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Photo Credit: Steven Goldblatt. The Vanna Venturi House demonstrates some of the "complexities and contradictions" in modern architecture that Robert Venturi discussed in his seminal book on that topic. The front of the house acts as a billboard for what it is: a house. Its pitched roof was the first sign that this home flouts the rules of modernism. Photo Credit: Venturi and Associates. Widely considered to be the first postmodernist house, the Vanna Venturi house displays nonfunctional, even historical, elements such as this arch motif — clearly breaking another modernist principle. Inside, Venturi played with ideas of scale and symmetry, challenging modernist ideas.
An architecture of complexity and accommodation does not forsake the whole. In fact, I have referred to a special obligation toward the whole because the whole is difficult to achieve. Gestalt psychology considers a perceptual whole the result of, and yet more than, the sum of its parts. The whole is dependent on the position, number, and inherent characteristics of the parts. A complex system in Herbert A. Concerning the positions of the parts, for instance, such an architecture encourages complex and contrapuntal rhythms over simple and single ones. Concerning the number of parts in a whole, the two extremes -a single part and a multiplicity of parts- read as wholes most easily: the single part is itself a unity; and extreme multiplicity reads like a unity through a tendency of the parts to change scale, and to be perceived as an overall pattern or texture.
What urges architects to design the way they do? What are their motivations, their affiliations, their interests? So, for those of you looking to expand your bookshelf or confirm your own tastes , we have gathered a broad list of architectural books that we consider of interest to those in the field. In compiling this list, we sought out titles from different backgrounds with the aim of revealing divergent cultural contexts. From essays to monographs, urban theory to graphic novels, each of the following either engage directly with or flirt on the edges of architecture. The books on this list were chosen by each of our editors, and are categorized loosely by type.
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Postmodern architecture is a style or movement which emerged in the s as a reaction against the austerity, formality, and lack of variety of modern architecture , particularly in the international style advocated by Le Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The movement was introduced by the architect and urban planner Denise Scott Brown and architectural theorist Robert Venturi in their book Learning from Las Vegas. In the late s it divided into a multitude of new tendencies, including high-tech architecture , modern classicism and deconstructivism. Postmodern architecture emerged in the s as a reaction against the perceived shortcomings of modern architecture , particularly its rigid doctrines, its uniformity, its lack of ornament, and its habit of ignoring the history and culture of the cities where it appeared. In , Venturi formalized the movement in his book, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. Venturi summarized the kind of architecture he wanted to see replace modernism:.