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Birth date / placeSeptember 2nd 1920, Rome, Italy
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Article last edited by Vlasta on
November 06th, 2012
Romaldo Giurgola Change this
born 1920, Rome
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Romaldo (Aldo) Giurgola AO (born 2 September 1920, Rome) is an Italian-American-Australian academic architect, professor, and author. After service in the Italian armed forces during World War II, he was educated at the Sapienza University of Rome. He received a master's degree in architecture from Columbia University, and has been a partner in Philadelphia firm Mitchell/Giurgola Architects since 1958.
Giurgola's held a professorship at Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. In 1966, Giurgola became chair of the Columbia Architecture Department. He is presently Ware Professor Emeritus of Architecture at Columbia University. He was awarded the AIA Gold Medal in 1982.
ArchitectureThe first significant building of Mitchell/Giurgola was the Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center (1957) for the US National Park Service, a building that brought them national attention for three reasons. It was one of the first NPS visitors' centers that became a building type unto itself. The design was consonant with a certain aesthetic preoccupation with aviation, flight, technology and space travel of the time, the same zeitgeist that produced Saarinen's TWA Terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport. It was also seen as a break with strict modernist tenets in its respect for the site and the program, as opposed to what Giurgola called "the imposition of abstract forms".
In Philadelphia, Giurgola had formed a relationship with Louis Kahn, who held similar views. In April 1961 the architectural critic Jan Rowan grouped Giurgola, Kahn, Robert Venturi, George Qualls, Robert Geddes and others into "The Philadelphia School". Giurgola has published several books on Kahn's work and philosophy.
He was invited to join the panel of judges for the 1980 international competition for the landmark Australian Parliament House in Canberra. Instead, he preferred to be an entrant himself. After winning the competition, Giurgola moved to Australia and practices there. He adopted Australian citizenship in January 2000.