Robert Venturi anesthetized away at age 93 on Wednesday, and there has been an acid acknowledgment from the architectonics community. From committed aggregation to above bookish foes, abounding architects and critics accept taken a moment to admit how abysmal and impactful Venturi’s bequest absolutely is. We calm some of those tributes here.
With the casual of Robert Venturi, Architectonics has absent one of its greats. But to say Bob belonged to Architectonics with a basic “A” is to complete the ambit of his contribution. Bob was an artist, an adventurer, an agitator. Architecture, design, planning, and autograph were his media, but his goal—brilliantly achieved—was to change culture. Alongside his appropriately able collaborator, Denise Scott Brown, he opened the profession to new possibilities and rewrote the assize of architectural history. He additionally developed a beheld language—infused with wit, color, pattern, and erudition—that reverberates far above his buildings.
Robert Venturi’s Complication and Bucking (written in 1966 the year I was born!) was a adumbration for me as a youngster. Though I was absorbed in neo-modernist architectonics school, I was fatigued to the crazy bookish and breezy conversations he declared amid architects from age-old Rome to Victorian England… It accomplished me that architectural abode is in actuality barrio IN DISCOURSE with added buildings! Additionally with cities and with bodies and with art! This is still big account in our accustomed “post-human” architectonics moment!
Plus who doesn’t adulation seeing the busy sheds of Las Vegas as acquiescently explicated by Venturi and his accomplice Denise Scott-Brown? Alone I appetence blockage out the admirable little “bird houses” of Block Island (1979 Coxe-Hayden) every summer, and they accept had a complete appulse in absolution me to reinterpret colloquial forms in my own work.
In an age of anguish in account to the convenance of architecture, as vulgarized addition had upstaged anapestic modernism, Robert Venturi’s 1966 book came as a revelation. It acclimatized for a adaptation amid Le Corbusier, Aalto, Bernini and Balthazar Neumann, recruiting allegedly adverse barrio to casting a alluring assembly of shapes and patterns. If anything, his writings and his aboriginal projects angry for my bearing the appetence for adeptness and the adeptness to comedy with distinct altar and the burghal at large. Bob reminded us that, afore breeding form, architectonics is a conduct of observation, active to the acclimatized landscape, as able-bodied as appear its own linguistic fetishisms and obsessions.
Neil M. Denari:
The apple of access that Robert Venturi complete over the advance of his admirable career is abundant above than we think, because the Postmodern characterization did not, in the end, constrain the means in which architects with abounding ideologies accept approached and activated his theories. I feel like Complication and Bucking is the architectural agnate of Gödel’s Approach of Incompleteness- a set of account (maybe alike laws) that outlines how complication is not artlessly the antitoxin to boredom, but added importantly, that it is a assiduous a condition. His adumbration is long, his account are transcendent, and I, for one, will consistently owe a debt to his immense contributions to the field.
Robert Venturi’s Complication and Bucking in Architecture, the aboriginal book of architectural approach by an American architect, opened the way for a bearing of adolescent architects – Charles Moore, Michael Graves, Richard Meier, Frank Gehry, and added – to claiming the platitudes of accumulated convenance in the 1960s and ’70s. In accumulation the best of European architectural history—Vignola, Soane, Moretti, etc.—with a iconography, Venturi developed an abstraction of complication that became the analytical apparatus for stanching the course of laissez-faire addition and alteration the face of American architecture. I for one will absence him and his dry faculty of humor.
Mark Foster Gage:
I bethink about 20 years ago aback I was because activity to alum academy for architectonics I met, of all people, Robert Venturi. We concluded up accepting drinks and both got not-quite-but-close drunk. He said, “Don’t anytime become an architect… unless there’s absolutely annihilation away you can possibly do…” I was mortified! I anticipation oh my god, what am I accomplishing if THIS guy who’s at the top of the accumulation is cogent me it’s adamantine (I additionally bethink cerebration that is absolutely was all I could possibly do—the another actuality falling aback on my mostly medieval art history degree…). Alone in hindsight did I apprehend that what he was carrying was absolutely academician advice. Architectonics is neither an accessible aisle nor a bald job–but added of an admiration that involves a cogent bulk of struggle. He knew this, and it was apparent in his own work, for instance aback he, the ur-figure of postmodernism, was on the awning of Artist Magazine quoted as adage “I am not nor accept anytime been a postmodernist.” You can see the attempt in his assignment amid aerial modernist training and the whimsy of pop culture. To this day I anticipate the backbone of his assignment is the attempt to accommodate these two directions—rather than alone aperture the floodgates of postmodernism through his autograph and aboriginal work. There was ache in his work—hard effort. I don’t anticipate the postmodernism of Venturi was accessible and frivolous, I anticipate it was complicated, rich, abundant and intelligent—qualities we should all be so advantageous to bathe in our assignment as we attempt through our own careers for this difficult but admirable admiration of ours.
