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Postmodern Architect

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  1. Postmodern Architect Robert Venturi

  2. Robert Venturi (b.1925) • Background • Major Theoretical Works • Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture • Learning from Las Vegas • Selected Design Works

  3. Robert Venturi (b.1925) • Architects • Theorists • Teachers • Award Winner

  4. Bibliography • 1947: graduated (summa cum laude) from Princeton University • 1950: M.F.A. from Princeton University • 1954 to 1956: furthered his studies as a Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome • Taught an architectural theory course at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Architecture. • In the past three decades: lectured at numerous institutions including Yale, Princeton, Harvard, UCLA, Rice and the American Academy in Rome.  • 1991: Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate • Practices architecture under the name of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates (VSBA) • Always calls himself a Modernist

  5. Venturi’s Books • Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966) • Explores physical reactions to forms and is understanding in methods • Learning from Las Vegas (1972) • Is concerned with the function of sign in human art (buildings) and is fundamentally linguistic in its approach • A View from the Campidoglio: Selected Essays, 1953-1984.  (1984) • Iconography and Electronics upon a Generic Architecture (1996)

  6. Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture • Inspired “Postmodern Architecture” • An early (if not first) attempt of Anti-Modernism • Ironic (“More is Not Less” and “Less is Bore”) • Examples from the Past (Mannerism, Baroque, Rococo) against modernist’s buildings • “Polemic” theory of architecture vs. normative theory of architecture

  7. Le Corbusier Inspired by Greek Temple Sculptural form Actively heroic character Sculptural actors in vast landscape Venturi Inspired by the urban façade of Italy Endless adjustments to the counter-requirements of inside and outside Inflection with all the business of everyday life Complex spatial containers and definers of streets and squares Accommodation Vincent Scully compared Venturi withLe Corbusier

  8. Corbu’s and Venturi’s Approach

  9. Scully described Venturi’s Proposal • Recognize complexity • Respect what exists • Against purism • Humanistic

  10. Architecture and History Making and experience of architecture: • Are always critical historical acts (involving what architects and the viewers have learned) • Depend upon the quality of our historical knowledge

  11. Venturi's Standpoint (in Preface to Complexity and Contradiction Architecture) • Ideas on architecture are a by product of the criticism, (which accompanies working) • Analysis and Comparison => tools for criticism • Architecture is open to analysis like any other aspects of experience • Analysis => breaking up architecture into elements • Comparison => making architecture more vivid • Try to be guided not by habit but by a conscious sense of the past--by precedent, thoughtfully considered • Examples are from Mannerism, Baroque and Rococo • What he likes in architecture: complexity and contradiction

  12. Venturi’s Intentions[or excuses] inComplexity and Contradiction in Architecture • To be suggestive (ชี้แนะ) rather than dogmatic (สอนสั่ง) • Method of historical analogy can be taken only so far in architectural criticism • Should an artist go all the way with his or her philosophies?

  13. A Gentle Manifesto • “I like complexity and contradiction in architecture” • “I do not like the incoherence or arbitrariness of incompetent architecture nor the precious intricacies of picturesqueness or expressionism” • “Richness and ambiguity of modern experience” • “A valid architecture evokes many levels of meaning and combinations of focus: its space and its elements become readable and workable in several ways at once” • “Must embody the difficult unity of inclusion rather than the easy unity of exclusion” (more is not less)

  14. hybrid ………………….. compromising ………… distorted ……………….. ambiguous ……………. conventional ………….. accommodating………. redundant ……………… pure clean straightforward articulated designed excluding simple Rather than/ Prefer…to(opposite meaning words)

  15. inconsistent and equivocal messy vitality …………… richness of meaning …… both-and ………………… black, white and grey ….. implicit function ………… direct and clear obvious unity clarity of meaning either-or black and white explicit function Rather than/ Prefer…to(opposite meaning words)

  16. complex ……………… perverse ……………… (แสดงออกอย่างผิดๆ) boring ………………… vestigial ………………. (เหลือทราก) contradictory Impersonal interesting innovating as well as(equal but different meaning words)

