The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2002, 1977 (revised edition); originally published 1966, English
Nonfiction, Architecture
11 x 8.5 inches, paperback, 136 pages, 35 illustrations
ISBN: 9780870702822
Suggested Retail Price: $19.95

This award-winning “gentle manifesto” for a “non-straightforward architecture,” argues against the purist forms and tenets of orthodox modernism, and for an embrace of multiple and conflicting ideas that produce a more vital approach to built design. Using examples ranging from Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures to designs by Edwin Lutyens, Alvar Aalto, vernacular sources, and Venturi’s own work, the book, which has been translated into 18 languages since it was first published, makes a case for “the difficult whole.”

On 16 book lists
Alberto Alessi

A text that influenced a generation of architects and designers, opening the door to a deeper consciousness of our profession.

R. Craig Miller

Fifty years after Le Corbusier wrote Towards a New Architecture, Venturi likewise turned the design field on its head, arguing that modernism and modern were not synonymous. He offered a new, more encompassing vision of modern design that would bestir the field for almost a half century.

Cesar Pelli

Lucid and vigorous critique of modern architecture at the right time.

David Piscuskas

From an architect’s point of view this book opened so many vistas, liberating designers to think about architecture in a new way. A noted contemporary once said Robert Venturi makes great plans. It is ironic that one of the great strengths of this postmodern thinker is his modernist way of approaching design by starting with a plan.

Witold Rybczynski

Venturi, who knows a lot of architectural history and has an extremely good eye, brings the past to life. His lucid book predates the descent into obfuscatory jargon that bedevils most theoretical texts. Still a stimulating read, even if the movement it helped to launch—postmodernism—fizzled out.

Jorge Silvetti

A book that confirmed and outlined brilliantly what I was beginning to suspect and intuit about architecture.

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