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AR Reading List 015: Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown

The latest instalment of our new series of AR Reading Lists: seven carefully chosen pieces from our archive, free for registered users

Had he still strolled this earth, yesterday would have been Robert Venturi’s 95th birthday. Along with his partner in work, life, and longtime collaborator Denise Scott Brown, Venturi is remembered as the progenitor of Postmodernism in architecture – even though, as Martino Stierli pointed out in 2016, he consistently insisted on being a Modernist. 

Venturi and Scott Brown aimed to dismantle the heroic and bring an audience to the everyday, with generations of young architects and critics wading through Complexity and Contradiction, ‘just as generations have tried to like the house Venturi created for his mother to illustrate it’, as Paul Davies put it when writing the pair’s Reputations in 2014. Postmodernism may have fallen far from fashion, with ‘low’ culture now of little interest, but the lessons learned of expression, of sign, icon and reference, live on.  

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