Aldo Rossi: The Sketchbooks

Aldo Rossi: The Sketchbooks by Paulo Portoghesi
ISBN: 0500510202

One of the many pleasures of spending time in libraries is discovering books you weren’t looking for or even knew existed, but apparently needed to read. This book was one of those: I spotted it in the “dump pile”, the area of shelving on each floor where books that have been taken down from the shelves, but aren’t being checked out by the original finder are left.

It drew my eye because it was colorful, and an odd shape for a book — it’s shaped like an artist’s sketchpad, not an architecture book. Architecture is not a subject I know much about, but sketches made this seem friendly, even inviting. The new-to-me ideas I learned about from this book are concept of architecture as “quoting” other buildings or styles. (It made sense to me once I heard it, but hadn’t heard that phrase before — and it was quoting, not copying.) The other idea — the one I am most taken with — is that of “sketching as research”.

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