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50 Years of Venturi’s ‘Complexity’

Praise of Continuity


The ideological effervescence of the 1960s and 1970s, which meant to give the coup de grâce to modernity, had its most enduring text in Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, published by MoMA half a century ago and written by Robert Venturi, then a young architect about to team up with Denise Scott Brown. It presented an updated, intelligent, inclusive, ironic eclecticism where the history of architecture came across more as a process of continuity than of rupture. The influence of the book – which Vincent Scully considered “the most important since Vers une architecture – has been constant, and this persistence is perhaps the best tribute that could possibly be made on the occasion of its fiftieth year.

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