Robert Venturi, 1925–2018

A giant of PoMo architecture

Vanna Venturi House. Photo:  Maria Buszek, UPenn, Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates

Robert Venturi, the leading proponent, alongside his wife and partner Denise Scott Brown, of postmodernism in building design, has died. The Pritzker-prize winner was much-referenced within architecture theory, particularly the couple's 1972 book Learning from Las Vegas, which called for architects to look for inspiration in the tastes and values of ordinary people and the vernacular over the monumental. Playing on Mies van der Rohe's famous modernist dictum 'Less is more', Venturi once quipped 'less is a bore'. Many of Venturi's buildings would become much loved icons as a consequence, not withstanding the fact they often had humble uses and were located outside major cities (such as fire station he built for the city of Columbus, Indiana, in 1966). In 1991 Venturi was commissioned to build the Sainsbury Wing extension for the National Gallery in London, the same year his Seattle Art Museum opened. Venturi's most famous building however is the five-room bungalow he built for his mother in 1962–64, often credited as inaugurating PoMo as a movement.

20 September 2018