Dr. Dr. Fernando Fernando de de Toro Toro The Epistemological and Artistic Foundations of
Post-Modern Culture Postmodernity and Architecture Robert Venturi: Complexity and Contradiction Roberto Venturi: Complexity and Contradiction
BREAK THROUGH TO POSTMODERNISM: ROBERT VENTURI COMPLEXITY AND CONTRADICTION (1966) Mies had compressed his reductive architectural theory to One phrase: Less is more. Robert Venturi responded sarcastically: Less is a bore. When Venturi attacked the precept of the Great Simplifier, he was fully conscious that he was plunging into the mainstream of the attack on the dogmas of modern
architecture. Roberto Venturi: Complexity and Contradiction Vincent Scullys remark in his preface to the first edition of Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture that Venturi's 1966 treatise was the most significant piece of writing on architecture since Le Corbusiers Vers
une architecture (1923) has been proved correct by the subsequent developments. Venturi went to the heart of the matter, responding to the vestiges of an architectural theory with a theory of his ownand, indeed, a programmatic one. Roberto Venturi: Complexity and Contradiction Roberto Venturi This was a complete breach of custom; who dared to write
anything theoretical on architecture any more! People were offended. They aggressively displayed their hurts and spread their venomous reactions for years afterward. Young Venturi had overplayed the limits of decorum. He spoke out against the omission of contradictions and pleaded in favour of a greater complexity.
Roberto Venturi: Complexity and Contradiction Roberto Venturi Complexity versus simplification! Venturi began his book with a gentle manifesto which he declared his fundamental tenets. When we re-examine -or discover- this or that aspect of earlier building production today, it is with no idea of repeating its forms, rather in the expectation of feeding
more amply new sensibilities that are wholly the product of the present . Roberto Venturi: Complexity and Contradiction Roberto Venturi My primary concern is to fully render the radical fiction as well.
Roberto Venturi: Complexity and Contradiction Roberto Venturi The paramount criterion of post-modern architecture is no Longer functional aptness alone. Equally important is the rich scope of meaning and the fictional content of the message from which the form of a building derives its directive.
Architects can no longer afford to be intimidated by the puritanically moral language of orthodox Modern architecture. Roberto Venturi: Complexity and Contradiction Roberto Venturi I like elements which are hybrid rather than pure, compromising rather than clean, distorted rather than articulated, perverse as well as impersonal, boring as
well as interesting, conventional rather than designed, accommodating rather than excluding, redundant rather than simple, vestigial as well as innovating, inconsistent and equivocal rather than direct and clear. I am for messy vitality over obvious unity. Roberto Venturi: Complexity and Contradiction Roberto Venturi
I am for richness of meaning rather than clarity of meaning; for the implicit function as well as as the explicit function. I prefer both-and to either-or, black and white, and sometimes gray, to black or 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.
R. Venturi and Short Headquarters of North Penn Visiting Nurses Assoc. Ambler, Philadelphia, 1960-1962 Roberto Venturi: Complexity and Contradiction Roberto Venturis NORTH PENN VISITING NURSES' ASSOCIATION BUILDING His first work to be built, the headquarters of the North
Nurses Association Ambler, Pennsylvania, 1960). Clearly has complexity and contradiction as its theme and its source of fictional content. This building has the character of a demonstration piece meant to illustrate an idea, a narrative theme. Fraught with contradictions, it amounts to a deliberate anti-Mies statement.
Roberto Venturi: Complexity and Contradiction Roberto Venturis NORTH PENN VISITING NURSES' ASSOCIATION BUILDING In spite of its some what too extrinsic design qualities, it has come to be seen as a trailblazing event in the history of contemporary architecture. The specific leading out of functionalism can can be traces to this building.
