Aldo Rossi, Perspectives from the World. Theory, Teaching, Design & Legacy

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biblioteca di architettura 24

ALDO ROSSI, PERSPECTIVES FROM THE WORLD Theory, Teaching, Design & Legacy edited by Marco Bovati, Michele Caja Martina Landsberger, Angelo Lorenzi scientific supervision Adalberto Del Bo


International Conference Proceedings ALDO ROSSI. PERSPECTIVES FROM THE WORLD

Milano, Politecnico di Milano, 11-13 June 2018

Editors Marco Bovati, Michele Caja, Martina Landsberger, Angelo Lorenzi Scientific Supervision Adalberto Del Bo Scientific Committee Fondazione Aldo Rossi Stefano Della Torre | ABC Department, Politecnico di Milano Gabriele Pasqui | DAStU Department, Politecnico di Milano Adalberto Del Bo | AUIC School, Politecnico di Milano Marco Biraghi | AUIC School, Politecnico di Milano Marco Bovati | DAStU Department, Politecnico di Milano Michele Caja | ABC Department, Politecnico di Milano Martina Landsberger | ABC Department, Politecnico di Milano Angelo Lorenzi | ABC Department, Politecnico di Milano

This book is dedicated to the memory of Francisco JosĂŠ Barata Fernandes

Reference Experts Francisco Barata | Faculdade de Arquitectura, Universidade do Porto Piotr Barbarewicz | Università degli Studi di Udine Marco Bovati | Politecnico di Milano Francesco Bruno | Politecnico di Milano Michele Caja | Politecnico di Milano Renato Capozzi | Università degli Studi Federico II, Napoli Adrià Carbonell | Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven Maria Vittoria Cardinale | Politecnico di Milano Jean-Pierre Chupin | University of Montreal Ildebrando Clemente | Università di Bologna Francesco Collotti | Università degli Studi di Firenze Roberto Dulio | Politecnico di Milano Victoria Easton | ETH, Zürich Antonio Esposito | Università di Bologna Carolina B. García Estévez | ETSAB, Barcelona Francesco Saverio Fera | Università di Bologna Carlo Gandolfi | Università degli Studi di Parma Joubert José Lancha | Universidade do Sao Paulo Martina Landsberger | Politecnico di Milano Angelo Lorenzi | Politecnico di Milano Rejana Lucci | Università degli Studi Federico II, Napoli Gino Malacarne | Università di Bologna Carlo Manzo | “Sapienza” Università di Roma Carlo Moccia | Politecnico di Bari Raffaella Neri | Politecnico di Milano Luca Ortelli | EPFL, Losanne Riccardo Palma | Politecnico di Torino Stefano Perego | Politecnico di Milano Madalena Pinto Da Silva | Universidade do Porto Daniele Pisani | Politecnico di Milano Pisana Posocco | “Sapienza” Università di Roma Gundula Rakowitz | Università Iuav di Venezia Claudia Tinazzi | Politecnico di Milano Ana Tostoes | DoCoMoMo International Federica Visconti | Università degli Studi Federico II, Napoli

A special thanks to Fondazione Aldo Rossi and Aldo Rossi’s Heirs for the precious collaboration and for granting the publication of the images illustrating the volume

Acknowledgments Images at pages 33, 45, 52, 53, 80, 118, 134, 144 (bottom), 152 (top), 206, 210, 220 (left), 246 (bottom), 256 (top left and bottom right), 262 (top), 282, 290 (bottom), 307, 319, 336, 339 (top), 344, 355, 361 are copyright Š Eredi Aldo Rossi, courtesy Fondazione Aldo Rossi. All the other images have references in their captions and they were provided by the Authors under their own responsibility

Graphic design and proofreading Il Poligrafo casa editrice editorial staff: Alessandro Lise, Sara Pierobon copyright Š March 2020 Il Poligrafo casa editrice 35121 Padova via Cassan, 34 (piazza Eremitani) tel. 049 8360887 - fax 049 8360864 e-mail ISSN 2612-2839 ISBN 978-88-9387-097-9



The Real Key Issues in front of Us Adalberto Del Bo


Editors’ Note


27 Reception to Aldo Rossi’s Theoretical Thinking. Comments on Some Recent Reinterpretations Michele Caja

32 The Analogous City: City of Memory, City in Parts, City of Space Francesca Addario 40 The Ubiquitous Architectures of Memory Ludovica Cappelletti 48 Theatrum vel Monumentum: The Permanence of Ephemeral in the Work of Aldo Rossi Silvia Cattiodoro 57 Aldo Rossi and the Forma Urbis Francesca Dal Cin 64 Acceptance and Transformation of Aldo Rossi’s L’Architettura della Città in China (1986-2016) Jiawei Jiang 70 Contemporary Chinese City and the Urban Morphology Discussion of Aldo Rossi, Starting from the PhD Dissertation Fictionalizing City of Wang Shu Jiang Lei 78 Rossi of our Times: Architecture and the Non-simultaneity of Contemporaneity Giacomo Pala

87 Memory Permanence Beauty: Perception and Impact of Rossi’s Theory in Germany Alexander Pellnitz 94 Analogies and Experiences: References to Herman Melville in Aldo Rossi’s A Scientific Autobiography Gian Luca Porcile 101 Typological Problems of Housing in Vienna and Frankfurt Alessandro Porotto 111 The Tendenza beyond Italy and towards Tomorrow Fiorella Vanini



The Construction of a Design Theory Martina Landsberger

124 The Method of Typological Analysis: Eldem’s and Rossi’s Work in a Comparative Perspective Serena Acciai 133 Aldo Rossi’s Teaching in Zürich Florencia Andreola 141 Invention through Translation: Aldo Rossi in Greece Ioanna Angelidou 149 Colpa dell’Aldo? Aldo, is it your Fault? Francesca Belloni 156 Aldo Rossi’s A Scientific Autobiography: Insights into Doctoral Training in Design Disciplines? Alice Buoli, Cecilia De Marinis, Dorotea Ottaviani 168 Aldo Rossi’s Transatlantic Cross-fertilisation: American “Urban Facts” and Reinvention of Design Methods Marianna Charitonidou 176 The Childish Hand Sebastiano Fabbrini 185 Transformation as a Tool for Conservation: Aldo Rossi’s Legacy for the Design in the Historic Cities of the Islamic World Cecilia Fumagalli 193 Ideology or Methodology? Aldo Rossi and Recent Architecture Historiography in Colombia Jorge Mejía

200 The Legacy of Aldo Rossi: Gaze at Reality Building Yourself Andrea Oldani


211 Aldo Rossi’s Journey Angelo Lorenzi

218 John Hejduk vis-à-vis Aldo Rossi Luca Cardani 226 Aldo Rossi and Brazil: A Map of Shifting Forms and Ideas Aline Coelho Sanches 235 Aldo Rossi in France: The Complexity of the Transfers (1968-2018) Julien Correia 244 Rossi in Portugal: A Celebration of Architecture Jorge Figueira 253 Memory of Aldo Rossi in South Korea BoKyung Lee 260 Aldo Rossi and Frank Gehry, a New Correspondance Lorenzo Margiotta 267 “La Città dell’Architettura”: Rossi, Stirling and the Image of the City in their Berlin Projects Phoebus Panigyrakis 278 Archetypes, Iconographies and Legacy: The Influence of Aldo Rossi in Europe Giulia Setti 287 The Greek City and the Architecture of Aldo Rossi Sotirios Zaroulas PART FOUR: DESIGN

299 Perspectives from Another Place: The Elsewere as a Point of Observation Marco Bovati 306 Aldo Rossi and the Re-use of Historical Elements in Berlin Ivan Brambilla 314 “Ein Berliner Haus”: Considerations on Villa in Rauchstrasse, Tiergarten, Berlin (1982-1984) by Architects Aldo Rossi and Gianni Braghieri Alessandra Ciacciofera

324 Aldo Rossi and the Portuguese Experience. Bairro Bela Vista, Casal das Figueiras: Projects for the City Giacomo Corda 333 Atopy of Archetypes Jacopo Costanzo 342 The Monument for Fukuoka: Architecture Sensitive to Human Emotions and Economic Prosperity Alice Covatta 350 Redesigning Istanbul: Aldo Rossi and the Project for ĂœskĂźdar Square Eliana Martinelli 358 1976 Country RD 30-A, Everywhere, USA Davide Servente

