From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Aldo Rossi (May 3, 1931- September 4, 1997) was an Italian architect and designer who accomplished the unusual feat of achieving international recognition in three distinct areas: theory, drawing, and architecture.
His earliest works of the 1960s were mostly theoretical and displayed a simultaneous influence of 1920s Italian modernism (see Giuseppe Terragni), classicist influences of 19th century architect Adolf Loos, and the reflections of the painter Giorgio de Chirico.
In his writings Rossi criticized the lack of understanding of the city in current architectural practice. He argued that a city must be studied and valued as something constructed over time; of particular interest are urban artifacts that withstand the passage of time. Rossi held that the city remembers its past (our "collective memory"), and that we use that memory through monuments; that is, monuments give structure to the city.
He became extremely influential in the late 1970s and 1980s as his body of built work expanded and for his theories promoted in his books The Architecture of the City (L'architettura della città, 1966) and A Scientific Autobiography (Autobiografia scientifica, 1981).
Aldo Rossi died in a car accident in September 1997 in Milan.
Rossi is considered the founder of the Neo-Rationalist movement known as La Tendenza (see Rationalism). His influence in shaping European architectural thinking during this period is often compared to that of Robert Venturi in the USA; however, Rossi was clearly progressing Modernist views that were based on European urbanism whereas Venturi was a Post-Modernist.