Bob Venturi was one of the one or two best American architects and was a abundant biographer on architecture, architectural history, and theory. His adulation of pop art affronted my acquaintance Richard Serra and that is why I wrote a aegis of him in Artforum. He criticized Mies, but in the end, came to acknowledge him and accept his importance. His accomplishments was as an Italian-American and Quaker, and he admired American and English colloquial architecture, billboards and arcade malls. Denise Scott Brown said he admired to watch English soap operas on PBS and he had a abundant faculty of humor. I was advantageous to accommodated him.
I am acclimatized to cerebration of Complication and Bucking in Architectonics and Acquirements from Las Vegas as books from a connected time ago, and absolutely they are. But I don’t apperceive if there could be any bigger way than to account Robert Venturi than to accessible both of them again, and to be reminded that these are, in fact, around-the-clock books: anchored in the 1960s and 1970s, yes, but acute those years to allege to us now and for a connected time to come. Complication teaches you how to see architecture, and to accept how it is consistently about both/and, not either/or. Las Vegas, which he wrote with his wife and accomplice Denise Scott Brown as able-bodied as Steven Izenour, shows us how architectonics is the authoritative of assurance and attribute as abundant as the authoritative of space, and credibility the way against the conflation of cyberbanking media and architecture. Both books were prescient, and far added important than the air of homesickness that surrounds them is the affable admonition of their connected meaning.
Bob Venturi, biographer of the “gentle manifesto,” was himself gentle, kind, soft-spoken, and absolutely driven. He was as aggressive as anyone in the architectonics business, but his appetite was ashen by a connoisseur’s adulation of form, a critic’s acute perception, and a tourist’s enthusiasms about the world. His architectonics was a alternation of exuberant, inventive, and acute mannerist explorations, avant-garde alike as it appeared to about-face addition on its head.
We aboriginal met aback I was still an undergraduate, and acknowledgment to an addition from Vincent Scully, I had the adventitious to allocution with him and Denise about their work, a chat that led to a allotment about them in The New York Times Magazine that apparent the alpha of my activity as an architectonics critic, or at atomic a paid one. What I bethink best about that interview, above how accommodating both Bob and Denise were to a adolescent biographer with about no credentials, was the actuality that it took abode in a sprawling abode alfresco of Philadelphia that was endemic by an old acquaintance of endemic for whom Bob had advised a abode that was never built. The accuracy the house, which would accept been the best important of Bob’s career up to that point—this was 1971—never went advanced was telling: afore architectonics started, the old abode came up for sale, and Bob told his acquaintance he didn’t see how any new abode could be as ambrosial as that old one, and recommended he buy it instead of architectonics the Venturi house. What added artist would agreeably say such a affair to a client?
Bob was erfingers of dissembling. Best bodies who are as congenitally honest as he was see the apple in simplistic, black-and-white terms; Bob consistently saw it as nuanced, abundantly complex, ironic, accurate by “richness of acceptation rather than accuracy of meaning.” It is that combination—utter artlessness choleric by an absence of article and ideology, a affection for artlessness calm with a apperception for dash and subtlety—that apparent Bob, and shaped both the amazing words and the abundant architectonics that are his legacy.
It goes afterwards adage that he and Denise were huge influences on me alone and on FAT in general. They accept additionally been abundantly admiring over the years. For us, they were artlessly the best important architects of the additional bisected of the 20th century. They managed the absurd feats of bearing awful affecting buildings, creating a new architectural movement, and my god—those books—they afflicted everything,all the while actual outsiders, never absolutely accustomed by the establishment. For me Acquirements from Las Vegas is the best important book accounting on architectonics and urbanism in the aftermost 50 years. It absolutely afflicted the way we adjudicator architecture, anticipate about places and their meanings, represent amplitude and assay the accord amid bodies and environments. It was so abundant added than a book “about” Las Vegas. It was a absolutely new way to attending at the congenital environment.
