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The Aldo Rossi hypothesis

At the beginning of the 1990’s, Switzerland imposed itself as a major “scene” of contemporary architecture. The author of both the book and the film, Françoise Arnold, architect, is wondering about the genesis of this creativity. While she has always lived in France, she is bi-national and this vitality surprises her. The film is mainly the story of an enquiry into the sources of a collective creativity.

Aldo Rossi became famous at the end of the 1960’s with his book “The Architecture of the City” which marked the end of the Modern movement’s influence on the city and which suggested a reconciliation between the historical city and contemporary architecture. The impact of this book was very deep and lasting in Europe as well as in the United States where Aldo Rossi had been frequently traveling from the end of the 1970’s.

Before his experience in the United States indeed, Aldo Rossi gave classes during a few months in Zurich and his visit was described as a true deflagration in the School and in the world of architecture. All the great names of contemporary architecture were receptive to his work, whatever was their proximity with the character of Aldo Rossi or his teaching. The film reveals this this by relying on their testimonies and by trying to reproduce Aldo Rossi’s universe. It also conducts a plastic work on the texture of pictures (HD, super-8, mobile phone) in order to stress the notion of memory which is essential for an architect, even though it used to be considered atypical.

Forty years later, in the film, the architects we met were moved to give back to Aldo Rossi what they owed him in a way, but their words did not come without criticism. The film then became a reflection about transmission and reached the same conclusion as another documentary film “I am not a man in a hurry” directed twelve years earlier in collaboration with Daniel Cling about the heritage of Le Corbusier and the architect Henri Ciriani: what matters is the spirit and not the word, but emotions are essential elements of the transmission.

Les Productions de Effa: Thinking architecture, city and country. Observe man in his physical space. Cultivate  memory and transmission.