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Aldo Rossi papers, 1943-1999

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Finding aid for the Aldo Rossi papers, 1943-1999

Scope and Content of Collection

The Aldo Rossi papers contain a selection of works by the prolific architect, writer, artist and theorist. Manuscripts, typescripts and clippings make up most of the papers. The writings in the collection represent Rossi's process of transforming texts. Similar ideas and often sections of writing appear in altered form as notes, lectures, course materials and published works. Rossi's iterative writing is often annotated, and drafts of the same works appear in more than one series. Also included are several examples of his projects and designs represented in sketches, formal building and site plans, and notebooks. The highlights of these materials are the stunning notebooks which capture Rossi's artistic dexterity as well as his theoretical interests.

Among the lectures and course material in Series I are unpublished speeches, conference papers, and notes for teaching. Subjects include design theory, history and principles of architecture, and rational architecture. These materials show that Rossi lectured extensively both domestically and internationally.

Series II includes drafts of Rossi's books L'archittetura della città and Autobiografia scientifica as well as work he contributed to other authors' books, notes, and preliminary and final drafts of his writings. This series also includes project plans, project descriptions and official letters for such projects as Piazza di Sannazzaro and the Scandicci competition. Rossi bibliographies, ephemera, photographs, and additional clippings are located in this series. While most clippings comprise articles by Rossi or about Rossi there are also materials outside of this scope that were most likely used for Rossi's research or that reflect his personal interests.

Series III contains correspondence and business documents such as incoming and outgoing letters concerning current topics in architecture, symposia and interview proposals, work contracts, invitations, publishing information, student research papers on Rossi buildings, and financial statements. Color slides or photographs are occasionally included with correspondence. Correspondents include Carlo Aymonino, Peter Eisenman, Léon Krier, Rob Krier, Paolo Portoghesi, Hans Hollein, and Manfredo Tafuri.

Series IV includes 32 of the original 47 numbered notebooks, also known as "i quaderni azzurri," that highlight Rossi's architectural creative process. Rossi often drew before, after and during the construction of a project. Some notebooks contain graphic sketches, often in color, revealing Rossi's practice of reinventing repetitive design themes. The 32 notebooks display the minimal elegance and gravity of Rossi's artistic practice, with drawings that were often highly evocative of a given design's physical realization. This series also includes other notebooks and sketchbooks. Notebook content often includes notes, sketches, drawings, comments on travels, analyses, and drafts of letters. A photocopy of Il libro azzurro notebook and sketchbook as well as photocopies of other sketchbooks and notebooks are also included. Additionally, typescript drafts of writing including draft versions of Autobiografia scientifica can be found here.

Series V comprises drawings and plans with no associated papers. The Palazzo dei Congressi plans are filed here and include several building plans with hand-drawn color details. This series also includes a detailed drawing in color signed by Rossi.

All of the series in the Rossi papers maintain the original order of the acquisition; consequently some work in each series does not precisely reflect series descriptions.


The collection is organized in five series: ; ; ; ; .
Series I. Lectures and course material, 1954-1985
Series II. Drafts and writings, 1943-1999
Series III. Correspondence and business documents, 1954-1988
Series IV. Notebooks, 1949-1986
Series V. Architectural designs, 1972-1982

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