Italian Architect Italo Rota dies at 70, leaves avant-garde legacy

Italo Rota, the Milan-born Italian architect, designer, and innovator, passed away at the age of 70. Throughout his career, Rota demonstrated a remarkable ability to weave together thought-provoking ideas, often challenging mainstream conventions with his avant-garde visions. Often collaborating with the Italian firm CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, his studio Italo Rota Building Office was involved in several high-visibility projects, including the design for the Italian Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 and the masterplan for Rome’s bid to host the World Expo in 2030.
Born in Milan in 1953, Rota graduated from Milan’s Politecnico University, continuing his journey by working with the studios of Franco Albini and Vittorio Gregotti. His formative years included a stint with architect Pierluigi Nicolin, during which he co-founded the influential magazine Lotus International, underscoring his appreciation for printed media. His tenure in Paris during the early 1980s marked a pivotal moment, collaborating with the late Italian architect Gae Aulenti on projects such as the interior redesign of the Musée d’Orsay.
Returning to Italy in 1995, he continued his interest in the confluence of architecture and culture, signing the project for the Museo del Novecento in Milan. Among his major works is also the promenade of the Foro Italico in Palermo, which received the Italian Gold Medal for Public Space in 2006. He continued to expand his field of action, embracing new visions for the design of twentieth-century urban and cultural fabric.
Throughout his illustrious career, Rota shared his wealth of knowledge and experience with future generations, serving as a professor at institutions such as the Ecole d’Architecture UP8 Paris-Belleville and the New Academy of Fine Arts in Milan. He also contributed to important architecture magazines and is the author of Una storia elettrica (Quodlibet, 2014).
Italo Rota’s architectural legacy comprises a diverse portfolio of projects that have left a lasting impact on the built and cultural environment. From the Museo del Novecento in Milan to various urban developments and cultural institutions, Rota’s designs reflect his innovative approach and meticulous attention to detail. His contributions, rooted in Italian culture and heritage, continue to be appreciated for their creativity, innovation and capacity to challenge conventional norms.


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