This revealing memoir by Aldo Rossi (1937--1997), one of the most visible and controversial figures ever on the international architecture scene, intermingles discussions of Rossi's architectural projects -- including the major literary and artistic influences on his work -- with his personal history. Drawn from notebooks Rossi kept beginning in 1971, these ruminations and reflections range from his obsession with theater to his concept of architecture as ritual. The book originally appeared as one of the landmark titles in the MIT Press's Oppositions Books series, but has been out of print for many years. This newly issued paperback reprint includes illustrations -- photographs, evocative images, and a set of drawings of Rossi's major architectural projects prepared particularly for this publication -- selected by the author himself to augment the text.
As nostalgia has swept the architectural community in recent years, one of the most Proustian design sensibilities to emerge has been that of Italian architect Aldo Rossi. The enfant terrible of Italy's 1960s Tendenza group, which fulminated against the modern movement, Rossi published influential polemics and kept an equally eloquent personal record in the form of notebooks, which MIT has published as the handsome A Scientific Autobiography...His own reminiscences convents and castles, the emotional pull of holy statuary, Melville's dramatics, an adolescent's fear of death, a young artist's ways with life fill his lyrical, erudite notebooks. Portfolio A document of architectural imagination rather than a merely autobiographical or abstractly theoretical text...Rossi allows his thoughts to roam freely from childhood memories to philosophical observations about architecture tout court...His own projects attempt, and his writings explain, the creation of a magic triangle whose sides are symbolic of life, death, and illusion. -- Kurt Forster, architectural historian