Aldo Rossi’s lesson | José Ramón Hernández Correa

At the end of the seventies until middle of the eighties of the century twenty (I joust the period in which I studied architecture in the ETSAM), the Modern Movement was already criticized without mufflers. In the school one was speaking about the modern ones and, in general, still one was admiring them, but already the reverential respect had got lost them and his weaknesses were commented openly.

Besides it, in a series of illogical syllogisms, it had come near more or less to the conclusion of which if the modern architecture had not achieved the happiness of the humanity, guilty age at the time of his unhappiness; if it had not obtained the peace in the world, guilty age at the time of the wars, and if it had not obtained food for all it was the reason of the famine in the planet.

Obviously, the modern architecture had solved neither the problem of the city, nor that of the social conviviality, nor any of economic, political or social type. Is it that his mission was this? Certainly that not, but the modern architects had offered ingenuously to it and had failed.

Now anyone was daring to say that Corbu was a bocazas, a publicist who had not respected the environment, the nature, the ecology. That Wright was a full uncle of yes same, that had achieved a couple of spectacular, but completely theatrical and picturesque forms, which neither were serving for anything they were not even solving the real problems of planning and development of the territory. That Mies was an artist ensimismado, that alone it was doing paralelepípedos perfect, removed from reality… It costs. In agreement. They had good part of reason. The modern architects were not gods. And? What were we going to do from then? Who were we going to be still?

And the most curious phenomenon took place. The same ones that had been so steely critical, so penetrating inquirers, so skilful dialectical to detect the evil, at the moment of proposing a solution showed this:

San Cataldo’s cemetery in Módena, 1971

Oysters! So yes that! This glorious truño was the response to the failure of the modern architects. This one was the solution to all the problems. Cost me!

Aldo Rossi was here to save ourselves. It was the theoretical one, a thinker, a teacher who was thinking about the ethical transcendency of the architecture.

Before thinking of constructing at least something, he had written The Architecture of the City, where it was showing the sacred mission of the architecture integrated to the city, the importance of the territory, her of…

Well, do not be very well of what the book was going because I was unable to happen from the first page. I read. I am a reader todoterreno, and I do not scare any tocho, but it is that this book was ungood for smoking. Very badly written. And very sad. It was a book without spirit, without claw, without anything. I could not with him.

But it was necessary to read it. The teachers of the school (of all the schools of the world) were delighted with him.

They had seen the light and ultimately they knew the absolute truth of the architecture. What benediction that this great man had written such an indispensable work. This book was the solution to everything, the incantation of the life.

La Arquitectura de la Ciudad
The Architecture of the Cty

The entire world reacted, and it was required from the illustrious Aldo Rossi who was constructing, that it was nourishing to the building planet that his ideal ones were carrying and were saving (now yes) to the humanity.

And Aldo took pleasure (or complugo) to the world with these marvels:

Teatro del Mondo para el Bienal de Venecia de 1979-1980 | Área Fontivegge, Perugia, Italia. (1982-1989)
MondoTheatre of the Bienal of Venice of 1979-1980 | Area Fontivegge, Perugia, Italy. (1982-1989)

“My God! What a sadder thing!”

Some teachers of the ETSAM were resisting, were swimming against a world current and were bound to lose. One was speaking about this for the corridors, throughout. I itself, at the time with very little criterion, incubated his cemetery for an exercise of Elements of Composition (that was a subject before Projects). Even, sigh, I tried to draw as Rossi

Esta es la planta de Rossi, cementerio SanCataldo en Módena, 1971. La mía era bastante peor
This one is Rossi’s plant, SanCataldo’s cemetery in Módena, 1971. Mine was worse enough.

Up to Oíza, architect brilliant and most brilliant, but too dependent on the modes, it had a lamentable epoch rossiana. Nobody was resisting.

This age the guide of the contemporary architecture. The walls of brick with windows cuadraditas, the stretched and reduced arches, the pure prisms… The metaphysical city of De Chirico but brought to the real world. There it seems to be that we wanted to live through all.

Aldo Rossi
Aldo Rossi

The saddest Aldo Rossi (the life as fault, the architecture like punishment) succumbed finally to his success and the hair came untied (a bit):

There is no thing sadder that the tasteless one counting a joke. If you do not have grace, uncle. What disgust.

(In that epoch the best gift that could be done to an architect who was marrying was the game of Rossi’s coffee machines, the most expensive, but savior of the spirit and guarantor of the truth).

In the year 1984 there was fulfilled the title of George Orwell,’s novel, and to the whole world it gave him for reading it. For me it was a shout against Rossi and what it was representing.

It was said (it looks like a lie) that Corbu, Wright, Mies, Aalto, Scharoun, Oud, Rietveld, etc, etc, etc, had been simple, coarse, unidimensionales, reduccionistas, looks, etc, etc, etc, and it was said (it is necessary to have value) that the solution was this impotent and dull ridiculous object.

It was like to say that Maradona was a shit and that the one who indeed was costing was Pizo Gómez. Does someone remember Pizo Gómez?

Does someone remember Aldo Rossi?

The thinker Rossi, the teacher, leaves me an alone lesson, a fundamental lesson:

“Do not follow the modes”.

“Do not notice the false prophets”.

“It learns to think for you itself”.

“It opens the eyes and gun-sight”.

“Get used to valuing”.

“Listen to the clairvoyants, neither to the cantamañanas nor to the sad ones”.

José Ramón Hernández Correa · PhD Architect
Toledo · juny 2012
Author of the blog arquitectamoslocos?

José Ramón Hernández Correa

Nací en 1960. Arquitecto por la ETSAM, 1985. Doctor Arquitecto por la Universidad Politécnica, 1992. Soy, en el buen sentido de la palabra, bueno. Ahora estoy algo cansado, pero sigo atento y curioso.

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