In accordance with the International style, the building has thin, light walls, which rise form the ground without a base and end in a thin roofline. Roberto Venturi: Complexity and Contradiction Roberto Venturis NORTH PENN VISITING NURSES' ASSOCIATION BUILDING Roberto Venturi Nevertheless, the validity of primary geometric forms
indeed, all ideas of modern rationality and logical conclusiveness - are contradicted by the ambiguous entrance portal, the applied window frames and their relief, the arbitrary oblique indentations of the niches, and the contradictory, precarious order of the facade as a whole. Postmodernity and Architecture
Roberto Venturis NORTH PENN VISITING NURSES' ASSOCIATION BUILDING The commission had called for a simple orthogonal pavilion with a substructure and with a parking area in front, but Venturi refused to supply the customary right-angled structures. He turned the pavilion into a strange irregular structure that juts out on one of its sides with a unusually sharp
corner while its opposite corner opens the outside, forming a wide angle, without any immediately apparent reason for this distortion. Postmodernity and Architecture Roberto Venturis NORTH PENN VISITING NURSES' ASSOCIATION BUILDING Just as complex and contradictory is the treatment of the
deeply recessed upper windows; The large niche has a post in the middle, and the wall in back, in keeping with the interior spatial organization, is pushed off center from the indicated shared axis. The ground-floor windows are set in the outer wall surface in blue mouldings resembling large picture frames. Postmodernity and Architecture
Roberto Venturis NORTH PENN VISITING NURSES' ASSOCIATION BUILDING They present an entirely different form from that characterizing the large windows, and they introduced to the facade a historicizing individual detail - the carefully defined profile of the frame, with its double outline - in a most surprising manner.
R. Venturi and J. Rauch House for Vana Venturi Philadelphia, 1960-1962 Postmodernity and Architecture Roberto Venturis House for Vana Venturi With the house of his mother, built between 1960 and 1962,
during his new theoretical reappraisal of architecture, Venturi created the building that realizes and demonstrates most effectively the postulate of complexity and contradiction. At the same time, historical references were shown to be acceptable. Postmodernity and Architecture Roberto Venturis House for Vana Venturi
Modern architects had not seen any value in building houses with saddle roofs and painted gables, nor had they approved of placing arched portals (or even slight insinuations thereof) over entrances. And it was inconceivable to paint the house green. Venturis violations of these formal conventions were in themselves provocations against the very idea of modernity, but in addition there were apparent incongruities that
disfigured the whole structure in the name of complexity. Postmodernity and Architecture Roberto Venturis House for Vana Venturi The most conspicuous feature of the house, the gable, is split by a deep cleavage. At the same time, a skylight straddles the saddle roof's ridge to form a penthouse whose front wall coalesces
with the chimney. At the back (House for Vanna Venturi the penthouse roof turns into a hip roof, under whose gable a Palladian transom window is flattened. Postmodernity and Architecture Roberto Venturis House for Vana Venturi
Finally, the whole facade is Completely disrupted and turned into a balustrade of a projecting balcony. Mutations and conflations wherever one turns ones eyes. Postmodernity and Architecture Roberto Venturis House for Vana Venturi For the firm of Venturi, Rauch, and Scott Brown, one particular aspect gradually emerged with increasing
clarity in the 1960s: the realization of architecture as a "vehicle of signs." Venturi thus turned to a possibility which the Pot Art aesthetic had also drawn upon: the recognition of the trivial and the everyday as a basis of formal development. Postmodernity and Architecture Roberto Venturis House for Vana Venturi
According to Venturi, the anonymization of architecture and its mute aggressiveness - consequences of the faith in the grandeur of pure boxes and crates - lead inevitably to the dehumanization of building, and the self-centeredness of architecture is responsible for this to a large extent. Venturi's argument that architecture must refer to something beyond itself and represent contents other than those of architectonic was first serious rule, on which
the development of the Modern Movement was based. Postmodernity and Architecture Roberto Venturis House for Vana Venturi Through his buildings and through his theory, Venturi clearly showed that the demands addressed to the architect go far beyond the assumptions on which the conventions of Modernism were base.