“Certainly, for an artist, it is easy to look at many facts and episodes of life as identified with places and monuments, because these represent a part of his training, of his work, that has a greater and different weight than for others”. Through these words, Aldo Rossi (1931-1997) – a graduate of Politecnico di Milano and the greatest poet of contemporary architecture – summarized his creative universe, “in search of lost time”. This volume is dedicated to the international diffusion of the lesson of Aldo Rossi – who has been the master of generations of architects – in relation to the themes connected to architecture and the city, which are investigated here through a collection of remarkable studies developed by young researchers and professors under 40 from all over the world. An authoritative Scientific Committee, composed of several scholars who have widely explored the master’s theoretical and architectural work, has selected the forty essays published in the volume, through the evaluation of about seventy contributions resulting from an international call launched by Politecnico di Milano, during Rector Giovanni Azzone’s mandate, the School of Architecture Urban Planning Construction Engineering, the Department of Architecture, Built Environment and Construction Engineering and the Department of Architecture and Urban Studies, with the aim to commemorate one among the most famous students and teachers of the University, who was also awarded with the Pritzker Prize in 1990. The call was meant to verify the topicality of Aldo Rossi’s work in relation to the new and complex, “global”, urban dynamics, starting from the acknowledgment of themes and fields that have yet been little explored, in view of the identification of new clues that may enhance the contemporary design practice. This aim clarifies the title of the book, “Aldo Rossi Perspectives from the World”, while the subtitle, “Theory, Teaching, Design & Legacy”, cohere with the different sections arranging the individual contributions. Finally I’d like to remind that the call was only one of the events organized by Politecnico di Milano in the framework of this anniversary. On the very day of its launch, following a lecture by Kurt Foster, the exhibition “Aldo Rossi. Il Gran Teatro dell’Architettura” was inaugurated in the “Galleria del Progetto” at the AUIC School. The exhibition lasted a month and a half; throughout this timespan, a series of talks were organized to gather many former students and collaborators of Aldo Rossi, who later became teachers of our School.

Federico Bucci Delegate of the Rector for Cultural Policies of the Politecnico di Milano


“Aldo Rossi. Il Gran Teatro dell’Architettura”, exhibition (Galleria del Progetto - Politecnico di Milano Scuola AUIC Architettura Urbanistica Ingegneria delle Costruzioni, 19 October - 6 December 2017; photo Francesca Iovine, 2018)

the real key issues in front of us Adalberto Del Bo Politecnico di Milano, Italy

On 4 September 1997, when news of the death of Aldo Rossi spread like wildfire across Milan and throughout the world of architecture, the heartbreak due to his demise was instantly apparent. As a board member of the Order of Architects of Milan, I arranged a meeting with some colleagues to appropriately solemnize the dismay and grief caused by this sudden heavy loss. In agreement with the then president of the Order Piero de Amicis, I wrote a presentation paper speaking of the need for Milanese architects to commemorate Aldo Rossi’s figure as architect, artist, scholar, theorist and teacher, and to start reflecting without delay on the void that had arisen in the culture and the effect on the destiny of the city and on architecture as a whole. And then there was a pressing need for a phase of a new cultural policy focusing on the growth processes of civil society in education, research, and work. In closing,

 Just a few days after the death of Aldo Rossi, the Milanese architects organized a gathering to publicly commemorate the figure of the architect, artist, scholar, theorist and teacher, with personal testimonies from celebrities of architecture who had been close to him. Raising awareness at that point of the seriousness of the loss, attempting to measure the vacuum that this demise had created, meant a desire to begin a process of elaboration and reflection involving individuals, the scientific community, the world of culture, and the very destiny of the city and architecture. The profusion of ideas and the sheer complexity of the work that Aldo Rossi left behind were an outstanding legacy for all those who had the fortunes of the city and architecture at heart; this was, and is, a rich legacy to be further investigated by the critics over time. Beyond the multitude of critical stances regarding his work which already enjoyed a prominent place in contemporary history, it seemed vital to ask questions about the city and architecture with the urgency which these demanded in the then difficult situation. The breakdown of the seemingly indissoluble solid relationship between architecture and city, handed down to us from a distant past, had gone on for too long and Rossi’s work had always sought to put an end to this missing sense of unity. The great problems of urban and territorial modernization constituted one of the greatest problems of our future, shaping the characteristics of a historic occasion for a sweeping redesign of the territory and the city. In the first place, the technical and formal complexity of such a decisive task concerned architecture, a discipline historically entrusted with the task of interpreting reality through physical construction. To fulfil this role, it was necessary to initiate a phase of a new cultural policy, one focusing on the growth processes of architectural culture in terms of education, research, work and civil society. Remembering the thinking and work of Aldo Rossi meant in the first place recalling his battle on behalf of architecture, a battle fought with the forces of reason and history. Though much had been lost, there was still much more that could be done: Aldo Rossi, artist and teacher, had traced a road demonstrating architecture’s unimpaired strength.


adalberto del bo | the real key issues in front of us

we recalled the battle for architecture carried out by Rossi with the forces of reason and history. Taken together, the testimonies of Ignazio Gardella, Francesco Dal Co and Guido Canella offered a significant moment of reflection that underscored the collective dimension of the loss only a few days after his demise. The participation of the then VicePresident of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Cultural and Environmental Heritage Walter Veltroni was an important fact that partially redeemed the institutional absences at the funeral a few days earlier. In recalling Rossi’s figure and international role, Veltroni declared himself in favour of giving architecture a boost through a renewed and extended system of public competitions, which in the end never came to pass, also thanks to the short duration of the government. Gianugo Polesello, who was unable to attend, sent to my office a fax with a testimony where the private dimension of his memory and grief was interspersed with the events and traits that had gone to form a practical and theoretical position which, from the second half of the 1900s, was to play a key role in the international debate on architecture and the city. A position that managed to condense the instances of transformation that emerged post-war into an approach to action, from the problems of reconstructing the cities (Italian and European) to the contemporaneous debate on the legacy of the Modern Movement. Issues and problems that have remained unresolved and current which Polesello admirably recapitulated in the extraordinary unedited page that follows. A sort of summary manifesto of the origins as well as a useful guide to understanding the reality of this rich and complex collective brainchild. Gianugo Polesello, Origin of a Friendship, of Friendship, 15th September 1997, at 3:29pm My memory of Aldo Rossi is that of the beginning of a friendship and of an intellectual and human congeniality. Our backgrounds were very different: Aldo came from the school of Rogers in Milan; I came from the school of Gardella and Samonà in Venice. We first met in Milan and went on to work together in Milan, Venice, and Udine where I lived and still live. The biographical aspects of a friendship are difficult or impossible to put into words; they form part of our deepest memories. And my friendship with Aldo Rossi began back at the end of the Fifties, when, together with other companions, we had begun to look at the real key issues that lay in front of us, to try and discern them in Italian architecture, hazy as they were among the vernacular and the academicism of the modern. Which meant the cities, the historical cities with their outskirts, “old towns”, and housing; the new city to be built and designed. We wanted to see while steadfastly maintaining our station point (architecture) without demanding that others understood, while aspiring to adopt or build for ourselves a “theme” of architecture in its intertwined relationships with the city. Our friends and teachers were Ernesto Rogers and Giuseppe Samonà, but the architect who taught us more than anyone else was and is Ignazio Gardella. When Aldo and I took part in the 12th Triennale (1960) the pressing issue, 15 years after the end of the war, was housing.

adalberto del bo | the real key issues in front of us


For us, housing, the study of dwellings, of the architecture of the house, meant a study of the city, a study of the city’s architecture. Naturally, we were aware, albeit unsure, of the complicated and changeable link that binds architecture and the city. But we believed that we must leave behind the false language problems, must reject the vernacular and tackle, beyond any misinterpreted sociologism, the theme of the dwelling as a “house for Italians” by looking at architecture in history and at history through architecture. Precisely in this way: the house as a “common” place, as a modern condition of all, and the city as a collection of “areas” and “urban aspects”, each its own. This was the beginning, the choice of a “theme of our time”, a civil theme, Civil Architecture. Subsequently, but as a consequence, the Monument to the Resistance in Cuneo, the Business Park in Turin, Aldo Rossi’s book on “Architecture of the City”, studies in conjunction with G. Samonà for the Regional Plan for the Veneto marked our journey together. Aldo Rossi was, and can still be considered, a great architect, as well as a humanist.

