Gae Aulenti


1927 - 2012

Gae Aulenti was a pioneer not only because she was a woman architect, but because she was an internationally recognized figure at a time – the 1960s and 1970s – when the Zaha Hadids or Kazuyo Sejimas of today were unimaginable. Born in 1927 in a town near Trieste, since childhood she was faced with the prejudices of the century. Disappointed at not having a son, her own father expected nothing more of her than to be a lady of her class. Not wavering, however, in her determination to be an architect, she graduated in 1954 from the Polytechnic University of Milan and went on to set up practice in this city. Focussing first on industrial design (some will remember her bat lamp) and on architectural criticism (she worked for the magazine Casabella), Aulenti soon stood out for projects that were critical of canonical modernity, such as at the Musée d’Orsay, the National Art Museum of Catalonia or Palazzo Grassi, works of transformation that she combined with the execution of altogether new buildings, such as Assisi Airport, which opened just a month after she died.

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