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Color sketch of buildings on a city street

The Poetry of Space: the Milanese Master Architect Aldo Rossi


Rendering due tribute to this poet of spaces, we dedicate a few lines to his eternal memory.

Man’s creations have been in many cases pure crystallisations of his own gestures: a glass to drink water was the mimetic response to the curvature that a hand can take when drinking from it. It was thus that human beings plagued the planet with reflections surrounding their own body and nature. When the time came for him to solve the problem of inhabiting the world, he set a limit between his territory and that of all other living creatures –– by raising his dwellings he referenced the body as a home, as well as the cavernous structures of Mother Nature. Poetics of the vague memories of those experiences are hidden deeply in our interior and some men are able to access them naturally, as is the case of the architect Aldo Rossi (1931-1997).

Schützenstrasse apartment buildings in Berlin designed by Aldo Rossi

This fabulous philosopher of space created important buildings in different parts of the world, inspired by Italian Modernism and, using his critical and fearless character, he manifested the understanding he had of cities, of their internal dynamics and their need to favour the flow and harmony within them. Some of his most characteristic buildings are: il Teatro del Mundo, designed for the 1979 Venice Biennale, the National Opera of Genoa and the Lighthouse Theatre in Toronto. Aldo Rossi practiced the cult of memory and creativity, he is a poet of space and architectural rhythm, and his buildings are sober reflections of his passions.

Sketch of various buildings, by Aldo Rossi

On the other hand, Rossi’s imaginary visions were enshrined on paper, beautiful drawings in which whimsical cities are portrayed and appreciated despite their subtle defiance of physical logic, but that remain precise mathematics that trick the eye and are awe striking because of their attention to detail and magic. They allude somehow to Renaissance cartographies which at the same time mingle with M.C Escher’s impossible visions. The zenith views of the polychromatic erections of his drawings allude to futurist temples at times –– they seem gathering places where discussions can take place in the same fashion as the ones in Ancient Greece did, or as will happen in the future networks of the world.

It is quite possible that in his two-dimensional works, some will find the invisible cities of Italo Calvino, and it would not be surprising that someone had already dreamt the places the master architect drew. The crossing perspectives that inhabit the same oneiric space with detailed approaches to the textures, creating micro-planes that allow us multiple visions that transform our observation in deep meditation.

The legacy that this visionary has left behind for us goes beyond the X, Y and Z planes; it is planted in an ulterior dimension that is much more subtle than our own, where dreams, fantasies and reality are interchangeable and merged.

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