Starting from this essay, I would like to go on to reflect on the initiatives promoted by the Politecnico di Milano twenty years after the death of the Milanese maestro: the exhibition entitled “Aldo Rossi. Il Gran Teatro dell’Architettura”, and the International conference “Aldo Rossi. Perspectives from the World”. The exhibition set out to illustrate Rossi’s wide-ranging international production through a selection of significant projects where the typo-morphological physical survey, his historical knowledge, wise imagination, and the expressiveness of his drawing all played key roles in the dialectical process of interpreting and transforming architecture and cities, the latter being seen as the immense repository of the experience of building the world and its meaning. This highly successful exhibition – visited by over five thousand people – was followed by a conference in June 2018 where, thanks to an international call open exclusively to the younger generations of scholars, a critical comparison was promoted among those eligible to take part. In addition to dutifully celebrating a key figure of contemporary architecture who studied and taught at our Politecnico, the overall aim of these initiatives was to promote a path of reflection and study on the legacy Rossi left to architectural culture and on the topicality of his theoretical and practical work, i.e. on the active role played in providing appropriate responses to contemporary issues. At the beginning of his essay, Gianugo Polesello recalls when, in the late 1950s, [...] together with other companions we had begun to look at the real key issues in front of us, to try and see them [...]. Which were the cities, the historical cities with their outskirts, “old towns” and housing; the new city to be built and designed.

Approximately seventy years later, the issues of urban construction, housing, and in general, the form of the new city to be built and designed was again proposed – in a context that had changed dramatically in terms of problems, characteristics and dimensions – such as the real key issues of that period.

theatrum vel monumentum: the permanence of ephemeral in the work of aldo rossi Silvia Cattiodoro Politecnico di Milano, Italy


The Unspeakable Extremes

“Myths come and go [...] Each generation tells them differently and adds new elements to the heritage received from the past”. The words used by Aldo Rossi to describe the city seem to be equally appropriate if referred to his work 20 years after his death. A generation divides the Third Millennium architecture perspective from his latest work. Social networks, e-commerce, blogs, sharing are just a few words that Aldo Rossi could not compare, but which have undoubtedly an enormous influence in our life and consequently in today’s architect way of designing. The risk in reflecting on the Milan’s architect today is that becomes an academic and scholarly exercise in search of unknown quibble or, worse, falling into an emptiness of interest as it happens for all that for a certain period there has been much talk – and much copied – until an unavoidable oblivion. In the effort of wanting to recompose a complex reasoning in unity, we always inevitably end up simplifying, positioning ourselves among those who consider Memory as a central matter in Rossi’s design work, and therefore the architectural duration of monument; or considering the autobiographical expression of project as central, undergoing the fascination of theater. The Enlightenment legacy mixed with Metaphysics, as Vittorio Gregotti wrote, seems to us to be only part of the reasoning or intuition that instead puts the coincidentia oppositorum between ephemeral and permanent. In Latin meaning, the “coincidence of the opposites” is able to resolve in unity the duality without however depriving elements of their specific: the “fusion” of which Rossi speaks with Franco Raggi in the interview done for Modo not only does not exclude Logos nor Pathos, but it does not even oblige them to cohabitate. Simply, through a process it turns these ingredients into something else. Manfredo Tafuri had defined them as “unspeakable extremes”: memory and history, sign and meaning, life and death. They are found side by side in the architectural form both of theater and monument generating an aporia: is Aldo Rossi’s architecture a monument or a theater?

“Franco Raggi interviews Aldo Rossi”. Modo, 52, January 1982. Now on

silvia cattiodoro | theatrum vel monumentum


These are certainly the pillars of his poetics, since he wrote that “monuments are the fixed points of urban dynamics”. But it is the disjunction that lies in the middle of the question in an exclusive form as an aut-aut, that represents a problem. Luckily, Latin and logical-informatic disciplines – unexpected coincidence between ancient and contemporary – have a less peremptory “vel” as inclusive disjunction that brings our question away from the aporetic path: monument or even theater? Theater or even monument? Against the criticisms of architectural totalitarianism that he suffered during his life, Aldo Rossi is the architect of the “vel”, of the oxymorons reconciliation through an epic vision – in Aristotelian meaning – of the city construction. This consists in the poetic narration, clearly visible in his pictorial production, through a story structured in parts that requires a fixed scene to host men’s actions and this scene is the Architecture. 2. The Ephemeral’s Role What is the role that Rossi reserved for ephemeral project? It sounds like a strange question about an architect for whom permanence and reiteration of model have oriented his thought and practice. The concept of ephemeral is accepted with extreme reserve in the field of architecture which only recently began to admit its cultural weight. Even more in the field of studies on one of the protagonists of 20th century architecture, the legitimacy of considerations that do not concern stone or concrete could be specious. The ephemeral, however, is not only the architecture primordial condition, as result of a human gesture, but often has a reiteration in time, a permanence of the form that gives continuity to its research in history and offers a key to reading that privileges theoretical and formal, rather than normative aspects. Of course, the Cabina dell’Elba can be seen as a recurring archetypal form like Henry Thoreau’s hut but takes on a different meaning, almost as an urban theater, when Rossi describes the dramatic city of Seviglia’s Fair with the wooden stands reassembled every year always the same and yet always with something different: “The work of man is always ephemeral, whether it is destroyed by arbitrariness [...] or by returning nature through time”. The cyclical nature of ephemeral event, therefore, refers to characteristic of permanence, but we must not forget its role as a progressive element, through the search for alternative architectural messages with respect to the places within which it is inscribed. Architecture is no longer seen as a means of fulfilling a given function or responding to a primary need, but to allows everything that is unpredictable in life, since it is the place itself where event of life happens. After all, Antonio Monestiroli in the essay La ragione degli edifici affirms that “everything for Aldo was a spectacle”. And this 

A. Rossi, L’architettura della città. Padova: Marsilio, 1966. M. Tafuri, quoted in R. Poletti, “Gli archi di Aldo Rossi”. Domusweb, June 28, 2012, https://www.  A. Monestiroli, La ragione degli edifici. Milano: Marinotti Edizioni, 2010. 


1. Teatrino Scientifico, 1978, detail of the model with scenography

part one | theory & design

silvia cattiodoro | theatrum vel monumentum

2. Lucia di Lammermoor, Rocca Brancaleone, Ravenna, 1986. The stage arranged for the first act



part one | theory & design

Bibliography Bilancioni G., “Aldo Rossi: semplice ontologia”. In Per Aldo Rossi, edited by S. Farinato. Venezia: Marsilio, 1998, pp. 39-45. Breinig H., “The Symbol of Complexity – I and My Chimney and Its Significance in the Context of Melville’s Later Writings”. Anglia - Zeitschrift für englische Philologie, vol. 1980, 98, 1980, pp. 51-67. Fera S., “Ricordi rossiani”. In Per Aldo Rossi, edited by S. Farinato. Venezia: Marsilio, 1998, pp. 79-84. Genis J., “Architectural Iconography in Melville’s I AND MY CHIMNEY”. The Explicator, 65(4), 2007, pp. 217-219. Greenough H., Form and Function. Remarks on Art, Design, and Architecture. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1958. Kanzler K., “Architecture, Writing and Vulnerable Signification in Herman Melville’s I and My Chimney”. Amerikastudien / American Studies, vol. 54, 4, 2009, pp. 583-601. Melville H., Journal up the straits, October 11, 1856 - May 5, 1857, edited by R. Weaver. New York: The Colophon, 1935. — “I and My Chimney”. In Great short works of Herman Melville, edited by B. Warner. New York: Harper & Row, 1969, pp. 325-354 [first published Putnam’s Monthly Magazine, March 1856]. Olson Ch., Call Me Ishmael. New York: Evergreen Book, 1947. Plank M., Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers. London: Williams & Norgate LTD, 1950. Poletti G., L’autobiografia scientifica di Aldo Rossi. Un’indagine critica tra scrittura e progetto di architettura. Milano: Bruno Mondadori, 2011. Rossi A., “La calda vita”. Controspazio, VII, 2, October 1975, pp. 60-63. — A Scientific Autobiography. Cambridge (MA) - London: The MIT Press, 1981. — The Architecture of the City. Cambridge (MA) - London: The MIT Press, 1982. — I Quaderni Azzurri (1968-1992), edited by F. Dal Co. Milano - Los Angeles (CA): Electa Getty Research Institute, 1999. Vidler A., The Architectural Uncanny. Essays in the Modern Unhomely. Cambridge (MA) - London: The MIT Press, 1992. Woodruff S.C., “Melville and His Chimney”. PMLA, vol. 75, 3, June 1960, pp. 283-292. Wright N., “Form as Function in Melville”. PMLA, vol. 67, 4 June 1952, pp. 330-340. — Horatio Greenough. The First American Sculptor. Philadelphia (PA): University of Pennsylvania Press, 1963.

