Publication Date

Summer 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art and Art History


Anthony Raynsford


Aldo Rossi, Cold War Criticism of Art and Aesthetics, Collective Memory, Ina-casa, Post-modernism, Post-War Architecture

Subject Areas

Architecture; Art history; Art criticism


This paper seeks to redefine the scholarship on Aldo Rossi (1931-1997), an Italian architect known for having reintroduced symbolism to European architecture after the 1960s. My thesis addresses questions surrounding the development of Rossi’s theory of city morphology, proposing that it was rooted in antifascist sentiments and influenced by politics of the Cold War. Rossi’s professional growth is outlined through a period conditioned by the reactionary ideologies of postwar Europe, which deeply influenced the nation’s culture and shaped artistic production. This thesis relies on unpublished archival material from Rossi’s early career that documents the leading political and philosophical ideas of his time. It reveals Rossi’s growing interest in developing a theory for a type of architecture and urban design rational in form and socialist in content, driven by the ethos of an emerging political Left. In this narrative, Rossi’s work is contextualized in the efforts of a generation of Italian architects who conducted collective research on behalf of the Ina-casa program of national reconstruction in conjunction with the era’s leading politicians. This collaborative effort ultimately led Rossi to develop theories for a structuralist reading of the city, as well as to the formulation of a type of humanist architecture in support of the collective consciousness of the Italian “public city” in the latter half of the twentieth century.