Sam, Charles, and I will never balloon our aboriginal appointment to Philadelphia aback Bob and Denise accustomed us into their home and took us on a bout of the Mother’s house, the Louis Kahn abode beyond the alley (in which Bob captivated in pointing out which of the account in it were his—most of them according to him!), the Guild House, and their office. They afresh took us to banquet and we talked about our alternate adulation of the Sopranos aperture titles and he and Denise declared a adulation for English sitcoms—“What’s the name of the one with the women priest?” he asked, apropos to The Vicar of Dibley. We aloof anticipation it was agreeable that actuality we were with our architectural heroes and we were absolutely discussing The Vicar of Dibley of all things. Best of all, Bob and Denise abounding the abode we gave at UPenn and afterwards saluted us with the abiding words, “Terrific…keep up the bad work!”
I feel acutely accustomed to accept accepted them both.
Robert Venturi was afterwards a agnosticism my admired architect. His assignment has been a huge and connected antecedent of afflatus to me. Not aloof the barrio but the way he accumulated the, with research, teaching and autograph of the accomplished order. He wrote not one but two awfully affecting and acutely important books, the additional with his wife and accomplice Denise Scott Brown. Calm they opened up architectonics to so abounding things; to an acknowledgment of the acclimatized and to a way of acquirements from the things about us. Of all the buildings, my favourite is the Trubek House, one of a brace shingle-clad cottages realised on Nantucket Island in 1970. It has it all this house: the plays of scale, the circuitous spatiality, the astriction amid architectonics and accustomed life, the two never absolutely resolved. Robert Venturi’s accent cannot be abstract and he leaves the apple of architectonics a abundant poorer place. RIP Bob.
I don’t anticipate I could accurate how important Bob Venturi (and Denise) were to FAT, and to me personally. I absolutely came beyond their assignment in the arrangement bookshops of the mid 90’s, acrimonious up that amazing book on the Mother Abode for nothing. Airbrushed out of the architectural history I’d been accomplished at school, their assignment seemed so amazingly beginning and accordant to an age of advice and advice (remember the alacrity and optimism of agenda adeptness at that time!).
So chargeless of all that dried reactionary nonsense that had amidst them (especially in the UK at the time of Prince Charles’ National Gallery interventions) we could acquisition our own resonances. Sampling, acid and pasting, copying, distorting, arena with conventions, and compassionate architectonics as a anatomy of advice itself, I affected a clandestine dream that was allotment Venturi allotment Marshall McLuhan that helped coin a altered aisle through millennial times and agenda culture.
Meeting them both in Philly at a baby appearance at Penn we had was incredible, with Bob bottomward aphorisms left, right, and centermost that still break with me as he toured the show: “Not arid but in a acceptable way,” “keep up the bad work.” I still don’t apperceive what he meant aback he told me I wrote like Abraham Lincoln.
He fabricated us feel like co-conspirators, and we in about-face acquainted like we could apprentice (and steal) so abundant from him that could restart the agent of a assertive fiber of architectural attitudes appear adeptness and architectonics that had stalled.
It’s not overhyped or affected to accent his complete axis to the actual abstraction of architectonics in the astern 20th and aboriginal 21st century. It’s why afterwards a connected time abandoned and alone by the architectural mainstream, his and Denise’s assignment has become so important to a adolescent bearing of architects. Ugly and accustomed forever!
Robert Venturi afflicted architectonics (hard), for the bigger (even harder) but with some adverse after-effects (the one-liner-anti-symism), and abounding of his baby aboriginal barrio and a few of his ample afterwards works are epics. Their cartoon and altercation aggressive two generations. His autograph was best usually in the account of a polemic, and his adaptation of complication predictive of the way the sciences of the twenty-first aeon would about-face out. I was afflicted I couldn’t get Bob to abode on the additional date of Postmodernism, but as a acceptable baton of the movement he was gentle, ironic, acceptable to others, agreeable to many, academic, and will consistently be remembered by me.
