By

  • Category:
    Architecture
  • Document type:
    Essay
  • Level:
    Undergraduate
  • Page:
    6
  • Words:
    4048

21How Robert Venturi does influenced postmodernism

«How Robert Venturi does influenced postmodernism»

Location of Institution

Abstract

The argument of postmodernism movement in the field of architectural design have been cited by many scholars across the globe. Many literature have numerated many scholars against and for the postmodernism with in depth analysis of how these scholars have contributed to the well-being and development of modern architectural design to postmodernism architectural design. This paper aims at investigating the contribution of Robert Venturi in postmodernism move. The paper will specifically analyze the background of Venturi, his academic background and his evolution of his building in connection with his deviation from modern architecture to postmodern architecture. The paper will also investigate how his argument and choices of symbolism influences the movement of postmodernism as a whole. This will be done with examples of projects and buildings which Venturi and his team constructed and how these building influence postmodernism movement as a whole. The paper starts by giving the general introduction of modernism and postmodernism before giving specific objective of the paper. The paper further moves to specifically the postmodernism and how it originates. The paper narrow down to Robert Venturi giving his background and lastly narrowing to his major contribution to the postmodernism movement.

Introduction

Most literatures reveals that postmodern architecture first appears as an international styles in 1950’s. However, this was not recognized professionally until early 1970 and the revolution in architectural design continue to influence the current architectural design1. It is contended that postmodernity in the field of design is brought by the arrival of the mind decoration and the reference to compositional reaction to the formalism of the worldwide style of innovation. Much the same as society and styles, the most significant thoughts of the postmodernism’s are particularly obvious in the engineering outlines. Most striking individuals of postmodern design incorporate Michael Graves’ Portland working in Portland, Oregon and Philip Johnson’s Sony Buildings in the city of New York.

A few researchers like Cooke portray postmodern planner as neo-mixed in which the adornment and reference have been re-acquainted with the façade getting rid of the forcefully unornamented present day styles. Much of the time, this diversity is joined with the utilization of non-orthogonal edges new surfaces most broadly in the State Gallery of Stuttgart. Innovator as a rule view postmodern structures as disgusting which is connected with populist ethic and the sharing of the outline qualities of shopping centers jumbled with the alleged «gew-gaws».
Then again, postmodern engineers do see current structures as heartless and insipid which are excessively shortsighted and conceptual2.

The difference which plainly clarified by the purpose of «white» against the «grey» where the «white were seeking after to stay or restore the pioneer convention of the purism and clarity while then again, «dim» were simply grasping a more multifaceted social vision, incorporated into the Robert Venturi’s announcement declining the «grey or white» world perspective of the innovation for the high contrast here and there called «dim»3. This inconsistency and feeling dissimilarity was for the most part because of the targets of the two gatherings where pioneer championed the utilization of negligible materials and no utilization of adornments in structures while postmodernism is questioning the strict standard of the innovator being used of materials

Research objective

This paper aims at investigating the contribution of Robert Venturi in postmodernism move. The paper will specifically analyze the background of Venturi, his academic background and his evolution of his building in connection with his deviation from modern architecture to postmodern architecture. The paper will concentrate on the Vanna Venturi house as the basis of discussion.

Background of Robert Venturi

One of the most active postmodernist was Robert Venturi, born in 1925, he graduated from Princeton University with summa cum laude, always aspiring to be architect from his childhood. Three years after his graduation, he got his masters in Fine Arts from the same University, he in the end went to work with a portion of the colossal engineer of his time including Louis Kahn and Eero Saarinen. His book complexity and contradiction in architect played a very important role in opening the eyes of the readers on the new perspective of building construction.

After two years of working under stewardship of these great architect and as a tutor at the American Academy in Rome, Venturi later moved back to America where he opened his on structural firm in Philadelphia and later began addressing at the University of Pennsylvania. He was a great admirer of English and Italian architect. He started criticizing the blandness that was seen and was smothering the cities of America and this architectural blandness was the modernism. One of the Venturi’s building is Vanna Venturi house4.

the movement away of Robert Venturi from the modernism functionalism is well illustrated by Venturi’s adaptation of the Mies van de Rohe’s famous maxim “Less is more” to “less is a bore”.Venturi states that even the the modernist try to move away and reject the ornamental and decorative elements of architectural designs, they will not fade away and they are their to stay as long as the buildings are still existing5

Background of Vanna Venturi House

Robert Venturi and John Rauch designed the Vanna Venturi house in 1962 for Robert Venturi’s mom in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania. The house is an object that investigates «complexity and contradiction in architecture»— which is likewise the name of his eponymous book published quite a long while after the house’s culmination6.

