Romaldo Giurgola, Italian-born American-Australian architect, Died at 95


Romaldo (Aldo) Giurgola was born on September 2, 1920, in Rome and died on May 16, 2016.

He was an Italian academic architect, professor, and author.

Following his service in the Italian armed forces during World War II, he received his education at the Sapienza University of Rome.

Romanldo studied architecture at the University of Rome, completing the equivalent of a B.Arch. with honors in 1949.

In the same year, Romaldo to the United States and received a master’s degree in architecture from Columbia University, and was a partner in the Philadelphia firm Mitchell/Giurgola Architects from 1958 until his death in 2016.

His first notable 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.

That building was one of the first NPS visitors’ centers that became a building type unto itself.

His 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 seen as a break with strict modernist tenets in its relivancy for the site and the program, as opposed to what Giurgola called “the imposition of abstract forms”.

Romaldo Giurgola had formed a relationship with Louis Kahn while in Philadelphia, who held similar views.

During April 1961, the architectural critic Jan Rowan grouped Giurgola, Kahn, Robert Venturi, George Qualls, Robert Geddes and others, into “The Philadelphia School”.

Romaldo Giurgola published several books on Kahn’s work and philosophy.

During 1982, Romaldo Giurgola was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member, and became a full Academician in 1994.

Romaldo Giurgola was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal, in 2001, “for service as Principal Architect of the new and permanent Parliament House”

During 2004, his St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, won him Australia’s highest architectural award, the RAIA’s Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Buildings, which he was first awarded in 1989 for the Parliament House.

During 2003, Romaldo Giurgola was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Sydney.

Romaldo Giurgola passed away at 95 yrs old.