Robert Venturi

                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Less is a bore”

 

- Robert Venturi

  

 

 

 

 

Background

 

Robert Venturi was born in Philadelphia in 1925. His buildings and ideas have helped shape architecture to make it what it is today. Venturi is closely connected to postmodernism, but he and his colleagues and partners refused to label their style of architecture.

 

He attended the Episcopal Academy in Philadelphia, and then graduated from Princeton University in 1950. He taught architecture at the University of Pennsylvania in 1957-58. In 1958 he founded his own practice, forming a partnership with John Raush five years later. He met Denise Scott Brown, and later married her. She joined the partnership in 1977. Raush left the practice in 1989. Denise Scott Brown and Venturi continued the practice and still work together today.

 

His Philosophies on Architecture

 

Venturi rejects simplicity, famous for his line “Less is a bore.” He bases his architecture off of complexity and contradiction. Venturi published “Venturi’s Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture” in 1966. Some say that this was the beginnings of the postmodern movement. In this book, he stated that modernists had simplified architecture until it was completely separate from “the experience of life and the needs of society”. What he was saying, was that the modernism style of architecture had become boring and bland. Venturi and his wife, Denise Scott Brown, mock modernist architecture in their work.

 

 

 

Buildings

 

He built the Vanna Venturi House in 1966 for his mother. This house completely broke the ‘rules’ at the time. The house was painted green. The symmetry was distorted to accommodate the functions of the various parts. This house in all it’s unorthodox glory became an icon for the postmodern movement.

 

 

 

 

Venturi built The Guild House in 1965, as an apartment building for the elderly. This building was completely different from his other work. They decided that instead of making an original statement, the building should reflect the neighborhood around it.

 

 

Other Buildings and Projects from Venturi Scott Brown & Associates:

Adventure Aquarium Entrance

Allentown Art Museum 

Arc International Bureaus 

Austin Museum of Art  

Bard College, The Charles P. Stevenson, Jr. Library  Barnes Foundation Renovation

Camden Children's Garden

Children's Museum of Houston 

Christopher Columbus Monument

Columbus, IN, SR 46 and I-65 Gateway Study 

Dalian Road Development 

Various projects on Dartmouth College

Denver Civic Center Cultural Complex 

Dixwell Fire Station 

Dumbarton Oaks New Library Building 

  Eclectic Houses Project 

Edison School and Headquarters 

Episcopal Academy, Chapel 

Fire Station No. 4 

Franklin Court    

Galveston, TX, The Strand Historic District 

Grands Restaurant 

Guild House    

Harvard University, Divinity School, Rockefeller Hall, Memorial Hall & Loker Commons 

Haverford College, Campus Master Plan 

Historical Society of Pennsylvania 

House in Barnegat Light (Lieb House) 

House in Bermuda 

House in East Hampton, Long Island, NY 

House in Glen Cove, Long Island, NY 

House in Greenwich, CT 

House in Katonah, NY 

House in New Castle County, DE 

House in Pittsburgh, PA 

House in Seal Harbor, ME 

House in Stony Creek, CT 

House in Vail, CO 

House in Wainscott, NY 

Houses on Block Island, RI 

Houses on Nantucket Island, MA (Trubeck Wislocki Houses)    

Independence Mall Plan & Gateway Visitor Center  Institute for Scientific Information   

Jacksonville Center 

Various projects on Lehigh Valley Hospital  

Mielparque Nikko Kirifuri Hotel and Spa 

Moscow State University, BEL Office Building    

  National Collegiate Football Hall of Fame 

National Museum of Scotland Competition 

National Museum of the American Indian Program 

National World War II Memorial   

Oberlin College, Allen Memorial Art Museum 

Ohio State University, Biomedical Research Tower 

Peabody Essex Museum 

Pembroke North Condominiums 

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Exhibition 

Philadelphia Orchestra Hall 

Philadelphia Zoo, Tree House & Children's Zoo 

Various works in Philadelphia, PA 

Various works on Princeton University 

Provincial Capitol Building 

Various works on Radc liffe Institute

Seattle Art Museum 

Stedelijk Museum 

Stuart Country Day School, Cor Unum Center 

Swarthmore College, Tarble Student Center    

Trenton Central Fire Headquarters & Museum 

Tsinghua University, Campus Plan Suggestions  

  Various works on UCLA

UCSB, California NanoSystems Institute 

University of Delaware, Trabant University Center 

Various works on the University of Kentucky

Various works on the University of Michigan

Various works on the University of Pennsylvania

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Union Study

Vanna Venturi House 

Villanova University, Campus Master Plan 

Walt Disney, Celebration Bank 

Walt Disney, Exxon Gas Station

Walt Disney, Frank G. Wells Building 

Walt Disney, Reedy Creek Emergency Services HQ 

Washington Square Condominium 

Westway Highway Project 

Whitehall Ferry Terminal 

Whitney Museum, American Sculpture Exhibition 

Whitney Museum, High Styles Exhibition  

Woodmere Art Museum 

Yale University, Anlyan Center 

 

 

 

Awards

 

1985: AIA Firm Award

1990: AIA Medal of Distinction, The Pennsylvania Society of Architects

1991: Pritzker Architecture Prize

1992: National Medal of Arts, U.S. Presidential Award

 

For the full list of awards on the Venturi Scott Brown & Associates webpage: http://www.vsba.com/whoweare/index_awards.html

 

 

Sources

“Robert Venturi – Great Buildings Online” http://www.greatbuildings.com/architects/Robert_Venturi.html, March 18, 2009

“Robert Venturi - Robert Venturi Postmodern Architect - Venturi...” http://architecture.about.com/od/greatarchitects/p/venturi.htm, March 18, 2009

“Robert Venturi : architect biography” http://architect.architecture.sk/robert-venturi-architect/robert-venturi-architect.php, March 18, 2009

“Robert Venturihttp://www.art-directory.info/design/robert-venturi-1925/index.shtml, March 18, 2009