In that book, Venturi clarifies the house «is both mind boggling and straightforward, open and shut, huge what’s more, little.» He planned the building construct not in light of the consistency of structure that innovation upheld, however as an indication of his «adoration for history and variety». The picture below shows the outline of the Vanna Venturi house

By

Venturi’s major contribution to postmodernism

In the year 1966, the first publication of Venturi entitled Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture was published. This is the turning point in the field of architecture, initially, the book appears as if it celebrates the modern architect and its ideologist. Nevertheless, this was not the case as Venturi was simply building his arguments against modernism. Venturi was convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that there is exist something more than cold and austere straight lines of modernism architecture.

These arguments were not received lightly by the modernist theorist, therefore, Venturi received much condemnation from this camp and for the radical deviation from modernism. The main ground for opposing Venturi views was the fact that, he had few building of his own to show, yet informing people that the most popular and successful movement in the field of architect has several flaws and needs correction. The modernism ideologist refused to accept his point of view and instead continue championing for their movement and rejecting the Venturi view. The Venturi in his Vanna Venturi building he wanted to consider the common man which was not covered by modern architect. Modern architecture, however, merely borrows the symbolism of the column, for the modern column can even be plastic and non-structural.

By 1

While trying to unravel what he saw as the defects in present day structural considering, he coauthored another book called Learning from Las Vegas in the year 1977. The book was for the most part about his experience on the excursion to Las Vegas. In the book, he recognized the way that despite the fact that there were deformities inside the strip like the sporadic arrangement of building furthermore the parking areas, the strip was there to sit tight. Venturi learnt a great deal from his trek to Las Vegas, knowing how to consider the current scene and afterward move from that and tolerating what was given. This thought of Venturi really stunned the universe of engineering. A significant number of the structural group felt that real roads the nation over including the one of Las Vegas Strip were so tremendously defective and along these lines, they should be totally be adjusted7. From here, the impact of Venturi was being felt over the field of modeler and the pioneer marked him as a revolutionary. Venturi designed a stairways that was leading to nowhere in the Vanna Venturi’s building.
These “nowhere stairs…accommodate awkwardly”
to the central node space and add a sense of whimsy to the space.

By 2

By 3

Figure 2: Interior Living Room and Second Floor Stair, Vanna Venturi House

The rebellious nature of Venturi initially began during the interview where he stated that people were actually punished by the establishment of architectural which are vulgar in nature. Nevertheless, people have managed to use this platform to learn more about architect and symbolism. Seven years after releasing his book Complexity and contradiction in architecture, He freely admitted that he in fact had very few buildings of his own he can refer to and further acknowledged the fact that it is not easy to maintain his credibility. Therefore, if he had this few buildings to showcase then it is not worth listening to him and he needs more experience and more buildings so that he may be able to convinced professional architect and public as a whole to accept the grand vision he was having for the field of architect. Therefore, experience to back his views and ideas were very much essential.

In argument by Williamson (2013), he states that it was not Venturi intention to convince anyone concerning anything when it comes to architect neither was he considering himself as a great writer. He composed his book to help him better comprehend the universe of designer. Through his exploration, Venturi really found that the most figured designer utilized imagery as a part of their work and these imagery were interesting to every single spot where they were being utilized. With this, Venturi was alluding to the general public vernacular, which was the regular systems, styles and conventions that could be utilized for developing a working as a part of a particular district. This prompts him being alluded to as the main American to give what is called driving force to vernacular styles through his works of 1960s. The impact of Venturi was being experienced at this point and the use of symbolism was being considered by a section of architecture who were supporting Venturi’s view of the world of architect. It should be noted that Venturi was the first to take this particular position, a position that appears to be just regular all things considered.

