Italian architect and theorist. He was the leading exponent of neo-rationalism. Though comparatively few of his designs have been built, his theories on the nature of design – offering an alternative to the technological and functional emphasis of modernism – formed an important part of contemporary architectural debate.
His designs were highly original, and often characterized both by bare geometrical forms such as cubes and cylinders, and also by traditional features of Italian architecture such as arcades and galleries. His major works included the Gallaratese 2 Housing Block in Milan, Italy (1967–74); the San Cataldo cemetery in Modena, Italy (1971–82); the Apartment Complex in Rauchstrasse, Berlin, Germany (1983); and the School of Architecture at the University of Miami, Florida, USA. Among the most widely known of his works was Teatro del Mondo (1979), a boxlike theatre built on a barge so that it can be floated along the canals of Venice. He taught widely in Europe and the USA, and in 1990 founded an architectural school in Florida, USA.
Born in Milan in 1931, he studied at the Polytechnic of Milan, graduating in 1957. He was editor of the architectural journal Casabellà 1955–64, and later taught in Italy, Switzerland, and the USA. He came to prominence with his book L'architettura della città 1966 (translated as The Architecture of the City 1982). Here he argued that there are important analogies to be drawn between a city and a building: that in essence a building can be seen as a city in miniature. In his Secondary School, Broni 1979, for example, the corridors were treated as streets, the courtyards as piazzas, and so on. Rossi died in Milan in 1997.