typological problems of housing in vienna and frankfurt Alessandro Porotto École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland

1. Introduction Aldo Rossi’s ideas constitute an extraordinary methodological contribution that demonstrates still today a great lucidity. We assess that his approach is still necessary to investigate the examples that have contributed to the urban culture of a city. “The city [...] is to be understood here as architecture. By architecture I mean not only the visible image of the city and the sum of its different architectures, but architecture as construction, the construction of the city over time”. The incipit of The Architecture of the City not only constitutes a theoretical but also a highly effective worktool for analysing those experiences that have had a fundamental impact for the construction of the city. Rossi devoted himself to the study of examples that have already “nourished” the urban history and culture of a locus. In particular, he refers to the German architectural initiatives, which carried out a critical reflection on urban and typological models that might overcome their ideal character and actually materialize into the reality of the city: “in effect, there is a continuous process of influence, exchange, and often opposition among urban artefacts, and the city and ideal proposals make this process concrete”. This paper focuses on two mass housing experiences in the 1920s, whose morphological and typological results in quantitative and qualitative terms stand out from other undertakings in Europe. In Vienna das rote Wien (1919-1933) adopted the model of the Hof, while in Frankfurt the Siedlung model is used to achieve Ernst May’s Trabantenstadt, thanks to the famous experience of das neue Frankfurt (1925-1930). Rossi demonstrated a specific interest in these particular cases of the history of architecture. In The Architecture of the City the urban policies of the municipality of Vienna are taken into consideration when Rossi introduces the theme of housing amongst the primary elements for the analysis of the city; while Frankfurt is never directly mentioned, all the same it comes under the considerations regarding the Siedlung. The typological questions of housing and the examples of Vienna and the principles of the Existenzminimum are drawn from the famous essay I problemi tipologici e la residenza (1964). The interest in the urban history of Vienna is contained in the article “Un piano  

A. Rossi, The Architecture of the City. Cambridge (MA) - London: The MIT Press, 1982, p. 21. Ibid., p. 23.


part one | theory & design

1. Study trip in Frankfurt, 1972. The photo shows Aldo Rossi, Bruno Reichlin and ETH students at the Siedlung Riedhof-West (Heimatsiedlung) (photo Gianni Braghieri)

alessandro porotto | typological problems of housing


dwellings’ assemblage is given by solar exposure. Thus, the south facing building has staircases that lead onto three apartments per level: two lateral ones with double exposure and a central one facing in a single direction. An apartment type is made up of a Zimmer, living kitchen and toilet, while the other one has an extra Kammer. On the western side though, each staircase leads onto four apartments facing a single direction and comprising Zimmer, living kitchen and toilet. Despite the limited size of the dwellings, it is important to stress that all the apartments have a Vorraum. It constitutes the entrance but also the internal distribution system: along with the Gartenhof, the Vorraum constitutes the main typological feature of the Viennese housing projects. From a typological point of view, the “zig-zag” shape along the Einsiedlergasse deserves a specific mention. As well as the reason to offer more sunlight to the apartments, this shape is an urban invention provided by an original typological approach. In actual fact, the staircases are positioned in the juncture points between the blocks, hence articulating three apartments per floor on two different blocks. This solution shows the capacity of the Viennese architects to conceive or “invent” via the typology an urban form that renders the courtyard layout extremely flexible and adaptable to the particular urban conditions. In 1927 the architect Franz Roeckle began in Frankfurt the design of the Siedlung Riedhof-West (1927-1934), known also as the Heimatsiedlung, on the basis of a broader scale plan devised by Ernst May and his collaborators. Observing the general layout (fig. 3), in this case too we can identify an “invention” concerning the urban form. Volumes of four and five storeys are placed in correspondence to the limits of the entire structure of the Siedlung. On the one hand, they form an urban front in opposition to the railway, on the other hand, they underline the Stresemannallee through a serial repetition of accesses to the Siedlung. In the inner part, nine parallel bars of three storeys connect the two sides articulating eight spaces with the same depth, designated as collective gardens. Consequently, the shape is extremely unusual from a morphological point of view: it lies in an intermediary position between the bar shaped model and the courtyard block one. This shape enables to design the space through the greenery project, this too realised by Franz Roeckle, which enriches its collective vocation: each collective garden features a specific arboreal species that gives its name to the street concerned. Buchen, Birken, Eichen, Eschen, Linden, Platanen, Akazien, Kastanien are the only elements of the project to vary, thanks to the height and the foliage of the tree, the spatial uniformity of the bars. A more detailed analysis of the dwelling types highlights a fundamental feature of the Heimatsiedlung: the same bar shape can comprise single family houses or apartment blocks. This solution, engendered by economic and construction problems, demonstrates that the rationalism of the bar does not necessarily require the repetition


part one | theory & design

2. Julius Popp-Hof, Vienna. The redrawing shows the site plan (credit Alessandro Porotto) 3. Siedlung Riedhof-West (Heimatsiedlung), Frankfurt. The redrawing shows the site plan (credit Alessandro Porotto)

alessandro porotto | typological problems of housing


of the same dwelling type; on the contrary the same result can be achieved through typological and compositional variations. The 1098 dwellings can be identified via two different methods of typological assemblage (fig. 4). The volumes along the area limits feature staircases that at the most lead onto two apartments per floor. Against that, the first built bars (along Unter den Birken and Unter den Eichen) repeat the same 3-storey single-family house. Inside, the inner stairway is parallel to the façade and at the centre of the composition: the spatial organization rotates around this element. The washroom, the kitchen, the bathrooms and the children’s room are grouped on the northern side; the living room and the main bedroom are positioned on the southern side. On the first floor the living room extends out towards the “courtyard” via a jutting veranda/winter garden, which on the upper floor turns into a loggia accessible from the bedroom. The remaining bars are made up of blocks of apartments that use the same principle of the veranda-loggia. In both cases the total uniformity of the architectural result should be underlined, despite these substantial variations and typological hybridizations. The Siedlung Riedhof-West demonstrates even further the typological flexibility of the bar shape. In the Das neue Frankfurt experience, it can be considered one of the most significant projects from a morphological and typological point of view, which is able to adapt the slab model to build new parts of the city. 4. Towards an Ordinary City The typological analysis, through a comparative method, of accomplishments in Vienna and Frankfurt highlights a double objective. The first concerns the fact that the history of architecture has often neglected the mass housing experiences from the 1920s. On the contrary, Vienna and Frankfurt can be identified as the two complementary and extreme polarities of the housing and urban models belonging to this crucial moment in European history. In particular, the severe judgments on the Höfe do not correspond to the results provided by a careful analysis. Tafuri wrote intense pages about das rote Wien, above all pointing out the Viennese architects’ indifference to the typology. Hence, Aldo Rossi offers the methodological guidelines to carry out this verification through a critical morphological and typological study, moving away from Tafuri’s words, probably impregnated with ideological assumptions. The second objective can be summed up with the following question: what are the elements that hold together two so radically different examples of mass housing, like those of Vienna and Frankfurt?  In 1926 Martin Wagner bitterly criticised the urban policies and the Viennese realisation, affirming that “the repetition of a single unit a thousand times over could render the rhythm of equality of the masses”, in M. Tafuri, Vienna rossa, cit., p. 230.  M. Tafuri, Vienna rossa, cit.

aldo rossi’s a scientific autobiography: insights into doctoral training in design disciplines? Alice Buoli, Cecilia De Marinis, Dorotea Ottaviani Politecnico di Milano, Italy Deakin University, Australia Virginia Tech, USA

1. Introduction In his Postscript to the 1981 MIT Press edition of Aldo Rossi’s A Scientific Autobiography, Vincent Scully described it as a circular and non-linear narrative, where “everything is dreamlike: changing but static, revolving around fixed points of obsession”. Similarly, Paeleman defines Rossi’s book as a “systematic non-system of places and objects that evoke distinct time fragments of a worn out past” tracing a relation to Benjamin’s Berlin Childhood (1950). Such a synthetic, yet precise, description highlights some key design themes and methods related to Rossi’s work that appear critical to the debate within design and architecture higher education arenas about the pedagogical relevance of practice and practice-based research. According to a recent research conducted in the context of practice-based design research training, we identified relevant analogies between Rossi’s A Scientific Autobiography and PhD educational models in design disciplines. In his book (hereafter Autobiography) Rossi traces a narrative of his professional life by recalling and bridging memories, places, buildings, objects, forms, and insights emerging from his personal experiences, projects, and reflections. The elements surfacing from this “self-reflective” operation are the result of a careful observation, distillation and selection of forms and visions persisting in the author’s memories and in the material components of his practice. Likewise, practice-based PhD models rely on the self-accounts of practitioners’ professional trajectories, explored through conversations with their body of work and relevant elements of their personal life, tracing a “red thread” across their past and present practice, and future research perspectives.

