Ada Louise Huxtable once described him as “a poet who happens to be an architect.” Italian architect Aldo Rossi (3 May 1931 – 4 September 1997) was 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 people to have served as director twice.
Aldo Rossi: The Latest Architecture and News
The Pritzker Prize is the most important award in the field of architecture, awarded to a living architect whose built work "has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity through the art of architecture." The Prize rewards individuals, not entire offices, as took place in 2000 (when the jury selected Rem Koolhaas instead of his firm OMA) or in 2016 (with Alejandro Aravena selected instead of Elemental); however, the prize can also be awarded to multiple individuals working together, as took place in 2001 (Herzog & de Meuron), 2010 (Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA), and 2017 (Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramon Vilalta of RCR Arquitectes).
The award is an initiative funded by Jay Pritzker through the Hyatt Foundation, an organization associated with the hotel company of the same name that Jay founded with his brother Donald in 1957. The award was first given in 1979, when the American architect Philip Johnson, was awarded for his iconic works such as the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.
The Pritzker Prize has been awarded for almost forty straight years without interruption, and there are now 18 countries with at least one winning architect. To date, half of the winners are European; while the Americas, Asia, and Oceania share the other twenty editions. So far, no African architect has been awarded, making it the only continent without a winner.
There are at least as many definitions of architecture as there are architects or people who comment on the practice of it. While some embrace it as art, others defend architecture’s seminal social responsibility as its most definitive attribute. To begin a sentence with “Architecture is” is a bold step into treacherous territory. And yet, many of us have uttered — or at least thought— “Architecture is…” while we’ve toiled away on an important project, or reflected on why we’ve chosen this professional path.
Most days, architecture is a tough practice; on others, it is wonderfully satisfying. Perhaps, though, most importantly, architecture is accommodating and inherently open to possibility.
This collection of statements illustrates the changing breadth of architecture’s significance; we may define it differently when talking among peers, or adjust our statements for outsiders.
Architecture, while a profession that is very visibly and tangibly realized, has deep wells of research, thought, and theory that are unseen on the surface of a structure. What urges architects to design the way they do? What are their motivations, their affiliations, their interests? For practitioners and students alike, books on architecture offer invaluable context to the profession, be it practical, inspirational, academic, or otherwise. So, for those of you looking to expand your bookshelf (or confirm your own tastes), we have gathered a broad list of 116 architectural books that we consider of interest to those in the field.
In compiling this list, we sought out titles from different backgrounds with the aim of revealing divergent cultural contexts. From essays to monographs, urban theory to graphic novels, each of the following either engage directly with or flirt on the edges of architecture.
The books on this list were chosen by each of our editors, and are categorized loosely by type. Within their categorization, they are organized alphabetically. Read on to see the books we consider valuable to anyone interested in architecture.
While cemeteries have long served as a place in which we can honor and remember our loved ones, they are also often places that showcase architecture, and landscape design. In the late 19th century, cemeteries evolved from overcrowded and unsanitary urban spaces into rural, park-like social centers. In cities that lacked public parks, cemeteries became popular destinations for picnics, holidays, and other family gatherings.
Cape Town native Alexis Christodoulou is a winemaker by day but also dabbles in the art of 3D visualization. His Instagram (@teaaalexis) is a striking composition of intricate spaces rich with color, light, and materiality. Crafted entirely from scratch, each of Christodoulou's digital worlds appears to be influenced by many of the modernist masters. In a recent interview with Curbed, Christodoulou lists Aldo Rossi, David Chipperfield and Le Corbusier among his inspirations.
Much has been said about the new "Instagram aesthetic." Put that together with the emerging role of Instagram and other social media platforms in the design process, and the result is a new type of digital art form. Christodoulou's page is the creative collection of a year-long personal challenge to regularly create and publish images of his own fantasy worlds, which has resulted in a community of nearly 20K followers.
Get lost in more of the images below.
In this episode of GSAPP Conversations, Kersten Geers—co-founder of OFFICE KGDVS—and Amale Andraos discuss their shared obsession with books, and the integral role that book-making plays in their professional offices and teaching. In this podcast, Geers echoes Aldo Rossi’s call to evaluate architecture within a cultural context, positioning books as the best tool to create a place in which architectural work acquires value and meaning; a device to establish a context of ideas.
As the dust settled following the Second World War much of Europe was left with a crippling shortage of housing. In Milan, a series of plans were drafted in response to the crisis, laying out satellite communities for the northern Italian city which would each house between 50,000 to 130,000 people. Construction the first of these communities began in 1946, one year after the end of the conflict; ten years later in 1956, the adoption of Il Piano Regolatore Generale—a new master plan—set the stage for the development of the second, known as 'Gallaratese'. The site of the new community was split into parts 1 and 2, the latter of which was owned by the Monte Amiata Società Mineraria per Azioni. When the plan allowed for private development of Gallaratese 2 in late 1967, the commission for the project was given to Studio Ayde and, in particular, its partner Carlo Aymonino. Two months later Aymonino would invite Aldo Rossi to design a building for the complex and the two Italians set about realizing their respective visions for the ideal microcosmic community.
Situated in a former industrial district in the southern Dutch city of Maastricht, it’s perhaps fitting that the Bonnefantenmuseum has often been called a “viewing factory.” The museum, with its ‘E’-shaped plan and distinctive domed tower, is one of the most prominent landmarks along the River Meuse that flows around the city center. Europe’s rich cultural history was a key impetus for architect Aldo Rossi’s design, which employed a number of historical architectural gestures to place the Bonnefantenmuseum within a collapsed European canon.
Portugal has unveiled the theme of its contribution to the 2016 Venice Biennale: “Neighborhood – Where Alvaro Meets Aldo.” Curated by Nuno Grande, a Portugese architect, teacher, critic, and curator, and Roberto Cremascoli, an Italian architect and longtime collaborator of Álvaro Siza Vieira, the exhibition will focus on the works of both Álvaro Siza and Aldo Rossi.
The Portuguese exhibition is unique in that it will be installed on Venice’s Giudecca island, where Siza’s 1985 social housing project Campo di Marte is located. Campo di Marte is part of a larger plan on the island, which includes designs by other architects such as Aldo Rossi, and was never fully completed.
With conscious material choices, Australian architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer are known for their ability to integrate buildings into a city’s existing fabric. Michael Holt, editor of the Australian Design Review, caught up with partner Tim Greer, for the following interview, picking his brain on materiality, site, history and more.
Since the practice’s inception in 1988, Tonkin Zulaikha Greer (TZG) has become expert in the reuse of existing built fabric and how best to reintroduce the past into the contemporary. Through projects such as the restoration of Hyde Park Barracks, the National Arboretum Canberra (featured in AR131–Present), Carriageworks, and Paddington Reservoir Gardens, certain design characteristics are notable: volumetric boxes, a shifting in typology, an overarching and encompassing ceiling or roof plane, a restricted material palette, and working-off the existing while simultaneously revealing the existing.