In his book Learning from Las Vegas, Venturi States that few modeler locate the vernacular of the working class as entirely disgusting, offensive and to some degree unappealing that they have a troublesome time interrogating it liberally to find its actual usefulness
Venturi at first induced in the book Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture that the yearning for any mind boggling design, with its chaperon disagreements, was primarily a response to the innovation and the engineer of the 1960s and 1970s. Venturi further perceived that numerous individuals long for the utilization of imagery inside their structures, not some other imagery, but rather ones that they could without much of a stretch get it. He trusts that Middle class America needs houses which are nostalgic echoes of the past as opposed to those living that were immaculate and severe proclamations of the conventional modernisms.

Venturi argues that even though his buildings were never thought of as monuments and meet the general public needs, they were more successful that the modernist due to the fact that everyday people were able to relate to them as much more personal manner. He believed that good architect is a regional architect and not global architect. He was able to identify the gap in the acceptance of modern architect by the people of America and strongly believed that his new style which involves history and tradition was one way of filling the gap left by the modernist. Venturi in supporting his position argued that the modernist have become stale and rigid and his new way and method of approaching architect was the only way out to this problem of rigidity in the field of architect.

In his design, it is clear that Venturi did not have any intention of building a signature style departing from the methods used by many architect of the 1970s and neither was he out to make name for himself, but to bring a different dimension in the field of architect. He stated that he and his firm do not intend to create signature which can be a real egotistical issue8. He further explained that it is a common thing to consider a building without architect stamp as poor and lack credentials. Venturi was able to push the envelope in this area making difference ad variety in design more acceptable among people, giving his major contribution to the postmodernism.

The Venturi’s styles attempted to help in giving the most ideal building plans for any given site, offering a kind of twofold coding that blended both the conventional imagery with the present day building procedures just to help in making structure more discernable to a more extensive territorial group of onlookers. His plans went for advancing wealth over straightforwardness not at all like the innovation which underlined expense and effortlessness over extravagance and solace.

Venturi trusted that the straightforward exteriors of cutting edge draftsman were to some expand not connecting with enough, rather he chose to decide to showcase particular viewpoints, and for example, hued block designs inside the dividers of his structures. For whatever length of time that the hues were suitable for the task, Venturi was by one means or another bold in his decisions of hues and the structures outlines and examples. This affection for shading and imagery was clear in the Sainsbury Wing expansion to the Longon’s National Gallery a work which was cheered for its imagination and abundance (Serra and Codoñer 2014).

By 4

Due to his flexibility, in his architectural programs and designs, Venturi got a call to the new expansion where he joined subjects from the current structure yet the augmentations were entirely particular from different structures in which they were gotten from9. The new outlines by Venturi kept up numerous part of the outside subjects from the current façade however encourage consolidated an incomprehensible cluster of bay windows and a sporadically formed and non-symmetrical floor arrangement10. Venturi was able to share the same disdain like the Prince Charles of England for the simplicity of modernism.

The Ventruis approach attracted many people and many modernist were not quite happy with him. The sprung of postmodernism was now in full swing with many people yearning for the Venturi concept and architectural designs. Venturi applies a mix of styles to the Vanna Venturi house making it a mannerist as well as satirist artifact.

By 5

Figure 3: Front façade

With growing popularity, Venturi was further commisioned to design another project, that is Allen Memorial Art Museum at the Oberlin College in Ohio.
Venturi and his companions managed to fulfil this duty by design that conform to a series of interior uses but evaded stealing the original building’s importance by majoring on specific qualities of the architectal gem. This building was considered as one of the finest postmodern building when it was oppened in the 197711.

Venturi architectural designs that were in most cases seemingly ordinary looking and that were not revolutionary in nature like the modern style full with simplicity over their designs. Venturi was able to directly engage the locals before designing the buildings and this enables him to capture the people tradition more clearly. In this manner, Venturi was able to take a revolutionary of his own12.

Venturi was able to successfully create designs which incorporates history, symbolism and people tradition through exhaustive research. His team was able to travel to the cities where the buildings were to be constructed, interviewing the people to get their feelings, culture and attitudes before they could embark on the designing of the building. This was giving him and his team first-hand experience of the people desire and needs in which he was able to produce a design which the locals were able to connect with. Venturi and Rauch
began to explore within the Vanna Venturi house the semiotic dissonance between
the ideas of the symbol, symbolized and signifier in architecture, especially in the
treatment of the front façade.
Illustration

By 6

Illustration of complexity and contradiction

Before shifting to the postmodernism in late 1950s, Modern architect Philip Johnson declared that, it is hard to know history13. This particular proclamation angered orthodox modernist who later realized that no matter the circumstances, history binds people together and the modernist actually offer no outlet through which architect could express themselves.

Venturi was able to understand the point Johnson was trying to point out in his desire for historical inclusion in the architectural design and he was able later to incorporate similar conviction into his own style of postmodern architect. Venturi believed that, for one to be a successful architect, he must be able to understand historical fact and be able to relate past events with the current activities. In an interview in 1990, Venturi pointed out that most architect more so modern architect don’t know leave alone understanding their history to date.

Due to different historical factors, Venturi’s buildings differ from one to another and there was no one you could point out as right or wrong piece of ornamentation. The varied historical facts contributed to the symbolism that were included by Venturi in his work. Due to the fact the Venturi aimed at including symbolism in his work, many people appreciated his after understanding is traditionally inspired buildings. The symbolism used was mostly influenced by the materials and local building tradition14. The climatic condition of an area and the general environmental factors surrounding the building site.
The Vanna Venturi House represents a postmodern intermediary between the signifier and the signified in architecture.

By 7

Plans and Sections of the house of Vanna Venturi house

Other architects who were influenced by the Venturi’s work recognized the importance of using symbolism. The Postmodernist Cesar Pelli believed that Postmodernism reminded us that symbolism have a role in building and this role might be more important than aesthetic composition of the building.15

Pelli further emphasized the important of the use of history and tradition in our building designs stating that people perceive building not only with their eyes but also with their memory. It is habit of the people to compare and contrast and with this regard, old and new buildings are being compared and contrasted and there comes a moment when people decide whether or not they do in fact like a particular building. People will tend to like what they can easily associate with than what they are not able to do hence the need for history inclusion in our designs16.

Modernism in most cases employed the use of modernism through the use of I-beam and dull window examples and sheets of glass that were covering enormous high rises17. The making of space was such a major ordeal for pioneers as they had submerged all the imagery remainder while Venturi clarified that current structures were really images without anyone else’s input. He trusted that innovator were really outlining working for themselves rather than the general public consequently they do not have the societal association as individuals couldn’t relate with them.

One of the little known Venturi’s building was Vanna Venturi house exterior view is shown below

By 8

Though denied by Venturi himself, vanna Venturi house might have been the most source of influence. Many architect admits to this fact and the house itself looks like a precursor of Philip AT&T Building. Therefore, Venturi contributed a lot in the postmodern movement and transformation of architectural designs and as a profession as a whole.

Conclusion

Robert Venturi has immensely contributed to the development and growth of postmodernism. Though he faced many challenges in the use of symbolism in his work. By the end of the 1990’s many people accepted his architectural design and many of his buildings are still being admired and postmodernism theorist have borrowed a lot from his writings and art work.

Bibliography

Arnason, H.H. and Mansfield, E., 2013. History of modern art: painting, sculpture, architecture, photography. Pearson.

Belak, V. and Dvorski, K., 2015, April. Old Ideas, New Paradigms: A Postmodern Discourse on Leadership. In International OFEL Conference on Governance, Management and Entrepreneurship (p. 867). Centar za istrazivanje i razvoj upravljanja doo.

Cooke, P., 2014. Back to the Future (RLE Social Theory): Modernity, Postmodernity and Locality. Routledge.

Greene, A.N., 2014. Reflections on Tom Hughes. Technology and Culture, 55(4), pp.958-963.

Handwerker, M., 2014. Las Vegas in the Rearview Mirror: The City in Theory, Photography, and Film. The Journal of Architecture, 19(4), pp.620-622.

Holden, R. and Liversedge, J., 2014. Landscape architecture: an introduction. Laurence King Publishing.

Lash, S., 2014. Sociology of postmodernism. Routledge.

Ley, D., 2014. Modernism, postmodernism and the struggle for place. The Power of Place (RLE Social & Cultural Geography): Bringing Together Geographical and Sociological Imaginations.

Misra, M., 2014. Neo-avant-garde and postmodern: postwar architecture in Britain and beyond. International Journal of Environmental Studies, 71(4), pp.583-589.