If one takes Venturi's injunctions seriously, then the architects crossing over into painting and into advertising graphics is a basic precondition of architecture. In Venturi's view, the decoration of the shed is at the least as important as the shed itself. Postmodernity and Architecture Roberto Venturis House for Vana Venturi
In addition to the considerations about what as traditionally conceived had to look like, the equally challenging question of the facade's design came to the foreground. The architect could as little remain a "pure" architect as architecture could remain "pure" architecture. This insight aroused sharp opposition not only because it went beyond the traditional concept of architecture but also because it required a skill that architects had gotten
along very well without: to be able to speak in metaphors as well as in abstract geometry. Fictionalization of Post-Modern Arcitecture Fictionalization and History: Cesar Pelli, Arata Isozaki, Kohn Pedersen
Fictionalization and History: Cesar Pelli, Arata Isozaki, Kohn Pedersen The universalization that dominates urban centers in twentieth century marks the end on an era: local and pure cultural identities as the evocation of difference and the juxtaposition of cultures now gives way to a
dispersed heterogeneity. Borders, fragments, cultures, and hybrids interpenetrate and redefine the urban space everywhere. However, as Henri Lefebvre points out in his analysis of social space, this is not a simple juxtaposition that leads to the disappearance of the local space: the
worldwide does not abolish the local. Fictionalization and History: Cesar Pelli, Arata Isozaki, Kohn Pedersen The combinations, superpositions, and even collisions in question do not lead t the absorption of the local, but to
the creation of innumerable places within urban space, resulting in a hypercomplexity that is crisscrossed by a myriad of currents. The analysis of urban space thus becomes further complicated as a result of such interpenetrations and superpositions that subject each fragment to a host of
social relationships. A much-publicized building complex is already acknowledge as a signifier of end-of-the-century architecture. Fictionalization and History: Cesar Pelli, Arata Isozaki, Kohn Pedersen Cesar Pelli
Fictionalization and History: Cesar Pelli, Arata Isozaki, Kohn Pedersen Cesar Pelli The Petronas Twin Towers in Kaula Lumpur, Malaysia (1997), present a curious and extreme case study and help to reveal the multiplicity of forces that lead to a
hyper-complexity, with the local and the universal interpretating in a most visible (if reductive) formula. The eighty-eight-story towers have been hailed as the worlds tallest skyscrapers. Cesar Pelli Petronas Twin Towers
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 1997 Canada Trust Toronto, Canada 1995 Fictionalization and History: Cesar Pelli, Arata Isozaki,
Kohn Pedersen Fernando de Toro The Towers have two Malaysian sources - one Buddhist, the other Islamic - and these inspired the design. The tapered and faceted outline of the towers was
derived from Kek Lok Si, the countrys (and Southeast Asias) largest Buddhist temple, hence a most obvious local monument. Fictionalization and History: CesarArata Pelli,Isozaki,
Arata Fictionalization and History: Cesar Pelli, Kohn Pedersen Isozaki, Helmut Jahn, Kohn Pedersen Pelli also equated Malaysian with what he called
Islamic geometric tradition, thus lumping the entire world of Islam and its long history into the prosaic formula that geometric patterns are much more important in Islamic countries than in the West and that they are perceived and appreciated by everyone in their society. A flavour of Chinese culture was interjected by the steel
skybridge inspired by Chinese philosopher Lao Tse, who, Pelli claims, taught us that the reality of a hollow object is in the void and not in the walls that define it. China Modern and Post-Modern and Globalized
Chinese Architecture Shanghai China 1920s Shanghai China
1920s Peking China 2000s Peking, China, 2000s
Peking, China, Dinasty Peking China 2000s Peking, China, 2000s
Shanghai China 2000s Shanghai China 2000s
Shanghai China 2000s Shanghai China 2000s
Shanghai China 2000s Mexico Post-Modern /Globalized Mexican Architecture
