Gae Aulenti, the preeminent Italian architect whose art-infused take on postmodernism elevated such projects as the Musée d'Orsay and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco to works of true resonance, died on October 31st, following a long illness. Aulenti, who lived in Milan, was 84 years old.
Aulenti was arguably the only internationally-recognized female practitioner in the first wave of starchitects, winning commissions in the 1980s alongside the likes of Aldo Rossi, Michael Graves, I.M. Pei, and Robert Venturi. And while she shared postmodernist interests in reconnecting present day technologies with the multivalent richness of the past, she rejected labels. "It's not possible to define a style in my work,'' she told the New York Times in 1987. ''If you're designing an airport, then airplanes are important. It's no more complicated designing a museum. I prefer museums for my own personal passion—the art."