About Robert Venturi
Pritzker Prize–winning architect Robert Venturi ushered in a new generation of design in the United States with his buildings that fused the innovations of modernism with historical styles. Although he worked with Eero Saarinen and Louis Kahn early in his career, Venturi argued in his 1966 book Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture that modernism pursued an impossible sense of purity, advocating instead that architecture should have a “messy vitality” that engages the past through contradiction and complexity. “As an architect, I try to be guided not by habit but by a conscious sense of the past—by precedent, thoughtfully considered,” he once said. The Vanna Venturi House, in Pennsylvania, which he built for his mother, exemplifies his approach in its blend of modernist symmetry, the structure of a country home, and elements of postmodernism. Similarly, the Sainsburg Wing addition to London’s National Gallery fuses the original building’s classicism with more modernist lines and elements such as glass walls.
American, b. 1925, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania