Robert Venturi: Wikis


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Robert Venturi
Born June 25, 1925(1925-06-25)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Field Architecture
Awards Pritzker Prize (1991)
Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. was designed by Venturi in 1980

Robert Charles Venturi, Jr. (born June 25, 1925 in Philadelphia) is an American architect and founding principal of the firm Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates. Robert Venturi and his wife and partner, Denise Scott Brown, are regarded among the most influential architects of the twentieth century, both through their architecture and planning, and theoretical writings and teaching. Venturi was awarded the Pritzker Prize in Architecture in 1991.[1] He is also known for coining the maxim "Less is a bore" as antidote to Mies van der Rohe's famous modernist dictum "Less is more". Venturi lives in Philadelphia with Denise Scott Brown. They have a son, James Venturi.


Education and Teaching

Venturi attended school at the Episcopal Academy in Merion, Pennsylvania. He graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1947 and received his M.F.A. there in 1950.[2] In 1951 he briefly worked under Eero Saarinen in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and later for Louis Kahn in Philadelphia. He was awarded the Rome Prize Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome in 1954, where he studied and toured Europe for two years.

From 1954 to 1965, Venturi held teaching positions at the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as Kahn's teaching assistant, an instructor, and later, as associate professor. It was there, in 1960, that he met fellow faculty member, architect and planner Denise Scott Brown. Venturi taught later at the Yale School of Architecture and was a visiting lecturer with Scott Brown in 2003 at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design.


A controversial critic of the purely functional and spare designs of modern orthodox architecture, Venturi has been considered a counterrevolutionary. He published his "gentle manifesto," Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture in 1966, described in the introduction by Vincent Scully to be "probably the most important writing on the making of architecture since Le Corbusier's 'Vers Une Architecture', of 1923." Venturi received a grant from the Graham Foundation in 1965 to aid in its completion. The book has been translated and published in 18 languages.

In 1972, with Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour, Venturi wrote Learning from Las Vegas later revised in 1977 as Learning from Las Vegas: the Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form. The book published studies of the Las Vegas Strip undertaken by a 1968 research and design studio Venturi taught with Scott Brown at the Yale School of Architecture. Learning from Las Vegas was a further rebuke to orthodox modernism and elite architectural tastes. The book coined the terms "Duck" and "Decorated Shed" as applied to opposing architectural building styles.

Architectural Practice

Venturi created the firm Venturi and Short with William Short in 1960. John Rauch replaced Short as partner in 1964, changing the name to Venturi and Rauch. Venturi and Denise Scott Brown were married on July 23, 1967 in Santa Monica, California, and Scott Brown joined the firm as partner in charge of planning in 1969. The firm became known as Venturi, Rauch and Scott Brown in 1980, and, finally, after Rauch's resignation in 1989, Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates. The firm, based in Philadelphia, was awarded the Architecture Firm Award by the American Institute of Architects in 1985. Recent work has included many commissions from academic institutions, including campus planning and university buildings, and civic buildings in London, Toulouse and Japan.

Venturi is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, the American Institute of Architects and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Selected works

Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery, London
Inside the Seattle Art Museum
Wu Hall (left), designed by Robert Venturi, at Princeton University

Other works

  • The Vanna Venturi House in Philadelphia's Chestnut Hill neighborhood, designed for Venturi's mother, was recognized as a "Masterwork of Modern American Architecture" by the United States Postal Service in May 2005.
  • The Lieb House located in Barnegat Light, New Jersey was designed by Venturi and his wife Denise Scott Brown and built in 1967. It is best known for the huge number 9 on its front, and the sailboat-shaped window on one side. A Long Island, New York couple purchased this home in early March 2009 for just $1 to save it from demolition, paying at least $100,000 to move it on a barge to Glen Cove, Long Island.[3]


  • Commandeur de L'Ordre des Arts et Lettres, Republique Française, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication; 2000
  • Elected to the National Academy of Arts and Letters; 1990
  • Commendatore of the Order of Merit, Republic of Italy; 1986
  • AIA Architecture Firm Award, to Venturi, Rauch and Scott Brown; 1985
  • AIA Medal for Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture; 1978


  • Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, The Museum of Modern Art Press, New York 1966. ISBN 0870702815
  • Learning from Las Vegas (with Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour), MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 1972, revised 1977. ISBN 026272006X
  • Iconography and Electronics upon a Generic Architecture : A View from the Drafting Room, MIT Press, 1998. ISBN 0262720299
  • Architecture as Signs and Systems: for a Mannerist Time (with Denise Scott Brown), Harvard University Press, 2004. ISBN 0674015711


  1. ^ Goldberger, Paul (14 April 1991). "ARCHITECTURE VIEW; Robert Venturi, Gentle Subverter of Modernism". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ a b Robert Venturi 1991 Laureate Pritzker Architecture Prize
  3. ^ La Gorge, Tammy (2009-03-13). "To Save a Venturi House, It Is Moved". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  4. ^ Design Mind Award Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards; 2007
  5. ^ Vincent Scully Prize National Building Museum
  6. ^ List of Medalists National Medal of Arts
  7. ^ Twenty-five Year Award Recipients The American Institute of Architects
  8. ^ Directory 1951 to 1960 Society of Fellows of the American Academy in Rome

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Robert Charles Venturi (born June 25, 1925) is a Philadelphia-based architect who worked under Eero Saarinen and Louis Kahn before forming his own firm with John Rauch.


  • Main Street is almost alright.


  • Perfect symmetry is sickness of mind.

External links

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