Design: A Cult Hero Gets His Due

The bold, austere architecture of Italy's Aldo Rossi wins the prestigious Pritzker Prize

As prizes in all realms proliferate, the outcomes -- who wins an Oscar or a Pulitzer -- seem evermore capricious and sentimental. Not, however, in the case of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the field's Nobel equivalent. The Pritzker, awarded since 1979, has earned an unsurpassed reputation for rigor, good sense and catholic taste (the $100,000 prize is an American creation, but half of the winners have been from abroad). The 1990 Pritzker laureate, announced this week, should only redouble the prize's prestige: Italy's Aldo Rossi, 58, has inspired and influenced a generation of younger architects, despite a modest built oeuvre. Rossi's...

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