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Architect Stories: Aldo Rossi


Architect Aldo Rossi's buildings are distinguished by his successful melding of modern design with architectural and vernacular traditions. Whether building an apartment complex or an art museum, his style is unmistakable. Born in Milan, Italy, into a family of bicycle makers in 1931, Rossi grew up during World War II, and later studied at the School of the Somaschi Fathers in Lake Como and the Collegio Alessandro Votas in Lecco. After the end of the war, Rossi entered the Milan Polytechnic, where he received his architecture degree in 1959.

Although Rossi's first career choice was film, his interests translated to the field of architecture, though, according to Rossi, "In all of my architecture, I have always been fascinated by the theatre." In fact, for the Venice Biennale in 1979, he designed the Teatro del Mondo, a floating theatre, which seated 250 guests around a central stage. He also built the Toronto Lighthouse Theatre, on the banks of Lake Ontario.

To read about some of Rossi's other projects and to see a gallery of his buildings, just read more.

Rossi also built a number of residential projects. His first housing complex, Gallaratese, was built on the outskirts of Milan, and is one of his most important buildings. The design is comprised of two buildings separated by a narrow gap. Commenting on Gallaratese, Rossi said, "I believe it to be significant, above all, because of the simplicity of its construction, which allows it to be repeated." Other residential housing he's built, which include apartment buildings, hotels, and individual homes, include the Pocono Pines Houses in Pocono, Pennsylvania, an apartment building in the Berlin-Tiergarten district of West Germany, and another called Sudliche Friedrichstadt. He also drafted numerous residence designs in Italy

The seemingly inexhaustible Rossi, was also a writer, theorist, artist, and teacher. His architectural accomplishments also include such varied projects as office buildings for Giorgio Armani, an art gallery in Japan, a restoration and addition to a monastery in Seville, Spain, and a sports arena and many other projects in Italy. In 1990, he became the first Italian to win the distinguished Pritzker Prize.

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