Download Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture PDF

TitleComplexity and Contradiction in Architecture
Author
File Size26.2 MB
Total Pages133
Table of Contents
                            005.jpg
006.jpg
007.jpg
008.jpg
009.jpg
010.jpg
011.jpg
012.jpg
013.jpg
014.jpg
015.jpg
016.jpg
017.jpg
018.jpg
019.jpg
20.jpg
21.jpg
22.jpg
23.jpg
24.jpg
25.jpg
26.jpg
27.jpg
28.jpg
29.jpg
30.jpg
31.jpg
32.jpg
33.jpg
34.jpg
35.jpg
36.jpg
37.jpg
38.jpg
39.jpg
40.jpg
41.jpg
42.jpg
43.jpg
44.jpg
45.jpg
46.jpg
47.jpg
48.jpg
49.jpg
50.jpg
51.jpg
52.jpg
53.jpg
54.jpg
55.jpg
56.jpg
57.jpg
58.jpg
59.jpg
60.jpg
61.jpg
62.jpg
63.jpg
64.jpg
65.jpg
66.jpg
67.jpg
68.jpg
69.jpg
70.jpg
71.jpg
72.jpg
73.jpg
74.jpg
75.jpg
76.jpg
77.jpg
78.jpg
79.jpg
80.jpg
81.jpg
82.jpg
83.jpg
84.jpg
85.jpg
86.jpg
87.jpg
88.jpg
89.jpg
90.jpg
91.jpg
92.jpg
93.jpg
94.jpg
95.jpg
96.jpg
97.jpg
98.jpg
99.jpg
100.jpg
101.jpg
102.jpg
103.jpg
104.jpg
105.jpg
106.jpg
107.jpg
108.jpg
109.jpg
110.jpg
111.jpg
112.jpg
113.jpg
114.jpg
115.jpg
116.jpg
117.jpg
118.jpg
119.jpg
120.jpg
121.jpg
122.jpg
123.jpg
124.jpg
125.jpg
126.jpg
127.jpg
128.jpg
129.jpg
130.jpg
131.jpg
132.jpg
133.jpg
134.jpg
135.jpg
backcover.jpg
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

and
Contradiction
in Architecture

Robert Venturi
with an introduction by Vincent Scully

The Museum of Modern Art Papers on Architecture

The Museum of Modern Art, New York

in association with

the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in

the Fine Arts, Chicago

Distributed by Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York

Page 66

135. Gaudi. Casa Guell, Barcelona 136. Expressways. C a l ~ f o r n ~ a

Page 67

9 . The Inside and the Outside

The external configuration is usually rather simple,
but there is packed into the interior of an organism
an amazing complexity of structures which have long
been the delight of anatomists.

The specific form of a plant or animal is determined
not only by the genes in the organism and the
cytoplasmic activities that these direct but by the
interaction between genetic constitution and environ-
ment. A given gene does not control a specific trait, but
a specific reaction to a specific environment.*

Contrast between the inside and the outside can be a
major manifestation of contradiction in architecture. How-
ever, one of the powerful twentieth century orthodoxies has
been the necessity for continuity between them: the inside
should be expressed on the outside. But this is not really
new--only our means have been new. The Renaissance
church interior, for instance (137), has a continuity with
its exterior; the interior vocabulary of pilasters, cornices,
and drip mouldings is almost identical in scale and some-
times in material with its exterior vocabulary. The result
is subtle modification but little contrast and no surprise.

Perhaps the boldest contribution of orthodox Modern
architecture was its so-called flowing space, which was used
to achieve the continuity of inside and outside. The idea has
been emphasized by historians ranging from Vincent
Scully's discovery of its early evolution in Shingle Style
interiors to its flowering in the Prairie House and its
culmination in De Stijl and the Barcelona Pavilion. Flowing
space produced an architecture of related horizontal and
vertical planes. The visual independence of these uninter-
rupted planes was scored by connecting areas of plate glass:
windows as holes in the wall disappeared and became,
instead, interruptions of wall to be discounted by the eye as
a positive element of the building. Such cornerless architec-
ture implied an ultimate continuity of space. Its emphasis
on the oneness of interior and exterior space was permitted
by new inechanical equipment which for the first time
made the inside thermally independent of the outside.

Edmund W. Sinnott, The Problem of Orgafiic Pwm, Yale
University Press, New Haven, 1963.

But the old tradition of enclosed and contrasted inside
space, which I want to analyze here, has been recognized by
some Modern masters, even if it has not been much empha-
sized by the historians. Although Wright did in fact "de-
stroy the box" in the Prairie House, the rounded corners and
solid walls of the Johnson Wax Administration Building
are analogous to the diagonal and rounded corners of Bor-
romini's interiors and those of his eighteenth century fol-
lowers-and for the same purpose: to exaggerate a sense of
horizontal enclosure and to promote the separateness and
unity of the interior space by the continuity of the four
walls. But Wright, unlike Borromini, did not puncture his
continuous walls with windows. That would have weakened
the bold contrast of horizontal enclosure and vertical open-
ness. And it also would have been too traditional and
structurally ambiguous for him.

