The Darkmoon Collection – Exploring Tucson with Her

The Legendary Aldo Rossi – Architect or Artist? BOTH

Hello everyone!

Today let’s commemorate the innovative Italian architect Aldo Rossi and what made him so inspirational and different from other architects…not with just the structures he designed but the actual sketches and designs he created. For those of you who don’t know him or have never heard of him, it is my pleasure to introduce you to his work.

I just want to say that I truly admire the way his mind worked and the way his sketches translated into his architecture.  You can see something truly magnificent if you look at these as more than just architectural drawings but as abstract artwork.

Drawings and Sketches by Italian Architect Aldo Rossi: apuntes-martes-5-de-mayo.jpeg

Aldo Rossi was born on May 3, 1931 in Milan, Italy and died on September 4, 1997 and although I do not want you to stop reading THIS IS NOT A HISTORY LESSON…there are 2 main pieces of knowledge I would prefer if you take away about him.

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1.  He accomplished the unusual feat of achieving international recognition in four distinct areas:




product design

Drawings and Sketches by Italian Architect Aldo Rossi: aldo-rossi-town-hall-square-and-monument-to-the.jpeg

2.  He was also a writer, painter,and published theoretician who used the most basic forms of geometry and simplified shapes in his building types and designs

This postmodern technique is known as NEORATIONALISM.

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With time, his architectural sketches and drawings have become recognized as works of art in themselves and have been exhibited in major museums throughout the world.

His use of color to emphasize certain moods and concepts really draws me into these some sketches.

Some of them look more like abstract art rather than site plans or building drafts, and it takes the viewer a second to actually recognize some of the meaning in the drawing.

In fact I honestly believe that if nobody knew him and had displayed this artwork up without talking about any of its context or revealing the artist, 90% of people would have no clue that it they are actually architectural plans.

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This above hand sketch is one of my favorites even though it lacks color – it gives you something so detailed and I have honestly looked at this image for hours and still see new things.

A large quantity of drawings document the stages of a project’s stages and refinement and most of these drawings are done freehand.  He hand sketched and colored these himself, these are literally hand renderings which would have taken him hours.

Many of his sketches also have his notes and annotations on them as well as he got ideas while working.

I get this impression that his brain probably never stopped working and calculating things.

Quartier Schützenstrasse – Berlin, Germany

The picture above is one of his actual drawings come to life and although he has so many buildings that are impressive and it was NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE for me to choose, to me this is one of the best examples of the things I talked about in this article.

The Quartier Schützenstrasse is a collage of icons and archetypes with several obvious references to other Rossi buildings as well as historical references

Obviously the thing that strikes me first is the color of the building and the incredibly clean symmetrical aspect even though it is placed on a street corner.

Two of the buildings are residential apartments the rest are a mixture of residential and commercial use. The plan, inspired by the building blocks of 19th century Berlin, is organized around two large and two small interior courtyards that fill the block with beautiful light.

His work and life truly inspired me as a photographer and an artist because he was a visionary, a rare talent, and a man who believed that the most basic forms could accomplish the most beautiful things – and he was CORRECT. 🙂


  1. Zukowsky, J. (2013, May 20). Aldo Rossi (Italian architect). Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  2. Boegl, T. (n.d.). QUARTIER SCHÜTZENSTRASSE. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  3. Juxtapoz Magazine – Drawings and Sketches by Italian Architect Aldo Rossi. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  4. Aldo Rossi Archive collection. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2014.