American Architect Robert Venturi

Although American architect Robert Venturi does not consider himself a post-modernist, he is acknowledged as the architect who opened the door to post modernism. Venturi believed that less is not more, less is a bore. His theories contradict with those of Frank Lloyd Wright, who believed organic simplicity is the only simplicity. Wright believed that the beauty was found in the nature of the material not in décor. Venturi was in favor of flashy Las Vegas billboards, while Wright approved of using mono-materials with ornament that comes from nature.

Venturi believed that architecture did not have to be pure, pretty, or geometrically balanced. It could be awkward, different, surprising, ambiguous, and complex. He believed that fun, humor, surprise, and character adds to a building and that a building should tell a story as it is approached from different views and speeds. Wright believed in reducing the number of parts to make a piece of architecture come together as space for light, air, and view with a sense of unity. He believed that “Light is the beautifier of the building.” Wright saw organic simplicity as the “Gospel of elimination.”

Although Venturi did not believe that a building had to be beautiful, he was in favor of décor and complexity. Whereas Wright felt beauty was necessary from light and the nature of materials. He believed in blending the outside with the inside and eliminating décor. Despite their contrast in theory, Wright and Venturi are both appreciated as great architects of America.



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