  17. Complexity and Contradiction vs. Simplification or Picturesqueness Selective • “Less is More” disregards complexity and justify exclusion for expressive purpose • Permit the architect to be highly selective in determining which problem [he wants] to solve • Resulted in oversimplification Complexity Oversimplification

  18. Ambiguity • Complexity of meaning causes ambiguity and tension • Juxtaposition and duality cause ambiguity • Plural interpretation • Planned incongruity • Elements of paradox and ambiguity

  19. Ambiguity

  20. Contradictory Levels: Both-And in Architecture • Simple outside yet complex inside • Close yet open • Duality yet unity • Allow hierarchy: several level of meanings • Double meanings over double functions

  21. Both-And

  22. The Inside and the Outside • Contrast between the inside and the outside can be a major manifestation of contradiction in architecture • Space in space, things within things • Contradiction between the inside and outside may manifest itself in an unattached lining which produces an additional space between the lining and the exterior wall

  23. Inside and Outside

  24. Inside and Outside (façade)

  25. The Obligation Towards the Difficult Whole • The whole is more than the sum of its parts (Gestalt psychology) • It is the difficult unity through inclusion rather than the easy unity through exclusion • The degree of wholeness can vary • Parts can be more or less whole in themselves

  26. Difficult Whole

  27. Learning From Las Vegas • Analysis of contradictory and messy existing environments • Application of (critical and analytical) theories into architecture

  28. Background • The lost of symbolism in architecture (the use of icons, symbols, or inscriptions on architecture) • Modernists use art or icons (painting or sculpture) not on architecture but near architecture or in space • A design research project for students at Yale

  29. Contents • Study Part: Analysis of the commercial strip of Las Vegas • Implication Part: Generalizing and theorizing into symbolism in architecture

  30. The Commercial Strip

  31. Learning From Las Vegas (Analysis) • Objectively analyze the commercial strips of Las Vegas as a phenomenon of architectural communication (without discussion of values) • Revolutionary for architects • To question how we look at things • Architects always look judgmentally at the environment, dissatisfied with existing conditions and want to change rather than try to enhance what is there • We look back at history to go forward, and look down [at ordinary environment] to go up

  32. Las Vegas

  33. Analysis:Learning From Las Vegas • Analysis of signs, symbols and buildings in relation to their size, distance and speed of movement • Use example of icon (painting, sculpture, or inscription) in historic building to support the use of sign and symbol on commercial building

  34. Analysis

  35. Analysis

  36. Analysis

  37. Analysis

  38. View Inside a Car

  39. Analysis

  40. Implication:Learning From Las Vegas • “Architecture depends (in its perception and creation) on past experience and emotional association” • “These symbolic and representational elements may often be contradictory to the form, structure and program”

  41. “Duck” and “Decorated Shed” • The Duck: systems of space, structure and program are submerged and distorted by an overall symbolic form (the special building that is a symbol) • The Decorated Shed: systems of space and structure follow program, and ornament is applied independently of them (the conventional shelter that applies symbol)

  42. “The Duck” “systems of space, structure and program are submerged and distorted by an overall symbolic form”

  43. “The Decorated Shed” “systems of space and structure follow program, and ornament is applied independently”

  44. Example: Guild HouseandCrawford Manor

  45. Guild House Ugly and ordinary Architecture of meaning Symbolism Symbolic ornament Mixed media Decoration by attaching ornaments Crawford Manner Heroic and original Architecture of expression Abstraction Expressive ornament Pure architecture Unadmitted decoration by articulation of integral elements Comparison

  46. Heroic and Original • Contrast between program and image • The program of Crawford Manor is ordinary but the image is heroic and original • Impoverished itself by rejecting denotative ornament and the rich tradition of iconography in historical architecture while expressing architectural elements themselves

  47. Ugly and Ordinary • Ugly, ordinary and looks it • The windows look familiar; they look like, as well as are, windows • When used slightly unconventionally, they become unfamiliar (like Pop Art)

  48. Guild House