He was not just an architect: essayist, theorist and critic of architecture, Vittorio Gregotti died in Milan. He was 92 years old and was hospitalized for pneumonia: he is the first illustrious victim of the coronavirus in Italy. Stefano Boeri, president of the Triennale wrote it in a post, commenting: “A master of international architecture is leaving in these gloomy hours”.
Internationally renowned urban planner, he was one of the fathers of modern Italian architecture. Born in Novara in 1927, Gregotti graduated in 1952 from the Polytechnic of Milan; in 1964, he was the Director of the introductory section for the Milan Triennale and, from 1974 to 1976, he was the Director of the visual arts and architecture of the Venice Biennale. He was the only architect to be part of Group 63, he invited intellectual friends such as Umberto Eco, Luciano Berio or Furio Colombo to collaborate on a project at Triennale of Venice.
Full Professor of Architectural Composition at the Institute of Architecture of Venice, he also taught in the Faculties of Architecture in Milan and Palermo and then abroad. As visiting professor, he worked in Japan, the United States, Argentina, Brazil and in the United Kingdom. In 1953, he joined the historic monthly magazine of architecture, urban planning and design Casabella: first as editor, then as editor-in-chief, finally as Director.
He was in charge of over one thousand and five hundred projects, in Italy and also abroad, among them the disputed Zen district (North expansion zone) built in Palermo between the late 1960s and early 1970s, the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Stadium, Grand Théâtre de Provence in Aix-en-Provence, the Arcimboldi Opera Theatre in Milan and the Lisbon’s Belém Cultural Centre. But also, the transformation of the areas around the Bicocca, on the outskirts of Milan, up to the new residential district in the Pujiang area, in China.
Finally, among his many publications, which began in 1966 with The territory of architecture (Feltrinelli): The visible city (Einaudi, 1991), Inside the architecture (1991), Van Gogh’s shoes (1994) and the most recent Autobiography of the 20th century (2005), Architecture in the era of the incessant (2006), Against the end of architecture (2008), A lesson in architecture (2009), Three forms of architecture missed (2010), up to Architecture and postmetropolis (2011), The sublime at the time of the contemporary (2013) and The profession of architect (2019).