VENTURI, Robert

(1925- )
   Although Robert Venturi has sought to reject architectural labels throughout his career, he, together with his wife, Denise Scott Brown, is nonetheless considered the founder of the Post-Modern architectural style. This style is the result of their architectural philosophy, which is based upon a desire to free architects from rigid, inflexible modernist "rules" and instead allow for a less "bombastic" and more varied approach to design that takes into account each individual commission. By rejecting what they considered the repetitious, impersonal, and self-important qualities of International style architecture, Venturi and Scott Brown instead championed the vernacular. Turning Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's famous motto "less is more" into the motto "less is a bore," Venturi sought to enliven architecture with regional distinctions, historical references, and popular culture. This new style is best described in Venturi's Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, first published in 1966, in which he spells out the need for architecture that is not homogeneous but more realistically reflective of our varied culture. In his later book Learning from Las Vegas, published in 1977, Venturi argues for the importance of both "high" and "low" architecture by validating a variety of regional, vernacular architectural styles, such as Googie and Doo Wop, that were prevalent in the 1950s and 1960s and featured exaggerated futuristic designs with bright colors and boldly cantilevered overhangs. These styles were typically found in diners, bowling alleys, and other roadside structures.
   Venturi's architecture firm (established first with John Rauch and then with Venturi's wife, Denise Scott Brown) is called Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates. The Vanni Venturi House, built for Venturi's mother in 1961-1964 in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, is a good illustration of these ideals. The broad triangular façade that echoes the slanted roof defines the quintessential "house" shape in America, but it is then cut down through the middle to create a broken triangle. Like Mannerism, Venturi's historical references question the rigid conformity of "classical" architecture. An irregular floor plan with oddly situated stairs adds further complexity to the interior of the house. Although Venturi and Scott Brown's Guild House, a retirement home built in Philadelphia in 1963, has been derided for its purposefully mundane and ugly design, their theoretical approach to such buildings has opened a lively public discourse on the merits of aesthetically pleasing architecture. While aesthetics have traditionally been central to architectural considerations, Venturi and Scott Brown have demonstrated that aesthetics are of little concern for the vast majority of people, who instead prefer the architecture of the "ordinary."
   The Seattle Art Museum, built in 1991, is a more recent expression of Venturi's architectural ideals. Built with a curved façade made of incised concrete and topped with a row of windows, the museum features a broad stairway called the "Art Ladder," which leads the visitor into the exhibition space. Befitting its surrounding urban area, the museum does not impose a "heroic" façade or any historical preconceptions about museum space. Instead, the visitor is led into the exhibition space through an undulating, humanscaled structure that provides a gradual transition from the street level to the museum. In 1991, Venturi won the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Influenced by Venturi and Scott Brown's ideas on architecture, many subsequent architects such as Philip Johnson began to infuse their buildings with a more varied architectural vocabulary that freely borrowed from both "high" and "low" genres of historical architecture.

Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts. . 2008.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Venturi, Robert — ▪ American architect in full  Robert Charles Venturi   born June 25, 1925, Philadelphia, Pa., U.S.       American architect who proposed alternatives to the functionalist mainstream of 20th century American architectural design. He became the… …   Universalium

  • Venturi, Robert — (geb. 1925); Architekt (u. a. Guild House) und Architekturtheoretiker (Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, 1966, und Learning from Las Vegas, 1972) …   Erläuterung wichtiger Begriffe des Bauwesens

  • Venturi, Robert — (geb. 1925); Architekt (u. a. Guild House) und Architekturtheoretiker (Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, 1966, und Learning from Las Vegas, 1972) …   Erläuterung wichtiger Begriffe des Bauwesens mit Abbildungen

  • Venturi,Robert Charles — Ven·tur·i (vĕn to͝orʹē), Robert Charles. Born 1925. American architect who led the postmodern reaction to functionalism. His eclectic, sometimes humorous designs often incorporate historical references. * * * …   Universalium

  • Venturi, Robert (Charles) — born June 25, 1925, Philadelphia, Pa., U.S. U.S. architect. He studied at Princeton University and in Rome at the American Academy. After working with Eero Saarinen and Louis Kahn, he formed a partnership with his wife, Denise Scott Brown, and… …   Universalium

  • Venturi, Robert (Charles) — (n. 25 jun. 1925, Filadelfia, Pa., EE.UU.). Arquitecto estadounidense. Estudió en la Universidad de Princeton y en la Academia americana en Roma. Luego de trabajar con Eero Saarinen y Louis Kahn, formó una sociedad con su esposa, Denise Scott… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Robert Venturi — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Robert Venturi Información personal Nombre Robert Venturi Nacimiento 25 de junio de 1925 , 84 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Robert Charles Venturi — noun United States architect (born in 1925) • Syn: ↑Venturi, ↑Robert Venturi • Instance Hypernyms: ↑architect, ↑designer …   Useful english dictionary

  • Robert Venturi — noun United States architect (born in 1925) • Syn: ↑Venturi, ↑Robert Charles Venturi • Instance Hypernyms: ↑architect, ↑designer …   Useful english dictionary

  • Robert — /rob euhrt/, n. 1. Henry Martyn /mahr tn/, 1837 1923, U.S. engineer and authority on parliamentary procedure: author of Robert s Rules of Order (1876, revised 1915). 2. a male given name: from Germanic words meaning glory and bright. * * * (as… …   Universalium

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