Vittorio Gregotti, one of Italy’s most important twentieth-century architects and urban planners, passed away on March 15. A few years ago, he welcomed the Floornature team to his "workshop", as he called his architectural studio, to talk about the projects he had underway; what followed was a pleasant chat in which the architect talked about his 15 years as editor-in-chief of architecture magazine Casabella, about today’s architecture magazines, and about the projects he had underway at the time in Morocco and China.
Vittorio Gregotti was born in Novara in 1927 and began working with prominent French architects Gustave, Claude and Auguste Perret even before graduating from Politecnico di Milano with an architecture degree in 1952. Once he had completed his degree, he started working at BBPR, the Italian studio set up in 1932 by architects Gian Luigi Banfi, Lodovico Barbiano di Belgiojoso, Enrico Peressutti and Ernesto Nathan Rogers, whom Vittorio Gregotti considered his teacher. And it was with Ernesto Nathan Rogers that he completed his first project in 1951, a hall at Triennale di Milano, when still a student. In the same year, he participated in the 8th CIAM International Congresses of Modern Architecture in Hoddesdon, UK, a milestone in his education and future career that put him in contact with some of the greatest architects of his day, including Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Ove Arup, Cornelis van Eesteren and Henry van de Velde. In 1953 Ernesto Nathan Rogers became editor-in-chief of Italian architecture magazine Casabella and Vittorio Gregotti joined the team of young architects Rogers set up to edit the magazine, which also included Aldo Rossi, Giorgio Grassi, Gae Aulenti, Giotto Stoppino, Guido Canella and Giancarlo De Carlo, all of whom were destined to have a great impact on European architectural culture.
From 1953 through 1968 he worked with architects Ludovico Meneghetti and Giotto Stoppino in the offices of Architetti Associati. In the same year he designed a number of important architecture projects, including an office building in Novara in 1960, while in 1964 he received the Gran Premio Internazionale at the 13th Triennale di Milano. In 1969 he designed one of his best-known projects, Palermo’s ZEN district, for twenty thousand inhabitants. 1974 was an important year for Vittorio Gregotti, who founded his own studio, Gregotti Associati International, which was to continue until 2017, and was appointed curator of visual arts at Biennale di Venezia, a position he held until 1976. His architecture studio designed projects in twenty different countries, on a great variety of different scales, from ENEA research centres all over Italy to Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium (1986), from cruise ships to industrial conversion projects, from the Bicocca district in Milan to the new city of Pujiang, near Shanghai, China. He also had an intense career teaching and promoting the culture of architecture, not only as editor-in-chief of Casabella magazine between 1982 and 1996 but as author of more than thirty architecture books and countless articles and publications, in which Vittorio Gregotti reflected on various aspects of society and expressed his great passion for architecture.