ISBN 9780262220514,Iconography & Electronics Upon a Generic Architecture - A View from the Drafting Room

Iconography & Electronics Upon a Generic Architecture - A View from the Drafting Room


Mit Press



Mit Press

Publication Year 1996

ISBN 9780262220514

ISBN-10 0262220512


Number of Pages 390 Pages
Language (English)

Medical genetics

"...the most thought-provoking architecture book of the year." -- Martin Filler, The New York Times Book Review
Robert Venturi's Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture and Learning from Las Vegas (the latter coauthored with Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour) are among the most influential books by any architect of our era -- the one celebrating complexity in architecture, the other the uses of symbolism in commercial and vernacular architecture and signage. This new collection of writings in a variety of genres argues for a generic architecture defined by iconography and electronics, an architecture whose elemental qualities become shelter and symbol. Venturi, who along with his partner, Denise Scott Brown, made the vulgar acceptable and found virtue in the commercial, the kitsch, and the ordinary, is respected equally as a theorist and an architect who communicates his architectural ideas, formal and verbal, with grace and wit. These essays, letters, reports, lectures, manifestoes, and polemical texts offer a candid, uncensored view from the drafting room -- commonsense responses, urgent and diverse, of a busy architect, in part a reaction against the conceptualizing of architecture today invaded by other disciplines and made obscure. Seven of the essays were coauthored with Denise Scott Brown. The voice is personal -- eloquent in expounding on the unglamorous side of practice; sometimes vituperative and corrective in addressing clients, theoreticians, and critics; often amusing and humorous in looking back on past projects and opportunities; instructive in describing early influences and tastes; and reflective in assessing his own impact on the profession. The lead essays can be described as an argument embracing reference and representation in our information age, whose technical basis is truly of our time and whose iconographic basis derives from a long tradition in architecture including hieroglyphic Egyptian pylons, early Christian basilicas, scenographic Baroque interiors, and even eclectic Romantic architecture and twentieth-century electronic signs and displays. The essays include Venturi's 1950 M.F.A. thesis, published here for the first time -- a work that foreshadows many of the themes that were later to make him a controversial and ground breaking architect and writer -- and a series of vintage Venturi aphorisms.