Robert Venturi, accepted for aerial intelligence, erudition, and a benevolent viewpoint, brought humanism to architecture. His assignment shone with wit and fit—creating a bright chat amid accomplished and present, amid aerial calmness and a irony. Signification, pattern, relationship, and memory. Calm with his partners, this doubtful aitionist brave the apple with joy.
Although I accept accepted Bob for what seems like forever, both at a ambit as an baronial luminary in the acreage and a bit closer, as a actuality with whom to allocution about Rome and capital street, it is alone in the accomplished few years that I accept gotten to see him assignment in affectionate detail. Spending time in his archive, I accept been systematically addled by the amazing intelligence that permeates aggregate but that is generally best acute aback hidden in appointment memos, hand-drawn key codes to actual blueprint and sketches fabricated on acknowledged pads clearly fatigued in a library. His aciculate accuracy and wit has consistently been abundantly bright to anybody through the discipline-changing assignment we all know, but the aesthetic accentuation of his abstraction is altered in these beneath advised expressions. Affectionate acknowledgments of the contributions fabricated by secretarial staff, decidedly advanced absorption in agenda technologies, and outbursts of frustrations with the accustomed obstacles confronted by architects, are affirmation that in his circadian life, he operated in accordance with the principle—often about declared but additionally generally blurred as bald able rhetoric—that architects are not heroes but bodies with absorbing jobs to do.
And in these documents, there is additionally affirmation of conceivably the smartest affair he anytime did – which was to ally Denise, to whom I action my centermost condolences.
Very few texts captured a cultural archetype about-face as Robert Venturi and Scott Brown’s Complication and Bucking in Architectonics and Acquirements from Las Vegas. Their access on ancestors of architects is as beginning as it was aback those texts were aboriginal published. They destabilized the form-function determinism of modernist architects and opened our acreage to amalgam forms, cool graphics, and pop-style culture. They absolved architectonics from anachronistic behavior with bookish depth, congenital faculty of humor, abrupt juxtapositions and antic colors. They looked at architectonics as a cultural across-the-board broadcast field.
Michael Meredith and Hilary Sample:
Robert Venturi adapted architectonics (practice and teaching) for those of us afterwards him (America and abroad). He fabricated it better. Calm with Denise Scott Brown, he pioneered architectonics partnerships (now there are so many), affianced assorted scales and media (from books to appliance to barrio to urbanism), and brought architectonics into chat with its a adeptness (both as an bookish following and a practical/technical one). He seemed to booty according amusement in both history and the mundane, alms a amusing counterpoint to the ballsy artist-architect and to the essentialism of his time with an clear ambiguity, complexity, and inclusivity (something that is added and added important nowadays).
Bob has larboard the building. His spirit will roam the cosmos for aeon consistently about his admired Denise and Jim. The maestro’s abundant assignment charcoal abaft with us. It will thankfully astonish pundits, colleagues and acceptance for centuries to come. Bob and Denise’s assignment has consistently been across-the-board speaking to all ages, cultures, endeavors, and genders. Bob chose to abode in accepted accent about his assignment additionally provides the claiming of case aback its added layers.
Bob’s circadian activity and assignment formed one unified accomplished abounding of the complexities and contradictions of which he wrote. There was no added Venturi lurking. He was the absolute deal, authentic, admiring and committed in aggregate he did. Bob was adventuresome in his efforts to action affected trends which traded actuality for ball and one-liner. His armory included wit, artistry, ambiguity, irony and bookish prowess. He was able-bodied armed and accessible to engage.
I bethink him cogent me of how he struggled at the time aback agreement the burst accumbent white bandage at the fifth attic of Guild House. It took me a while to absolutely accept that. It fabricated me think. That is what Bob does. He makes us think.
Ashley Schafer and Amanda Reeser:
Picking up archetype edits on the day of Robert Venturi’s passing, we were addled by the appliance of the angel on the aftermost folio of our aftermost issue. It is a photograph of Bob and Denise taken from the aback seat, affected by a windshield, advanced of which are signs, band malls, busy sheds. It captures so altogether how they asked us to attending at the apple differently. Their embrace of Americana, of the city, of what is aces of our attention, opened the conduct to a added assorted set of interests and narratives connected afore it was politically actual to do so. The inclusivity Bob championed in Complexity and Contradiction expanded means of operating in the field, which acutely afflicted us at PRAXIS (not to acknowledgment ancestors of architects). His and Denise’s bookish generosity is a admonition of how we should all strive to practice.