 V. Scully, “Postscriptum. Ideology in Form”. In A. Rossi, A Scientific Autobiography. Cambridge (MA) - London: The MIT Press, 1981, p. 111.  J. Paeleman, “The Architecture of a Lifetime: Structures of Remembrance and Invention in Walter Benjamin and Aldo Rossi”. FOOTPRINT, Constellation of Awakening: Benjamin and Architecture, Spring Summer 2016, p. 54.  M. Fraser, “Design Research in Architecture: The Path towards Research-Based Education”. In Proceeding of aae 2016 International Conference on Research Based Education (London, UCL, 7-9 April 2016), edited by P. Weber. London: The Bartlett School of Architecture, pp. 80-85; J. Verbeke, “This is Research by Design”. In Design Knowledge, edited by J. Weidinger. Berlin: Technische Universität, 2015, pp. 80-84.  V. Scully, “Postscriptum. Ideology in Form”, cit., p. 111.

a. buoli, c. de marinis, d. ottaviani | aldo rossi’s a scientific autobiography


Drawn on these premises, this paper intends to inquire the possible legacies and unexplored contributions emerging from Rossi’s thought and work to contemporary international debates over architecture higher education models, Creative Practice Research, and practice-based PhD pedagogies. The aim of the essay is, thus, not related to a critical reading of the Autobiography as a memoir per se, but rather to an exploration of its epistemological, methodological, and operative pedagogical potential for different academic arenas. To this purpose, the paper will explore elements of the analogy between Rossi’s Autobiography and PhD training models in design disciplines, through the trajectories of a number of creative practitioners that have undertaken a practice-based doctoral programme. Those practitioners have been selected as case studies according to previous research in the field of Creative Practice Research conducted by the authors. Three thematic fields surfacing from the authors’ new reading of Rossi’s Autobiography (spatial experiences, time, and reiterations) have guided the exploration. These recurrences have been adopted to identify connections, comparisons, and differences among the work and trajectories of the creative practitioners, highlighting relevant epistemological and methodological insights shared between them and Rossi’s thought. 2. Research Background Starting from 2016 the authors have explored and studied the framework and methodology of the practice-based PhD as researchers involved in different international projects and institutions. Their research focused on methodology, structure, and purposes of the practice-based PhD, as well as its outcomes and contributions to the field, on both the individual and collective level. These research paths highlighted how the way practitioners/researchers describe their research, weaving it in a complex combination of personal and professional accounts, resembles the narrative of the Autobiography. The practice-based PhD is an investigation that concerns the very nature of the practice, leading to new knowledge by means of practice. This new knowledge has an operational significance and relies on multiple trajectories, exploring the past, present, and future of the practice itself. The practice-based PhD model explores the modes of practice while practising and it doesn’t provide rules or procedures to follow but rather enables practitioners/ researchers to shape their own research journeys and define their own specific methods of inquiry. The model here discussed has been developed by RMIT University in Australia over the last 20 years and it served as an archetype for the ADAPT-r project in Europe.

 This paper refers to the research addressed during ADAPT-r (Architecture, Design and Art Practice Training-research) program ( an ITN funded by the EU 7th Framework Programme aiming to disseminate a practice-based approach to doctoral training in several institutions in Europe.  The European context consists of a large array of different practice-based PhD models (Holder, 2015).


1. Martí Franch Batllori, “Time Specificity”, Submission for the “Scientific Autobiography - Call for Postcards”, 2016

part two | teaching & design

a. buoli, c. de marinis, d. ottaviani | aldo rossi’s a scientific autobiography


2. Koen Broucke, “Hand”, Submission for the “Scientific Autobiography - Call for Postcards”, 2016


3. Alicia Velázquez, “Interviewing Time Balls”, Submission for the “Scientific Autobiography - Call for Postcards”, 2016

part two | teaching & design

a. buoli, c. de marinis, d. ottaviani | aldo rossi’s a scientific autobiography


PhD journeys, at various moments of their professional paths, were selected to provide a broader overview of Creative Practice Research. The three selected thematic narratives – Spatial Experiences, Time and Reiterations – address and relate the elements of Rossi’s self-narrated experience and the research trajectories developed by the practitioners for the purpose of their PhD.

4.1 Spatial Experiences “Here one can terminate the inventory of projects or, if one wishes, begin an exhaustive search for things, a search which is also a recollection, but which is above all the destructive aspect of the experience that proceeds unforeseen”. Physical experience in space is a key theme within the context of practice-based research. It is based on the expertise and the insights emerging from the actual practice, namely the skill-based knowledge acquired through the process of making. Our research revealed that physical experience is considered by creative practitioners as both an urge and a method for research and practice. The collection of spatial experiences over time contributes to the construction of our mental space, shaping our spatial history and defining our spatial intelligence through a collection of memories “constructed and reconstructed over and again”. In the Autobiography, spatial experience is similarly considered as a key element of creative practice, connecting past memories with present and future practice. It is, in fact, discussing the experience of walking through the cities of Europe that Rossi claims: “I was discovering my own architecture”. From a similar perspective, Hendrickx narrates the internalization of this interwoven relationship between experience and time by means of cognitive structures. In his PhD journey, Kandjee discovered the relevance of being educated in multiple countries in the shaping of his mental space and approach to landscape. The same concept is described by Rossi as the “geography of one’s education”, a combination of physical experience and the reflection upon it. The physical and direct experience of a place is in itself a process of learning of and from a place, in which the internal and external realms meet through the medium of the body. New experiential knowledge is produced in the encounter.


A. Rossi, A Scientific Autobiography, cit. L. Van Schaik, Spatial intelligence: new futures for architecture, cit.  A. Rossi, A Scientific Autobiography, cit.  A. Hendrickx, Substantiating Displacement. PhD dissertation, RMIT University, 2012. A. Hendrickx is a Belgian architect and academic based in Brussels ( He completed his PhD at RMIT University in 2012.  T. Kandjee, Designing the skeleton of/for robust landscapes. PhD dissertation, RMIT University, 2013. T. Kandjee is a landscape architect and co-founder of Taktyk ( He completed his PhD at RMIT University in 2013.  A. Rossi, A Scientific Autobiography, cit. 


part two | teaching & design

1. Colossus of Saint Charles Borromeo (San Carlone), Arona, Italy. Interior of the head where it is possible to look out on the landscape through the holes of eyes, ears, nose (photo A. Oldani)

andrea oldani | the legacy of aldo rossi


these notebooks with [his] photos”. In his diary he returned many times on the topic, fascinated by “these images/notes that are and are not”, expressing a “very little mediated life”. He loved Polaroid “for its immediacy, its colour, for the capacity of expressing at the same time testimony and nothingness”. This love is entirely understandable. The immediacy, the uniqueness and the fragility of Polaroid well represent the idea of a fragment as an ephemeral caption for the memory. Polaroid are also manipulated, transformed, as drawings. I tried to see, how to say, the other side of Polaroid [...] when I was detaching the negative, as I used to do to glue them, the back of one picture was grey and, this seems me very nice, offering the possibility of drawing on it. [...] I think [also] there is the possibility of making them in black and white using some acid. I am very interested in these processes of interpretation of reality. Certainly, they are not a discovery, but they help us to investigate in the research in the field of representation.


