Robert Venturi, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture

"I am for richness of meaning rather than clarity of meaning; for the implicit function as well as the explicit function. I prefer 'both-and' to 'either-or', or black and white, and sometimes gray, to black and white. 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.
But an architecture of complexity and contradiction has a special obligation toward the whole: its truth must be in its totality or its implications of totality. It must embody the difficult unity of inclusion rather than the easy unity of exclusion. More is not less." (I)

"Forced simplicity results in oversimplification. In the Wiley house, P Johnson attempted to go beyond the simplicities of the elegant pavilion. He explicitly separated and articulated the enclosed 'private functions' of living on a ground floor pedestral, thus separating them from the open social function in the modular pavilion above. But even here the building becomes a diagram of an oversimplified program for living-an abstract theory of either-or. Where simplicity cannot work, simpleness results. Blatant simplification means bland architecture. Less is a bore" (II)

"The recognition for complexity in architecture does not negate what Louis Kahn has called 'the desire for simplicity'. But aesthetic simplicity which is a satisfaction to the mind derives, when valid and profound, from inner complexity."(II)

"Nor does complexity deny the valid simplification which is part of the process of analysis, and even a method of achieving complex architecture itself. "We oversimplify a given event when we characterize it from the standpoint of a given interest." (Kenneth Burke, Permanence and change) But this kind of simplification is a method in the analytical process of achieving a complex art. It should not be mistaken for a goal." (II)
"Analysis includes the breaking up of of architecture into elements [...] even though it is the opposite of integration which is the final goal of art." (preface)

No comments: