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Venturi, Robert,1925–2018, American architect and architectural theorist, b. Philadelphia, grad. Princeton (B.A., 1947; M.F.A., 1950). An important and highly influential theorist, Venturi inveighed in his writings against the banality and simplicity of postwar modern architecture and argued for a more inclusive, contextual approach to design, advocating an unorthodox, mannered, eclectic, and humorous architecture and emphasizing the validity and vitality of American roadside strip buildings and advertising. Although he heralded the architectural movement known as postmodernismpostmodernism,
term used to designate a multitude of trends—in the arts, philosophy, religion, technology, and many other areas—that come after and deviate from the many 20th-cent. movements that constituted modernism.
..... Click the link for more information. , he never considered himself a postmodernist. Venturi went into private practice in 1960. Among his early large works is Guild House in Philadelphia (1962–66), whose entrance is distinguished by a bold, billboardlike sign and whose flat facade is punctuated by mismatched windows. A more restrained historicizing mode characterized his later public works, such as Gordon Wu Hall at Princeton (1982–84), the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery, London (1991), the somewhat flamboyant but not overwhelming Seattle Art Museum (1991), the expanded Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (1996); and buildings at Princeton (2000), Dartmouth (2000 and 2002), Harvard (2005), and other universities. His largest project, designed with Denise Scott-Brown, his wife and architectural partner, was the Haute-Garonne dept. government complex, Toulouse, France (1999), with a series of offices and many public spaces. Among Venturi's writings are Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966), Learning from Las Vegas (1972, written with Stephen Izenour and Denise Scott-Brown), and A View from the Campidoglio: Selected Essays, 1953–1984 (1984). Venturi was awarded the Pritzker PrizePritzker Prize,
officially The Pritzker Architecture Prize
, award for excellence in architecture, given annually since 1979. Largely modeled on the Nobel Prize, it is the premier architectural award in the United States and is named for the family that founded the
..... Click the link for more information. in 1991.
See C. Mead, ed., The Architecture of Robert Venturi (1989); S. von Moos, Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates: Buildings and Projects, 1986–1998 (1999).
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An American Postmodernist who set up practice with John Rausch (1930– ) and later with wife Denise Scott Brown (1930– ), and later still with Steven Izenour (1930– ). Early work included the Vanna Venturi House, Philadelphia, PA (1963); Franklin Court, Philadelphia, PA (1976); Gordon Wu Hall (illus.), Princeton University, NJ (1983); Seattle Art Museum (illus.), Seattle, WA (1991); and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA (1996).
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
Venturi, Robert(1925– ) architect, author; born in Philadelphia. A Princeton graduate, he worked for Louis Kahn before establishing (1958) the Philadelphia firm that became Venturi, Rauch, Scott Brown and Associates. As both architect and theorist, Venturi spearheaded the reaction against modernism by embracing historical and popular architectural styles, most famously the common commercial strip. His seminal Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966) and Learning from Las Vegas (with his wife and partner, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour, 1972) have been as influential as his buildings, including the recent Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery, London (1991). He won the Pritzker Prize (1991).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.