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Venturi, Robert

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 postmodernism, 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 Prize 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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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