We accept absent a giant, but additionally an abundantly warm, witty, and acceptable animal being. I bethink already affable a simple pasta with amazon booze for Bob and Denise in their admirable Philadelphia home, aback I had aloof started alive on my PhD apriorism on their Acquirements from Las Vegas. Aback Bob saw the sauce, he commented: “How exotic!” He absolutely did see the amazing in the ordinary. Venturi, through his acicular observations, is articulate accuracy and his puns, consistently afflicted how we anticipate and allocution about architecture. One of his best acclaimed assets illustrated his abstraction of the busy afford with the words “I AM A MONUMENT.” That he is.
One of the aboriginal accessories I appear afterwards finishing academy was a assize advancing Complication and Bucking in Architecture. Not altogether originally, I answerable Bob Venturi with announcement an escapist, absolutely visual, artful at time of amusing crisis. How amiss I was! That book and his assignment were absolutely all about the political and its imbrication not artlessly in aesthetic apparatus but in all-embracing best and account for the choices of others. Bob was consistently and anytime acclaim destructive and afflicted – absolved – the way we anticipate about architecture. He accomplished what we were so accurately angry for: the actuality of aberration and the abandon of the imagination.
“Main Artery is About all Right”
Robert Venturi (1925-2018), apparently the best adumbrative of American Postmodernism, was one of the twenty participants of the amazing Strada Novissima at the 1980 Venice Architectonics Biennale. In fact, calm with Denise Scott Brown and John Rauch, he apparently astern at the best important abode on that street, abaft a façade that took the anatomy of a bright pop cartoonish temple with, in the back, and arresting from the street, a ample reproduction of the 1964 Vanna Venturi abode corrective by Cinecittà technicians.
Venturi’s attendance in the exhibition was apparent as not alone adorable but as absolutely capital to the success of the show. So abundant so that arch babysitter Paolo Portoghesi fabricated abiding to accommodate architectural historian Vincent Scully amidst the advising lath of the exhibition, as he knew, alone Scully would be able to argue the ancestor of postmodernism to appear and comedy with the added kids on the block.
Stanley Tigerman and Margaret McCurry:
Bob Venturi led the way astern to a “gentler, simpler time.” His was a postmodernists’ bawl that in the astern 1960’s batten a added circuitous accent than that audible by approved modernism. Consistently the gentleman, he seemed afflictive with the mantel of ballyhoo which nonetheless he wore with abundant dignity. Never the “starchitect” Bob was too backward to be agitated by the chicane of fame. He never aimed to be the baton of the “loyal opposition” affair either and while his words batten volumes about circuitous values, his architectural assembly sometimes fell a bit abbreviate of the mark but not by much.
Curiously, like Mies van der Rohe afore him he lived to see the conduct of architectonics beneath by the apocryphal gods of “Marketing and Branding,” but the appearance that has ennobled architectonics throughout the ages has already affected the youngest bearing who would aspire to that which has been missing in our epoch- “value.”
“Bob and Denise”
In my mind, Bob and Denise are a distinct entity… a alliance of absolute ability and adroitness that afflicted the actual foundations of how we anticipate about the congenital environment. Their unified attendance has been absolutely anchored in both my acquainted and hidden angle of architectonics back the 1970s; so, it is absurd to accept that one bisected of this all-powerful aggregation is missing. Denise will absolutely go on to anytime added amazing triumphs of art and theory, but the accord and amplitude of their account will consistently abide in the architectonics apple as a absolute archetype of adulation and eyes in one package.
Robert Venturi was badly affecting and badly misunderstood. He best abundantly alleged for complication and bucking in architectonics but he was absolutely a new affectionate of minimalist, consistently attractive to aerate the aftereffect of the least–as appear by the actual bendability of the self-undermining mantra “Less is a Bore.” He was a absolutely breviloquent architect, calmly analytical what others bless and adulatory what others belittle. Added than anything, he savored the uncontainable ripples produced by slow-motion collisions amid acutely adverse little things. Calm with Denise Scott-Brown, he kept allurement architects to anticipate again, and smile a bit, alike if the action was rarely taken up.
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