Italian media reports that architect Vittorio Gregotti—who helped transform the Estadi Olímpic de Montjuïc (1927) in Barcelona into the 1992 Olympic Stadium—died of pneumonia in Milan on Sunday, March 15, 2020, at age 92, after having contracted COVID-19.
Born in Novara, to the west of Milan, in 1927, Gregotti studied at the Politecnico di Milano, contributed to, and later edited, the Italian architecture magazine Casabella, and founded his own studio in 1974. He was known as a curator in addition to his work as a designer, co-curating the 1976 Venice Biennale with architect Peter Eisenman, whom he met in 1968, when the two were the only “international” architects invited to the Pequeños Congressos in Vitoria, Spain.
“Gregotti was one of the leaders of the postmodern movement in Italy,” Eisenman tells RECORD. “He realized the necessary postwar relationship between Europe and America when he organized the first international architecture biennale in Venice, in 1976, called Europa America: The City and the Suburb, with 11 European and 11 American architects. An editor of Casabella during one of its most influential moments in architecture, and an architect of large-scale housing projects, he was to the end a person who loved architecture.”
Gregotti undertook cultural projects across Europe, including the Belém Cultural Center (1992) in Lisbon, with Manuel Salgado; the Arcimboldi Opera Theater (2001) in Milan, with Mario Botta and Elisabetta Fabbri; and the Grand Théâtre de Provence (2007) in France. In the early aughts, his studio designed Pujiang New Town in Shanghai, an Italian-themed, master-planned city of some 6 square miles.
In the late 1970s, he completed a residential renovation in New York for Si and Victoria Newhouse. “The minute my husband and I saw the elegant Piero della Francesca installation Vittorio had designed at the Ducal Palace in Urbino, [in the Marche region of central Italy], we knew this was our man,” Victoria Newhouse recalls, speaking to RECORD. “The sensitivity with which the museum space accommodated this extraordinary Flagellation of Christ was what we had hoped to find in an architect who would renovate our town house for our collection of contemporary art. During his work, I learned that he was as dedicated to low-cost housing as he was to fine art. It was a privilege to know him and to work with him.”
Gregotti’s wife, Marina Mazza, is being treated at the same hospital in Milan, according to reports in the Italian media.