Notes for a Posthumous Syllabus

The three peculiarities of Aldo Rossi’s research are the pre-conditions for the drafting of a posthumous syllabus addressed to the neophytes of architecture as a set of preparatory acts for their activity. 5.1 First: Search for Freedom “I have never defended anything in my life as energetically as my freedom; I still do not know what kind of freedom it is, but I have always found ways, even obscure, to defend it”. With this sentence, Rossi suggests the first point for a possible syllabus: the necessity of preserve freedom. This starts from his approach to reality, his open eyes, able to learn from the multiple experiences that life is offering. In 1971 Aldo Rossi wrote: “When I enrolled in architecture Giuseppe de Finetti told Stefano Mattioli that if I wanted to become a good architect I had to travel and look at the cities, attending the school as little as possible. I always followed the advice of this architect that I esteemed despite without knowing him”. It was not laziness but as opposite, an invitation to deepen personal direct knowledge. This idea of freedom was at the base of the cultural approach of Aldo Rossi. His certain radicalism, for example, when he examines the historic city, it is the result of this approach. Freedom guarantees possibilities and reflection allows control. “This freedom compels me to maintain my love of order, or of a disorder that is always moderate and reasoned. It is the freedom of the interrupted building, the abandoned


Ibid., p. 26. Ibid., p. 42.  Ibid., p. 44.  Ibid., p. 43.  Ibid., p. 44.  A. Rossi, Note autobiografiche sulla formazione ecc. dicembre 1971, manuscript. Los Angeles (CA), Getty Research Institute, p. 11.  Ibid., p. 5. 


part two | teaching & design

2. Aldo Rossi, Reliquie, 1989. Photoetching and acquatint, 23,5 × 70 cm, p.d.a. (Collection Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht, inv. BFM 3884) 3. Aldo Rossi, Untitled, 1981, collage, pastel and pen on paper, cm 43 × 28. Private collection

andrea oldani | the legacy of aldo rossi


palace, the village left in the mountains, the material which is deformed over time [...] all this suggested a possible mode of being”. Such sense of freedom imposes to demolish barrier, assuming an anticonformist attitude, opening your eyes. 5.2 Second: Gaze at Reality Consequently, the second point consists in the invitation to gaze at reality. Rossi wrote: Perhaps the observation of things has remained my most important formal education; for observation later becomes transformed into memory. Now I seem to see all the things I have observed arranged like tools in a neat row; they are aligned as in a botanical chart, or a catalogue, or a dictionary. But this catalogue, lying somewhere between imagination and memory, is not neutral; it always reappears in several objects and constitutes their deformation and, in some way, their evolution.

He was observing anything he deserved interesting, beautiful, meaningful or, sometimes, weird. “Plastic flowers [...] preserve the rose by being different from it, by offering a different kind of beauty”. The invitation for the novices of architecture is to question anything, with the curiosity of children and the wisdom of an old man. Rossi invites to observe without prejudice exhorting to a trans-thematic and trans-temporal reading possibility. His way to look at the past is today purposeful. Contemporary society and especially young generations are exposed to an exasperated consumption of images, which become obsolete in a few months. Architecture is inevitably involved in this process. Rossi invites to investigate the outside world with curiosity, assuming their references according to own inner feeling instead of following the preferences of a defining moment. 5.3 Third: Develop your Toolbox The third advice regards the necessity of developing a set of tools used to deal with today’s complexity. “Thus the architect must prepare his instruments with the modesty of a technician; they are the instruments of an action which he can only glimpse, or imagine, although he knows that the instrument itself can evoke and suggest the action”. Means and actions are always linked by a deep relationship, and the development of an essential toolbox is a fundamental step in architecture. Rossi’s legacy includes as first hand drawing. It is irreplaceable for architects. Rossi invites avoiding the embarrassment of a too personal way. It is an invitation to proceed with freedom widening the conventional horizons. As a second, Rossi invites to develop writing tools, especially in the form of personal notebooks. Journaling is intended as a source of ideas, a dialogue between words


A. Rossi, A Scientific Autobiography, cit., p. 54.

 Ibid., p. 23. 

Ibid., p. 54. p. 20.

 Ibid.,

part two | teaching & design


and images. His Quaderni Azzurri, despite the autobiographical intent, follows these scopes and demonstrates the broad possibility offered by this activity. 4.4 Fourth: Build your Collection Finally, the fourth point may suggest building a personal collection. This activity should be hybrid and variable, where the accumulation of physical objects appears as part of a more complex attitude, including references, notes, sketches and other media. These four points are what emerging from a reading of Aldo Rossi’s experience. The posthumous syllabus contains commitments, tools, reasons and peculiarities of Rossi’s approach. The point is recovering the inner attitudes of him, some of them common to other masters, but always unique. Distancing from his work as an architect and focusing on the pragmatic cultural approach is another way to look at his legacy. It emerges Aldo Rossi’s unique way of gazing at reality, where the man and his relationship with the complexity of the world make some singularities that become indications for the education of young architects. As first, it is an invitation to build yourself, self-providing a set of experiences, references and tools.

Bibliography Canella G., “Sul gusto del giovane Aldo”. In Per Aldo Rossi, edited by S. Farinato. Venezia: Marsilio, 1998, pp. 19-24. Cardinal R., Cultures of Collecting. London: Reaktion Books, 2004. Dal Co F., “Introduzione ai Quaderni Azzurri di Aldo Rossi”. In A. Rossi, I Quaderni Azzurri (1968-1992), edited by F. Dal Co. Milano - Los Angeles (CA): Electa - Getty Research Institute, 1999, pp. II-XXV. “Dopo Aldo Rossi”, edited by G. Leoni. Monographic issue, d’Architettura, 23, 2004. Forster K.W., “Le stampe di Aldo Rossi in un’epoca di immagini architettoniche”. In Aldo Rossi. Opera Grafica, edited by G. Celant, S. Huijts. Cinisello Balsamo (MI): Silvana Editoriale, 2015, pp. 26-37. Kentgens I., Lampariello B., Quik T., Spangaro C., “Opera Grafica 1973-1997”. In Aldo Rossi. Opera Grafica, edited by G. Celant, S. Huijts. Cinisello Balsamo (MI): Silvana Editoriale, 2015, pp. 66-245. Libeskind D., “Su Aldo Rossi, Interwiew by Roberto Dell’Orco”. d’Architettura, 23, 2004, pp. 171-172. Portoghesi P., “Aldo Rossi”. In Per Aldo Rossi, edited by S. Farinato. Venezia: Marsilio, 1998, pp. 11-18. Rossi A., “Note autobiografiche sulla formazione ecc. dicembre 1971”. Manuscript. Los Angeles (CA): Getty Research Institute. — A Scientific Autobiography. Cambridge (MA) - London: The MIT Press, 1981. — The Architecture of the City (1966). Cambridge (MA): The MIT Press, 1984. — Aldo Rossi. Tutte le opere, edited by A. Ferlenga. Milano: Electa, 1999. — I Quaderni Azzurri (1968-1992), edited by F. Dal Co. Milano - Los Angeles (CA): Electa Getty Research Institute, 1999.



A. Rossi, Fragments, 1987, detail, private collection

aldo rossi’s journey Angelo Lorenzi Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Today is a very special day, and it is with a great pride and joy that I accept this prize. However, in some way it is also difficult to receive this prize. In a way, I feel like a schoolboy who is about to take an exam. A moment to recollect – a moment of guilt – a moment of truth. I also take this opportunity to meditate on my architecture. I will not bore you with a minute analysis; just a few words. I have always felt that my architecture is timeless. I hope that this prize bears witness to that thought. I have always stayed away from the gossip that surrounds groups, school, magazines, newspapers, architects, and so on. But above all, I have always rejected styles and fashions. I am not obsessed with architecture, but I have always tried to make architecture in an honest way, like all those that honestly practice their profession. Like the stonemasons or workmen who build the cathedrals, the factories, the big bridges, the big works of our time. Searching for truth in my profession, I have ended up loving architecture. Maybe it is a simple but strange satisfaction that makes one love his own profession. So let me call it “cara architettura,” or in English, “dear architecture,” or with your permission, “darling architecture”. I have never believed that any profession could be disjointed from culture, and, for this reason, during my youth I had the privilege of studying the relationship between theory and architecture, and I was happy to find significance in those studies. But today I prefer to design and build, and I am fascinated by the possibility of building in different places and countries. It is as if all the cultures of these diverse countries make up my architecture and come together to form a whole. A unity that has the capacity to recompose the fragments of those things that were originally lost. Like many architects today, I am working in many places around the world—in Italy, Germany, England, America, and Japan. This is a sign of a new architecture that supersedes style and personal character, a universal architecture. I’d like to speak about something like a contamination between different cultures. We live in a time similar to the period of Palladio, when the architecture of this city, of this country, made a special contamination in Russia, in England, and in America. Every building is the same, but at the same time, it is very different. For this reason, I believe in a great civic architecture that has the capacity to recompose our cities, making our lives more free, more visible, more beautiful.