The essential purpose of the interiors of buildings is to
enclose rather than direct space, and to separate the inside
from the outside. Kahn has said: "A building is a harboring
thing." The function of the house to protect and provide
privacy, psychological as well as physical, is an ancient one. Calcina~o, Cortona
The Johnson Wax Building fosters a further tradition: the
expressive differentiation of the inside and outside spaces.
Besides enclosing the inside with walls, Wright differen-
tiated the interior light, an idea with a rich evolution from
Byzantine, Gothic, and Baroque architecture to that of
Le Corbusier and Kahn today. The inside is different from
the outside.

But there are other valid means of differentiating and
relating inside and outside space which are foreign to our
recent architecture. Eliel Saarinen said that just as a build-

138 Mar~tlrne Theatre, Hadr~an's V~l la, Tlvoll Plan
ing is the "organization of space in space. So is the com-
munity. So is the city." 35 I think this series could start with
the idea of a room as a space in space. And I should like to
apply Saarinen's definition of relationships not only to the
spatial relationships of building and site, but to those of
interior spaces within interior spaces. What I am talking
about is the baldacchino above the altar and within the
sanctuary. Another classic building of Modern architecture,
again admittedly not typical, illustrates my point. The Villa
Savoye ( 12 ) with its wall openings which are, significantly,
holes rather than interruptions, restricts any flowing space
rigidly to the vertical direction. But there is a spatial impli-
cation beyond that of enclosure which contrasts it with the
Johnson Wax Building. Its severe, almost square exterior 139 Wright Evans House, Ch~cago Plan

Page 132

Work of Sir John Vanbrugh
and His School, 1699-1736,
1928. @ Country Life.

155. Reproduced by permission of
Propylaen Verlag, Berlin, from
Gustav Pauli, Die Kunsr des
Kkassizismus und der Roman-
tik, 1925.

156. Alinari.
157. Abraham GuillPn, Lima.
158. Archives Photographiques,

Caisse Nationale des Monu-
ments Historiques, Paris.

159. Robert Venturi.
160. Bildarchiv Foto Marburg, Mar-

burg/Lahn.
161. @ Country Life.
162. Robert Venturi.
163. From Russell Sturgis, A His-

tory of Architecture, vol. I ,
The Baker & Taylor Company,
New York 1906.

164. Reproduced by permission of
Propylaen Verlag, Berlin, from
Heinrich Schafer and Walter
Andrae, Die Kunst des Alten
Orients, 1925.

165. Reproduced by permission of
Penguin Books Ltd., Har-
mondsworth-Middlesex, from
Rudolf Wittkower, Art and
Architecture in Italy, 1600-
1750, Baltimore 1958.

166. Pierre Devinoy, Paris.
167. Staatlichen Graphischen Samm-

lung, Munich.
168. Hirmer Verlag, Munich.
169. Reproduced by permission.

from L'Architettura, June 1964.
170. Alinari.
17 1. @ Trustees of Sir John Soanens

Museum.
172. Robert Venmri.
173. Robert Venturi.
174. The Museum of Modern Art.
175. @ Ezra Stoller Associates.
176. Ernest Nash, Fototeca Union%

Rome.
177. Reproduced by permission of

Penguin ~ o o k s Ltd., Har-

mondsworth-Middlesex, from
Nikolaus Pevsner, An Outline
of European Architecture, Bal-
timore 1960.

178. Reproduced by permission of
Penguin Books Ltd., Har-
mondsworth-Middlesex, from
Nikolaus Pevsner, An Outline
of European Architecture, Bal-
timore 1960.

179. Friedrich Hewicker, Kalten-
kitchen.

180. Courtesy Prestel Verlag, Mu-
nich. Photo: Erich Miiller.

181. Reproduced by permission of
Giulio Einaudi Editore, Turin,
from Paolo Portoghesi and
Bruno Zevi (editors), Michel-
angiolo Architetto, 1964.

182. Reproduced by permission of
Giulio Einaudi Editore, Turin,
from Paolo Portoghesi and
Bruno Zevi (editors), Michel-
angiolo Architetto, 1964.

183. Alinari-Anderson.
184. Reproduced by permission of

Penguin Books Ltd., Har-
mondsworth-Middlesex, from
G. H. Hamilton, The Art and
Architecture of Russia, Balti-
more 1954.

185. Reproduced by permission of
Penguin Books Ltd., Har-
mondsworth-Middlesex, from
George Kubler and Martin
Soria, Art and Architecture in
Spain and Portugal and Their
American Dominions, 1500-
1800, Baltimore 1959.

186. Reproduced by permission of
Touring Club Italiano, Milan,
from L. V. Bertanelli (editor)
Guida d'ltalia, Iazio, 1935.

187. Reproduced by
Alec Tiranti Ltd., London,
from J. C. Shepherd and G. A.
Jellicoe, Italian Gardens of the
Renaissance, 1953.

188. Courtesy Louis I. Kahn.
189. Alinari.

190. Reproduced by permission of
~ u d o l f Wittkower, from his
book, Art and Architecture in
Italy, 1600-1 750, Penguin
~ o o k s , Inc., Baltimore 1958.