Ficcionalization of Post-Modern Architecture Charles Jencks: Double Codification Ficcionalization of Post-Modern Architecture Double Coding I term Post-Modernism that paradoxical dualism, or double
coding, which is hybrid name entails: the continuation of Modernism and its transcendence, Hassans 'postmodern' is, according to this logic, mostly Late-Modern, the continuation of Modernism in its ultra or exaggerated form. To this day I would define Post-Modernism as I did in 1978 as double coding: the combination of Modern techniques with something else (usually traditional building) in order for architecture to communicate with the public and a
concerned minority, usually other architects. Ficcionalization of Post-Modern Architecture Double Coding The point of this double coding was itself double. Modern architecture had failed to remain credible partly because it didn't communicate effectively with its ultimate users (...) and partly because it didn't make effective links with the
city and history. 14 Thus Eco underlines the lover's use of Post-Modern double coding and extends it, of course, to the novelist's and poet's social use of previous forms Ficcionalization of Post-Modern Architecture Double Coding First, because these Post-Modernists have had a Modern
training, they are inevitably concerned with abstraction and the basic reality of modern life, that is, a secular massculture dominated by economic and pragmatic motives. This gives their work the same complexity, mannerism and double coding present in Post-Modern architecture, and also an eclectic or hybrid style. Charles Jencks: Double Codification Micheal Graves
With his first realized public building, the Public Service Building in Portland, Oregon, Graves carried on the exploration of Art Deco that he had begun with the houses he designed earlier. Indeed, the Public Service Buildings whole typology a black granite substructure with a light-colored block superimpose on it - stems from the Art Deco of the 1930s; only the detailing of the facade departs from
that tradition. (Gaudi) Michael Graves Model of Public Building 1975 Charles Jencks: Double Codification
Micheal Graves The seven-story-high cross-barred window is a supermotif that penetrates the facade and opens up the center of the block. The two stocky pilasters and the giant keystone are alienated quotations from the vocabulary of New Yorks Art Deco skyscrapers. As Charles Jencks noted, this was certainly one of the first
postmodern public buildings. Postmodernity and Architecture Paolo Potoghesi: La Strada Novissima Postmodernity and Architecture
Paolo Portoghesi and The Presence of the Past In July 1980 the Venice Biennale inaugurate its first international architecture show entitled The Presence of the Past. Thanks to the spectacular Strada Novissima realized expressly for that occasion, the exhibition has become almost the symbol of Postmodernism. With the title of the exhibition The Presence of the Past, we hope to take hold of a phenomenon which has its symptoms in the fifties, in the courageous turn of direction in the research of the masters of
modern architecture, but has carried on, with a slow and arduous rhythm, transformed only in the past few years into a radical and definite effort. Hans Hollein Faade Strada Novissima Corderie of the Arsenal, Venice, 1980
Postmodernity and Architecture Paolo Portoghesi and The Presence of the Past The Ideology of modern architecture thought it had rid itself of this whole of languages, human institutions, and conventions with a stroke of the eraser, proclaiming its obsolescence in the new times. But it had actually continued to live in the memory of man, renewing itself constantly since it was fed by the presence of the past, by
messages that continue to originate from that set of tangible things called historical heritage as a whole, and from a new viewpoint produced by the contents of the human condition. The return of architecture to the womb of history and its recycling in new syntactic contexts of traditional forms is one of the systems that has produced a profound difference in a series of works and Joseph Paul Kleinhues
Faade Strada Novissima Corderie of the Arsenal, Venice, 1980 Postmodernity and Architecture Paolo Portoghesi and The Presence of the Past projects in the past few years understood by some critics in the ambiguous but efficacious category of Postmodern.