Aldo Rossi was the first Italian architect to win the Pritzker Prize, in 1990. This prize definitively established his international success and was the due recognition of 

A. Rossi, Ceremony Acceptance Speech. The Pritzker Architecture Prize, 1990.


part three | international design legacy

1. The courtyard in Schützenstras se block, Berlin (© Roberto Conte) 2. San Cataldo Cemetery, Modena, Italy (© Giulia Setti)

giulia setti | the influence of aldo rossi in europe


semi-public space that keeps alive the inner space, to re-establish the vitality of the courtyard and the soul of the block. The work carried out by Klaus Theo Brenner finds its origins here: starting from the reconstruction of the IBA and from the rationalist movement, Brenner has constantly worked on the concept of “urban block”, using the collage of parts as a design tool. Klaus Theo Brenner’s projects work on parcels defined from the urban block, on the relationship between inside and outside and on the role of the courtyard as the founding nucleus of urban life. A measured juxtaposition that get back from Aldo Rossi is the exuberance in the combination of styles, in the definition of a collective fresco, in the relationship with an “urban architecture” capable of dialogue both with domestic interiority and with the monumentality of an existing urban fabric. The projects by K.T. Brenner in Berlin collect the legacy of Aldo Rossi, reading its relevance in the 21st century. If Aldo Rossi in Schützenstrasse block determines a rigorous structure, broken by chromatic variations and superimposed styles Brenner brings the Rossi’s influence to greater stylistic and design rigor. 4.

Aldo Rossi’s Lesson in the Work of Eduardo Souto de Moura

The evocation of Aldo Rossi’s profile continually returns in the works of Eduardo Souto de Moura: it is a declared and honest legacy that reflects on some architectural design affinities. Souto de Moura emphasizes the relationship with the archetypal forms described by Aldo Rossi in the Scientific Autobiography: parts, fragments, memories and objects are juxtaposed following and reinterpreting the poetics of Aldo Rossi’s work. Eduardo Souto de Moura’s interest in Aldo Rossi lies in different elements of his poetics, in the intrinsic relationship within the context called by Norberg-Schultz’s theories “genius loci”. At the same time, Souto de Moura dialogues with history, reinterpreting it; something that Aldo Rossi has done for many years in his design experimentations, from the most known cases like the San Cataldo Cemetery in Modena, or with drawings, engravings or small objects built during his career, like the Scientific Theater. Aldo Rossi’s architecture was an experiential journey, close to metaphysics, but based on urban artifacts, on real places able to deal with suburbs and outskirts, or with “forgotten” contexts. Souto de Moura architecture is a laborious research, determined and sometimes violent; it means “to accept the experience as a content of the project and as an exterminating force of the architectural form, to use an Aldo Rossi’s expression,

 The IBA, Internationale Bauausstellung, was held in West Berlin in two phases in 1984 and 1987. It represented a moment of rebirth of the urban and architectural project where different interventions were planned to recover and reconstruct the urban fabric damaged by the Second World War.  K.T. Brenner, Timeless city architecture: collage eglise coppia. Berlin: Wasmuth, 2015.  C. Norberg-Schulz, Existance, Space, Architecture. New York: Praeger, 1971.


part three | international design legacy 3. Eduardo Souto de Moura, Casa das Historias, Cascais, Portugal (© Giulia Pantò) 4. Eduardo Souto de Moura, Casa das Historias, Cascais, Portugal (© Giulia Pantò)

giulia setti | the influence of aldo rossi in europe


who has always been his reference figure; to practice the constructive discipline not as a tool to realize a preconceived form but as a technical practice generating the form”. The Casa das Historias in Cascais is an expression of the critical thought of Souto de Moura and strongly describes the legacy with Aldo Rossi’s work. Through this paradigmatic project, Souto de Moura develops a new form of modern architecture that refuse to evoke or repeat stereotypes of spatial forms, but, on the contrary, recalls strong urban archetypes and iconographies, such as a chimney, a lighthouse or a silos. The Casa das Historias recalls to the strongest urban “signs” through primary and archetypal forms; the chimney and the lighthouse, which mark the natural landscape, become cones that bring light into the rooms of the museum designed by the architect. The metaphysical light coming inside from the red pyramid trunks, the so-called “canons à lumière” memory of Le Corbusier’s philosophy, brings again the attention on Aldo Rossi’s legacy and to the metaphysical and unreal light that pervades the ossuary of San Cataldo Cemetery in Modena. In a different context, Souto de Moura borrows the analogy concept of Aldo Rossi and introduces the cones in the Cascais project emphasizing the dramatic nature of the relationship between light, artwork and visitors. Here its expressive strength originates in the ability of Souto de Moura to force the archetypal elements inserted in the project: the two pyramidal towers thus represent a call to the past, at the same time defining the expressive power of the intervention. If the Casa das Historias shows a mature awareness in the transposition of the principles of Rossi’s poetics, different but even more fascinating is the case of the Braga public market designed by Souto de Moura between 1980 and 1984. In the Braga market, the concept of “urban fact” has been taken up by Aldo Rossi’s text in The Architecture of the City; the market defines a common public space and, thanks to it, a new urban identity. Through these lenses Souto de Moura’s work fascinates, thanks to the ability to reinterpret theoretical assumptions translating them into architecture. The original project foresaw that the market could define a new portion of the city, it was thought as a “fragment” assuming the role of heart of the potential urban growth envisaged by the architect. In both cases Eduardo Souto de Moura designs projects capable of becoming “urban artifacts” that aim to consolidate over time, to support the construction of cities around them. The architecture of Souto de Moura dialogues with time, in a conflictual manner as in the case of the Braga market, which has undergone to several recovery interventions; or like in Cascais where time is deliberately stopped, to allow to feel a full metaphysical experience of the relationship between object, light and nature.


A. Esposito, G. Leoni, Eduardo Souto de Moura: tutte le opere. Milano: Electa, 2003. D. Seixas Lopes, Melancholy and architecture. On Aldo Rossi. Zürich: Park books, 2015.  The present essay refers to the project of the covered market in Braga realized by Eduardo Souto de Moura between 1980 and 1984, before the subsequent interventions carried out to renovate the market due to the severe condition of abandonment of the complex. 

part three | international design legacy



The relevance of Aldo Rossi: a Possible Scenario for Contemporary Architecture?

The poetry of Eduardo Souto de Moura projects shows how Aldo Rossi’s legacy is even more present in the contemporary scenario; it is an elective affinity declined into design as well as in the theoretical assumptions of the Portuguese architect. At the same time, the projects of Aldo Rossi abroad represent a design reference that goes beyond imitation and copy, but which seeks its roots in the sense of the “Architecture” developed by Aldo Rossi in his career. Both cases discussed in this essay show how the figure of Aldo Rossi still represents a paradigmatic design reference. Aldo Rossi’s legacy appears alive outside Italy; it is a source of direct and indirect inspiration through the reinterpretation of models consolidated by Rossi. The architecture developed by Aldo Rossi remains a model of contemporary culture for the expressive power that Rossi’s choices have been able to define. Never banal, always ready to break the tradition, Aldo Rossi has represented an era and a rebellion towards the past, knowing how to skillfully merge rigor and freedom, passion and measure. This shows how Aldo Rossi’s legacy lends itself to multiple and fascinating transmigrations and could still inspire architects, citizens and lovers of “urban artifacts”.

