Vittorio Gregotti, Modernist Architect, Dies in Pandemic at 92

Vittorio Gregotti, an Italian modernist architect, theorist and metropolis planner whose monumental initiatives included opera homes, arenas — like Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium — and even a complete suburb, died on Sunday at a hospital in Milan. He was 92.

Mr. Gregotti had been contaminated by the coronavirus and died of pneumonia, in keeping with Michele Reginaldi, a former accomplice at his agency. Mr. Gregotti’s spouse, Marina Mazza, was hospitalized with Covid-19, the illness brought on by the virus, Italian information stories mentioned.

As of Monday, Italy had recorded greater than 24,700 confirmed instances of Covid-19 — probably the most outdoors of China — with greater than 1,800 of them deadly.

Dario Franceschini, Italy’s minister of cultural heritage, described Mr. Gregotti in a press release as “a great Italian architect and urban planner who has given prestige to our country in the world.”

Mr. Gregotti’s buildings, and plenty of of these designed by his agency, Gregotti Associatti International, mixed a reverence for older architectural types with an embrace of the brand new. His large-scale constructions, which frequently housed cultural and athletic organizations, sometimes conveyed a way of grandeur however nonetheless complemented quite than eclipsed their usually vintage environment.

Perhaps one of the best instance of Mr. Gregotti’s strategy was his renovation of Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium, which was constructed for an exhibition in 1929 and fell into disrepair after internet hosting the Mediterranean Games in 1955. Mr. Gregotti selected to protect the unique partitions and towers of the stadium — on Montjuïc, the hill overlooking Barcelona — whereas fully revamping the inside.

The architect Neil Wilson wrote in the British newspaper The Independent in 1989, earlier than Mr. Gregotti had completed the stadium, that those that had been current there in 1929 would acknowledge “the same sweeping amphitheater reminiscent of a Roman circus, the neo-Classical appearance of arches and lofty towers in soft yellow stone.”

Mr. Gregotti’s cultural initiatives embrace, in France, a mountainous cafe au lait-colored construction surrounding a garnet bowl-shaped live performance corridor for the Grand Théâtre de Provence; and, in Italy, the Teatro degli Arcimboldi, a granite-and-plaster opera house and concert hall in Milan that seats more than 2,300. It became the city’s foremost opera house for a time when La Scala closed for renovations in 2002.

Mr. Gregotti and his firm were also city planners, helping to redesign a formerly industrial area in Milan’s Bicocca district and creating Pujiang New Town, a Shanghai suburb built around Italian architectural principles.

He collaborated with Manuel Salgado on the Belém Cultural Center in Lisbon, Portugal, a collection of buildings designed for meetings, exhibitions and performances. The complex, sprawling over hundreds of thousands of square feet, was built mainly out of blocks of lightly-colored limestone, a material that allowed it to blend in with the older buildings around them.

Mr. Gregotti closed his firm in 2017, saying that he thought practical architecture was no longer valued and that he disagreed with the fanciful direction the field had taken. He told the Italian newspaper La Stampa in 2019 that “architects are only creating images, to amaze, rather than propose projects” and that contemporary architecture had lost touch with “the idea that this profession has at its base a collective product and must answer to specific social needs, tied to places and their history.”

Vittorio Gregotti was born on Aug. 10, 1927, in Novara, in Italy’s northwestern Piedmont region. He earned an architecture degree from the Polytechnic University of Milan in 1952.

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