Happy Birthday Aldo Rossi

Pritzker Prize Winner . Image Courtesy of museionline

Ada Louise Huxtable once described him as “a poet who happens to be an architect.”  Today Aldo Rossi (1931-1997) would have turned 83 years old.

Known for his drawings, urban theory, and for winning the Pritzker Prize (in 1990), Rossi also directed the Venice Biennale in 1985 and 1986 — one of only two who have served as director twice.

Rossi’s design theory evolved from a wide range of influences: from architect and theorist Adolf Loos, to early Italian modernism, to surrealist painter Giorgio de Chirico. His book, L’architettura della città (The Architecture of the City), is to this day considered a pioneering work in urban theory.  The book argues that architects should be sensitive to urban/cultural context, making use of historical design precedent rather than trying to reinvent typologies. In practice, Rossi was unquestionably the master of his own theoretical approach, as evidenced by one of his most famous works, the San Cataldo Cemetary in Modena.

His legacy is still alive in Italy and around the world. In fact, Italian firm San Rocco, recently named inaugural Emerging Architecture Firm of the Year, is named after an un-built housing project by Rossi.

To better understand Aldo Rossi and his work, we suggest reading our AD Classic on San Cataldo Cemetary as well as checking out the buildings featured below.

Icon selects San Rocco as Emerging Architect of the Year

“Books of Copies” at the 13th

have been announced as the recipients of the inaugural Icon Award for Emerging Architectural Practice of the Year.

However, San Rocco is not your typical architectural practice. Departing from the traditional model, San Rocco is a collaboration of firms with different disciplines; Instead of buildings, they are known for their publishing projects.

AD Interviews: San Rocco at the 13th Venice Biennale

During the 13th we had the chance to interview the team behind San Rocco: Matteo Ghidoni, Giovanni Piovene and Pier Paolo Tamburelli.

is a very particular architecture magazine, described by its creators as something that “does not solve problems. It is not a useful magazine […] is neither serious nor friendly”, a curated selection of writings around particular topics related to the current state of architectural thinking and criticism. has a five year plan, a limited time frame where 20 editions will be published with topics that range from “Scary Architects” and “Collaborations”, to “What’s wrong with the primitive hut” or “Houses for billionaires”.

Book of Copies at Museum of Copying, Venice Biennale © Nico Saieh
Book of Copies at Museum of Copying, Venice Biennale © Nico Saieh

During the 13th Venice Biennale, San Rocco was present in two exhibits at the Arsenale, including the launch of their project “Book of Copies” at the “Museum of Copying” exhibit curated by FAT. ”Books of Copies” is an online database comprised of images that can be copied in order to produce architecture. As such, “Books of Copies” are receptacles of a collective form of knowledge that we can provisionally call “architecture”. During the Biennale, visitors can photocopy and remix their own magazines.

San Rocco can be found online, or as part of the itinerant Archizines exhibit. You can connect with San Rocco on Facebook for more updates.

Venice Biennale 2012: Museum of Copying / FAT

© Nico Saieh

The Museum of Copying, curated by British architect’s FAT, was one of my favorite exhibitions at the . The subject of copy in architecture has always interested me, in relation to how the series of copies in the form of iterations are what make architecture evolve. The concept is explored in this exhibit with three installations, starting with Villa Rotunda Redux, the iconic Palladio building copied (or reinterpreted?) through history now digitally fabricated and casted.

During the Biennale we had the chance to talk with Sam Jacob (@anothersam) from FAT, who explains us more about the Museum of Copying on this video (full interview coming soon!).

More about the Museum of Copying from the architects after the break.