One of modern time's most important architects passed away on the 1st of November. Gae Aulenti re-wrote the history of many significant spaces in Italy and abroad, here is how.
Gae passed away peacefully at her home in Milan's Brera neighbourhood, she was 84 years-of-age and her passing leaves a void that will be hard to fill, although her creations are her legacy and will live forever.
Gae Aulenti – doesn’t this name ring a bell? – she was not only an Avant-garde architect, but, significantly, she was a woman who excelled in a male-dominated industry. Born in 1927 in the province of Udine (northern Italy), she studied architecture in Milan during the 50's, becoming involved in the Neoliberty movement, which aimed to restore the architectural values of the past and integrate them with the existing environment. She always described her projects as being profoundly intertwined with their surrounding environments.
Among her most renowned projects are, the Quai d’Orsay in Paris (1980 – 1986),
the piazza Cadorna in Milan (2000),
the National Museum of Catalunya art in Barcelona (1985-2004),
Palazzo Branciforte in Palermo (2012),
and the restoration of the La Fenice theatre in Venice (after a devastating fire hit it in 1996).
Just a few weeks before her death on October 16th 2012, she was awarded the gold medal for architecture by the Triennale di Milano, a prestigious recognition of her life's work.
If her work always inspired debate –all groundbreaking work does – it is undeniable that her way of interpreting architecture changed the profile of cities and helped break down the dominance of Rationalism, giving to spaces the chance to express their real soul without forgetting functionality and beauty.
By: Elisa della Barba