Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture by Robert Venturi

By Robert Venturi

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Extra info for Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture

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Present-day architects, in their visionary compulsion to invent new techniques, have neglected their obligation to be experts in existing conventions. The architect, of course, is responsible for the how as well as the what in his building, but his innovating role is primarily in the what; his experimentation is limited more to his organization of the whole than to technique in the parts. The architect selects as much as creates. These are pragmatic reasons for using convention in architecture, but there are expressive justifications as well.

Gaudi. Church of the Sagrada Farnilia, Barcelona. Section 52. St. Urban. Troyes 51. Palladia. I I Redentore. Venice Gothic basilica (52). In contrast to the segregated flying buttress, the Roman countervault spans as well as buttresses, and Gaudi's subtle invention of the tilted pierbuttress supports the weight of the vault as well as buttresses the thrust in one continuous form. Palladio's buttresses are also broken pediments on the fagade. A flying buttress at S. Chiara in Assisi forms a portal for the piazza as well as a support for the building.

Similarly, in the interior ( 82 ) Wright hides the stairs between walls (as he does in virtually all his houses), while Le Corbusier glories in the expressed diagonals of the ramp and the continuous diagonal of the spiral stair (5, 83). We have already seen how Le Corbusier accommodates architecture intimately to the exceptional needs of the automobile in the Villa Savoye (84). But Wright's order allows no inconsistencies: the bridge is perpendicular and analogous to the order of the house and the curving path of the automobile is not recognized.

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