Bibliography Brenner K.T., Razionalisti berlinesi: la costruzione della citta. Bernd Albers, Baumeister + Dietzsch, Klaus Theo Brenner, Max Dudler, Eckert - Negwer - Suselbeek, Petra + Paul Kahlfeldt, Jan Kleihues, Walter Arno Noebel. Firenze: Aion, 2010. — Timeless city architecture: collage eglise coppia. Berlin: Wasmuth, 2015. Esposito A., Leoni G., Eduardo Souto de Moura: tutte le opere. Milano: Electa, 2003. La Tendenza: architectures italiennes 1965-1985 | Italian architectures 1965-1985, edited by F. Migayrou. Paris: Éditions du Centre Pompidou, 2012. Martí Arís, C., “L’impronta surrealista nell’opera di Aldo Rossi”. In La centina e l’arco, Milano: Marinotti, 2007, pp. 125-138. Monestiroli A., Il mondo di Aldo Rossi. Siracusa: LetteraVentidue, 2015. Norberg-Schulz C., Existance, Space, Architecture. New York: Praeger, 1971. Rossi A., L’autobiografia scientifica. Parma: Pratiche, 1990. — L’architettura della città. Milano: Città Studi Edizioni, 1995. — “La diversità di Berlino”. In Id., Aldo Rossi, III. Opera completa 1993-1996, edited by A. Ferlenga. Milano: Electa, 1996, pp. 271-338. Seixas Lopes D., Melancholy and architecture. On Aldo Rossi. Zürich: Park books, 2015.

the greek city and the architecture of aldo rossi Sotirios Zaroulas Politecnico di Milano, Italy

I look at the photo of the house at Samos with the balusters. I drew them for A[lessi’s] villa and I would like to use them for the house at Ghiffa as well. Is there any relationship between Greece and the lake? Anyway, everything came after Greece is a relative of Greece. Aldo Rossi, I Quaderni Azzurri, 41

The subject of this paper is the relationship of Aldo Rossi’s architecture with the architecture of the Greek city and it is organised in two parts: the first part regards the question of classical architecture in Rossi’s work, while the second one focuses on the influence of Rossi’s architecture on the work of the Greek architects from the 1970s onwards. The purpose of this paper is therefore twofold: on the one hand, to examine the progressive aspect of the historical architecture, as Rossi puts it through his writings and work; on the other hand, the intention is to analyse how Rossi’s projects had been a source of inspiration for a number of Greek architects who worked in the Greek city, under the same criteria, and thus, being able to compare themselves to its heritage. Aldo Rossi never worked in Greece and consequently he did not have the opportunity to be measured directly with the Greek city, its ancient routes, its monuments, its natural surroundings, its history and its myths. References to classical Greece appear fragmentary in Rossi’s work, yet Classical culture is the center around which his most well-known book, The Architecture of the City, is constructed. More specifically, the Greek city of the Classical era is the foundation of his studies of urban phenomena and the beginning of the city’s idea. In the Quaderni Azzurri, (hereinafter QA), the famous notebooks he kept over the following years, there are scattered thoughts about Greek architecture. As if he wanted to write more, as if it was a kind of a project he had not accomplished yet, or even something both unreached and deeply radicated in his theories: “In the end”, Rossi writes, “it seems to me that all this notebook revolves around Samos and Greece”. Aldo Rossi in The Architecture of the City cites many authors and books on the theme of the Greek city. The analysis here concentrates on this one that seems to have captured Rossi’s attention. He wrote a review in Casabella-Continuità where he em

S. Zaroulas, “Milano. Splende il pianeta Aldo Rossi”. Ananke, 88, 2018, p. 88. A. Rossi, I Quaderni Azzurri (1968-1992), edited by F. Dal Co. Milano - Los Angeles (CA): Electa Getty Research Institute, 1999, n. 41. 

aldo rossi and the re-use of historical elements in berlin Ivan Brambilla Fachhochschule Potsdam, Germany

Aldo Rossi’s relationship with Germany was intense and persistent. The city of Berlin in particular played a central role in stimulating the interest of the Italian architect from the early 1960s to the end of his career. Berlin provided Rossi with important opportunities for study and theoretical investigation and his observations and analyses of various aspects of Berlin’s architectural history – Schinkel, historic residential buildings, the modernist Siedlungen and both post-war and contemporary issues – served to increase the interest towards the German city both in Europe and further afield. In the same way that Berlin became a key element in Aldo Rossi’s education and professional experience, his theories on the relationship between architecture and urban fabric came to influence the reconstruction processes that took place in Berlin, firstly and most significantly during the Internationale Bauausstellung (IBA), organised in the 1980s to develop and rehabilitate urban areas in former West Berlin. After decades of post-war reconstruction, Berlin reflected once again on its historical identity; an approach previously opposed for both ideological and functional reasons. With the IBA, the city of Berlin became not only an object of study, but also a field of application for Rossi. He actively contributed to its transformation, participating in the debate surrounding the issue of Kritische Rekonstruktion (critical reconstruction) promoted by Josef Paul Kleihues and was given the opportunity to build his first projects outside of Italy: a residential building in Kochstraße (1981) and an urban villa in Rauchstraße (1983). The contribution offered by his theoretical work was decisive in this phase and, with regard to this, Kleihues wrote: Rossi must certainly be given due credit for the importance given to the city’s history and his interesting spatial consideration. His work The Architecture of the City, first published  An important example is his defence of the Stalinallee (now Karl-Marx-Allee), the urban model that symbolizes the first phase of German socialist architecture.  The IBA (International Building Exhibition) Berlin was an urban renewal project in West Berlin, from 1979 to 1987. It followed two distinct strategies: careful urban renewal (IBA-Altbau), headed by HardtWaltherr Hämer, and critical reconstruction (IBA-Neubau), headed by Josef Paul Kleihues.

ivan brambilla | aldo rossi in berlin

1. Aldo Rossi, Block in Schützenstraße (photo I. Brambilla, March 2018)



part four | design

2. State Council Building and lefts the Stadtschloss under construction (photo I. Brambilla, March 2019) 3. IBA complex in Feilnerstraße: copy of the façade of Schinkel’s Feilnerhaus (photo I. Brambilla, March 2019)

ivan brambilla | aldo rossi in berlin


in Italy in 1966, was subsequently translated into various languages and since then its influence on the theoretical as well as practical field has been fruitful and persistent.

The significance of Rossi’s theoretical work in the paradigm shift in the development of the city of Berlin is officially recognised. Hans Stimmann, the central figure in post-reunification reconstruction in Berlin – which re-launched the concept of Kritische Rekonstruktion, thereby confirming the decisive role of Rossi’s thought in defining the structure and appearance of the German city –, wrote about the IBA: Aldo Rossi’s critique and the “Collage City” figure-ground diagram analyses were not without their consequences in Berlin. The body of the city, impressively read in the form of the figure-ground diagram, once more gradually became the analytical tool for architects’ work. Criticism of the naïve functionalism of Modernism united architects who were interested in the texture of the European city and its history.

If the project for the Deutsches Historisches Museum (1988-1989) – that Rossi himself considered as his most important experience in Berlin – was his last design opportunity before the fall of the wall, his urban plan proposal for the central area around Potsdamer Platz and Leipziger Platz (1990) inaugurated the post-reunification phase. These projects are complementary, not only because one includes the other, but because they express a clear idea of the ​​ city, made up of road alignments, green spaces and typological alternation. This is Rossi’s analogous Berlin, set between the traces of both old and new, yet in continuity with its great architectural tradition, thereby redeeming its role as a capital. Rossi’s Potsdamer Platz and Leipziger Platz urban project and his design for the Deutsches Historisches Museum not only act as a bridge between his first phase and his later projects of the 1990s but also define a coherent image of Berlin, conceived in parts but related to a substantially unitary idea. German reunification marked the start of an important period for the city, characterised by intense debate and building activity, during which Rossi had the opportunity to draft six more projects: a building in Friedrichstraße (1991), the office complex on Landsberger Allee (1992), the residential and office building in Schützenstraße (1992-98), the competition projects for the Spree Island (1993-94) and Pariser Platz (1995) and the mixed-use building on Leipziger Platz (1995). All these interventions are guided by the logic of stitching the historic urban fabric and confirming established  J.P. Kleihues, “Place of Contradiction and Critical Reconstruction of the City”. In Progettare la Metropoli. Berlino: l’Internazionale Bauausstellung e l’Architettura del XX secolo, edited by G. Muratore, G. Mercurio, G. Saponaro. Roma: Edilstampa, 1988, p. 17.  H. Stimmann, “The Physiognomy of a Major City, Berlin 1945-1953-1989-2010: 50 years of experiments in urban development and architecture”. In Berlino Berlin: Physiognomy of a Metropolis, edited by H. Stimmann. Milano: Skira, 2000, p. 19.  A. Rossi, “La diversità di Berlino”. Casabella, 632, 1996, p. 22.  Project for the Berlin Morgen competition, promoted by the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, aimed at suggesting proposals for the city centre.  Rossi himself later wrote: “I find this project cannot be judged with critical schemes other than the understanding of the capital city”. A. Rossi, “Prefazione”. In Aldo Rossi: Deutsches Historisches Museum, edited by A. Ferlenga. Milano: Electa, 1990, p. 7 (translation by the author). However, it is precisely because of the new programmes made for the area following the new role of Berlin as capital that the project was abandoned.

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