. Its design, like that of the cemetery, utilized simple primary forms and repetitive elements in the facade. The structure’s uniformity and timelessness again made it fit within, rather than detract from, the urban fabric. Rossi gained international attention at the Venice Biennale in 1979 when he designed the Teatro del Mondo, a floating theatre. The wood-clad structure, featuring an octagonal tower, recalled the Venetian tradition of floating theatres and, Rossi believed, tapped into the collective architectural memory of the city.

Rossi’s A Scientific Autobiography was published in 1981 (reissued 2010). In the 1980s and ’90s Rossi continued his search for a timeless architectural language in commissions such as the Hotel il Palazzo (1987–94) in Fukuoka, Japan, and the Bonnefanten Museum (1995) in Maastricht, Netherlands. Over time, his architectural sketches and drawings became recognized as works in themselves and were shown in major museums throughout the world. In addition to being an architect and writer, he worked as an industrial designer, notably for Alessi. In 1990 Rossi received the Pritzker Prize.

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