Architecture is a profession in which talent matures slowly. It is a discipline which requires many years of thoughtful observation, of testing principles, of sensing space, and experiencing the many moods necessary for seasoning and nurturing. Wunderkind in architecture are extremely rare.
The array of abilities that permit an architect to work with a sure hand and achieve the intended result allows for no shortcuts. An architect who would be the best he can be must serve a lifetime apprenticeship, well beyond that required for official licensing. He must know human behavior, understand structures and materials, and how to shape forms and spaces to serve intended purposes in inspired and original ways.
The Pritzker Architecture Prize Jury has found these qualities and more in Aldo Rossi, and have selected him as the 1990 Laureate.
Known for many years as a theorist, philosopher, artist and teacher, Rossi has spent time developing his architectural voice, and pen. Words as well as drawings and buildings have distinguished him as one of the great architects. As a master draftsman, steeped in the tradition of Italian art and architecture, Rossi's sketches and renderings of buildings have often achieved international recognition long before being built.
His book, Architecture and the City, published in 1966, is a text of significance in the study of urban design and thinking. Out of this theoretical base came designs that seem always to be a part of the city fabric, rather than an intrusion.
Each of Rossi's designs, whether an office complex, hotel, cemetery, a floating theatre, an exquisite coffee pot, or even toys, captures the essence of purpose.
Rossi has been able to follow the lessons of classical architecture without copying them; his buildings carry echoes from the past in their use of forms that have a universal, haunting quality. His work is at once bold and ordinary, original without being novel, refreshingly simple in appearance but extremely complex in content and meaning. In a period of diverse styles and influences, Aldo Rossi has eschewed the fashionable and popular to create an architecture singularly his own.
On a solid foundation of theory, he uses his talents and ability to solve design problems in memorable and imaginative ways. His influence is extensive and expands with every new commission. With this honor, Aldo Rossi joins a dozen architects already singled out for their contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.