Ray, N., 2013. The Globalisation of Modern Architecture: The Impact of Politics, Economics and Social Change on Architecture and Urban Design since 1990, By Adam Robert Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2013, 362pp., 9 colour and 69 mono illus. ISBN 978-1-4438-3905-1, Price£ 29.99 (pb). Architectural Research Quarterly, 17(3-4), pp.325-327.

Sadler, S., 2013. A Container and Its Contents: Re-Reading Tomás Maldonado’s Design, Nature, and Revolution: Toward a Critical Ecology (1970, trans. 1972). Room One Thousand, 1(1).

Serra, J. and Codoñer, Á.G., 2014. Color composition in postmodern western architecture. Color Research & Application, 39(4), pp.399-412.

Swoszowska, J.W., 2016. Postmodern fun and games. Some thoughts in the discussion on Polish architecture. Czasopismo Techniczne, 2015(Architektura Zeszyt 9-A (15) 2015), pp.411-417.

Williamson, J.F., 2013. Louis I. Kahn, teacher. Architectural Research Quarterly, 17(3-4), pp.313-324.

Young, R.F., 2016. Modernity, postmodernity, and ecological wisdom: Toward a new framework for landscape and urban planning. Landscape and Urban Planning.

1
Arnason, H.H. and Mansfield, E., 2013. History of modern art: painting, sculpture, architecture, photography. Pearson

2
Cooke, P., 2014. Back to the Future (RLE Social Theory): Modernity, Postmodernity and Locality. Routledge

3
Ley, D., 2014. Modernism, postmodernism and the struggle for place. The Power of Place (RLE Social & Cultural Geography): Bringing Together Geographical and Sociological Imaginations

4
Young, R.F., 2016. Modernity, postmodernity, and ecological wisdom: Toward a new framework for landscape and urban planning. Landscape and Urban Planning.

5
Lash, S., 2014. Sociology of postmodernism. Routledge

6
Young, R.F., 2016. Modernity, postmodernity, and ecological wisdom: Toward a new framework for landscape and urban planning. Landscape and Urban Planning.

7
Greene, A.N., 2014. Reflections on Tom Hughes. Technology and Culture, 55(4), pp.958-963.

8
Williamson, J.F., 2013. Louis I. Kahn, teacher. Architectural Research Quarterly, 17(3-4), pp.313-324

9
Serra, J. and Codoñer, Á.G., 2014. Color composition in postmodern western architecture. Color Research & Application, 39(4), pp.399-412

10
Swoszowska, J.W., 2016. Postmodern fun and games. Some thoughts in the discussion on Polish architecture. Czasopismo Techniczne, 2015(Architektura Zeszyt 9-A (15) 2015), pp.411-417.

11
Handwerker, M., 2014. Las Vegas in the Rearview Mirror: The City in Theory, Photography, and Film. The Journal of Architecture, 19(4), pp.620-622.

12
Ray, N., 2013. The Globalisation of Modern Architecture: The Impact of Politics, Economics and Social Change on Architecture and Urban Design since 1990, By Adam Robert Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2013, 362pp., 9 colour and 69 mono illus. ISBN 978-1-4438-3905-1, Price£ 29.99 (pb). Architectural Research Quarterly, 17(3-4), pp.325-327.

13
Belak, V. and Dvorski, K., 2015, April. Old Ideas, New Paradigms: A Postmodern Discourse on Leadership. In International OFEL Conference on Governance, Management and Entrepreneurship (p. 867). Centar za istrazivanje i razvoj upravljanja doo.

14
Holden, R. and Liversedge, J., 2014. Landscape architecture: an introduction. Laurence King Publishing

15
Misra, M., 2014. Neo-avant-garde and postmodern: postwar architecture in Britain and beyond. International Journal of Environmental Studies, 71(4), pp.583-589.

16
Sadler, S., 2013. A Container and Its Contents: Re-Reading Tomás Maldonado’s Design, Nature, and Revolution: Toward a Critical Ecology (1970, trans. 1972). Room One Thousand, 1(1).

17
Serra, J. and Codoñer, Á.G., 2014. Color composition in postmodern western architecture. Color Research & Application, 39(4), pp.399-412.