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Less is a Bore

Last week, architect Robert Venturi passed away at the age of 93. At the forefront of postmodernism, Venturi marked his place in design history with his approach to architecture and design principals. At a time when architects like Mies van der Rohe had a “less is more” approach, Venturi’s was “less is a bore”.  With a belief that ornament and even humor had a place in modern architecture, his work stands out from the rest. In 1966, Venturi published, “Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture,” it’s popularity led to it being translated into more than a dozen languages.

Based in Philadelphia, Robert Venturi along with his business partner and wife, architect Denise Scott Brown, ran a successful firm. In 1964, Venturi completed a small house for his mother, Vanna Venturi, in Philadelphia. The house is considered to be one of the first examples of postmodernism. It was followed by the Guild House, a retirement home completed in 1966 with a flat façade with mismatched windows. In the 80’s Venturi was winning large commissions, including building additions to Harvard, Yale and Princeton’s campuses. 

Venturi received the 1991 Pritzker Architecture Prize, as well as the 2016 AIA Gold Medal, which unlike the Pritzker, honored both Venturi and Scott Brown.