19 1. Riccardo Moncalvo, Turin.
192. Heikki Havas, Helsinki.
193. Reproduced by permission of

Arkady, Warsaw, from Maria
and Kazimierz Piechotka,
Wooden Synagogues, 1959.

194. Reproduced by permission of
George Wittenborn, Inc., New
York, from Karl Fleig (edi-
tor), Alvar Aalto, 1963.

195. G. Kleine-Tebbe, Bremen.
196. From Architectural Forum,

February 1950.
197. From Architectural Forum,

February 1950.
198. Reproduced by permission of

The University of North Caro-
lina Press, Chapel Hill, from
Thomas Tileston Waterman,
The Mansions o f Virginia,
1706-1776, 1946. @ 1945.

199. Robert Venturi.
200. Reproduced by permission of

Herold Druck- und Verlags-
gesellschaft M.B.H., Vienna,
from Hans Sedlmayr, Johann
Bernhard Fischer von Erlach,
1956.

201. Alinari.
202. From CasabelIa, no. 217, 1957.
203. Reproduced by permission of

Alec Tiranti Ltd., London,
from J. C. Shepherd and G. A.
Jellicoe, Italian Gardens of the
Renaissance, 1953.

204. Touring Club Italiano, Milan.
205. The Museum of Modern Art.
206. Reproduced by permission of

Penguin Books Ltd., Har-
mondsworth-Middlesex, from
Nikolaus Pevsner, An Outline
o f EuroPean Architecture, Bal-
timore 1960.

207. Soprintendenza alle Gallerie,
Florence.

208. Istituto Centrale del Restauro.
Rome.

209. Collection: The Whitney Mu-
seum of American Art.

2 10. Courtesy And& Emmerich
Gallery.

211. Photo by John Szarkowski, au-
thor of The Idea o f Louis Sulli-
van, The University of Minne-
sota Press, Minneapolis. @
1956 The University of Min-
nesota.

212. Soprintendenza alle Gallerie,
Florence.

2 13. Hirmer Fotoarchiv, Munich.
2 14. Hirmer Fotoarchiv, Munich.
215. From Colen Campbell, Vitru-

vius Britannicus, vol. I , London
1715.

216. From John Woolfe and James
Gandon, Vitruvius Britannicus,
vol. V, London 1771.

217. Courtesy City Museum and Art
Gallery, Birmingham.

2 18. Robert Venturi.
2 19. Robert Venturi.
220. Robert Venturi.
221. Robert Venturi.
222. Reproduced by permission of

Electa Editrice, Milan, from
P a l l d o , 195 1.

223. H. Roger-Viollet, Paris.
224. Slide Collection, University of

Pennsylvania.
225. From I. T. Frary, Thomas Jef-

ferson, Architect and Builder,
Garrett and Massie, Inc., Rich-
mond 1939.

226. Robert Venturi.
227. From Colen Campbell Vitru-

vius Bn'tannicus, ~01s. I and
111, London 1715 and 1725.

228. Reproduced by permission of
Penguin Books Ltd., Har-
mondsworth-Middlesex, from
Nikolaus Pevsner, An Outline
of European Architecture, Bal-
timore 1960.

229. Bildarchiv Foto Marburg, Mar-
burg/Lahn.

Page 133

136 pages, 350 black-and-white illustrations

Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture
Robert Venturi
with an introduction by Vincent Scully

"I AM ESPECIALLY pleased to have had the wit to assert in
[my original introduction] that Complexity and Contradic-
tion was 'the most important writing on the making of
architecture since Le Corbusier's Vers zlne Architectwe, of
1923.' Time has shown that this outrageous statement was
nothing more than the unvarnished truth,and the critics who
found it most amusing or infuriating at that moment now
seem to spend a remarkable amount of energy quoting Ven-
turi without acknowledgment, or chiding him for not going
far enough, or showing that they themselves had really said
i t all long before. I t doesn't matter much. What counts is
that this brilliant, liberating book was published when it
was. It provided architects and critics alike with more real-
istic and effective weapons, so that the breadth and relevance
which the architectural dialogue has since achieved were
largely initiated by it."-Vincent Scully, April, 1977.

ROBERT VENTURI is a partner in the firm of Venturi and
Rauch, Architects and Planners, Philadelphia. He has taught
at Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania and
was a Fellow and later Architect in Residence at the Ameri-
can Academy in Rome. His writing, teaching, and architecl
tural work have had a decisive influence on the younger
generation of architects throughout the world. Since Com-
plexity and Contradiction in Architectwe first appeared in
1966, it has become an essential document in architectural
literature. Mr. Venturi is also the author, with Denise Scott
Brown and Steven Izenour, of Learning from Las Vegas,
published by The MIT Press.

The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
New York, N.Y. 10019

Distributed by Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
100 Fifth Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10011 a

Cover design by Robert Venturi
Illustration: Michelangelo, Porta Pia, Ro,me

ISBN 0-87070-282-3 (The Museum of Modern Art)
ISBN 0-8 109-6023-0 (Abrams)

Similer Documents