The reproposed presence of the past is neither simply ironic, nor, least of all, purely unncessary and consumerist. It contains a great deal of truth because it realizes its impotence in elaborating a real psychological conflict. The past whose presence we claim is not a golden age to be recuperated. It is not Greece as the childhood of the world which Marx talked about, ascertaining the universality, duration and exemplariness of certain aspects of European tradition, The past with its presence, that can today contribute to making us children of our
Robert Venturi Faade Strada Novissima Corderie of the Arsenal, Venice, 1980 Postmodernity and Architecture
Paolo Portoghesi and The Presence of the Past time, is the past of the world. In our field, it is the whole system of architecture with its finite but inexhaustible sum of experiences connected or reconnectable by a society which has refused a monocentric culture, a main tradition with no competition. The architects interests in history and in the recycling of forms and traditional compositional systems should also be seen in relation to
this self-interrogation, to this census of still valid or confirmable conventions, to the restitution of the role of subject to the community of its users, after the long parenthesis of the claim of this role only by the technicians of form, made legitimate by the theory of the Modern Movement. Postmodernity and Architecture
Paolo Portoghesi and The Presence of the Past The end of prohibition and the recycling of traditional forms marks the definite separation in architecture from the near past, from the inextricable mixture of Illuminism and Romanticism making up the modern tradition Postmodernity and Architecture
Paolo Portoghesi and The Presence of the Past The Modern Movement originated as a great pluralistic program attempting to reify the spirit of the time, the Zeitgeist, catching it in its initial stages in the different cultural realities of the European and American horizons. After thirty years of free experimentation, (Art Nouveau, Protorationalism, Expressionism, the modern classicism of Behrens, the creative eclcecticism of Sullivan and Wright) the Modern Movement, beginning in the twenties, tended to translate into a set of
constraning rules, into a real orthodoxy, three fundamental dogmas: the functionalism analysis as a starting point for architectural research; the annihilation of the traditional grammar of architecture with all its differences corresponding to places and civilizations; the Views of Strada Novissima Corderie of the
Arsenal, Venice, 1980 Postmodernity and Architecture Paolo Portoghesi and The Presence of the Past identification between architectural progress and the use of new technologies understood as potential generators of language.
Historical documents demonstrate that at least since the twenties, the Modern Movement has imposed on the entire world an unprecedented levelling of the linguistic means of architecture, imposing the destrcution of archetypes upon which its system of communication was based, along with the annihilation of its local codes which explained, in the differences in cultures, the differences among men and their collective identity.
Postmodernity and Architecture Paolo Portoghesi and The Presence of the Past The Strada Novissima with its twenty faades presents all the possible degrees of the process of reappropriation of memory and the victory over inhibitions inherited from rebel fathers. In order to focus on the intensity of the relationship with historical memory, it is necessary to show parallel and opposite movements from which the meaning and the value of the relationship arise. These
two movements are similar to those of an oscillating pendulum; one turned toward the past, the other toward the removal of the past, and therefore to its actualization. The instruments used to realize the first movement are the direct quotation, the abstraction of the model, the individualization of an archetype to be evoked. The instruments Postmodernity and Architecture
Paolo Portoghesi and The Presence of the Past used for the second movement are simplification, caricatural deformation, the inversion from a positive to a negative form, metaphoric irony, and plastic reinterpretation. Charles Moore and Robert Stern Views of Strada Novissima Corderie of the Arsenal, Venice, 1980
Postmodernity and Architecture Paolo Portoghesi and The Presence of the Past This program is the hope of giving a lost concreteness back to art, a materialistic and symbolic base through the reemergence of archetypes. Architecture carries the concept of (arkh) inseparably) inseparably immersed in the word designating it. In Greek mythology the Muses\ were born from Mnemosyne, to mean that there is no art except that
originating from memory, and in some way a repetition. Charles Moore and Robert Stern Views of Strada Novissima Corderie of the Arsenal, Venice, 1980 Christian de Portzampare
Faade Strada Novissima Corderie of the Arsenal, Venice, 1980 Postmodernity and Architecture Paolo Portoghesi and The Presence of the Past
Leaving critical consciousness aside, some worry if this indiscriminating use of the historical memory is in itself a backward attitude, and therefore one which intentionally denies progress. How can this retrospective attitude escape the risk of relating to and being resonant with reactionary and regressive political attitudes? The answer is simple. Reintegrating historical forms into the repertoire of present architecture, comparing this patrimony to the positive heredity of the Modern Movement, and making these two aspects of the past interact is anything but a traditionalist choice. It is related
less than ever to regressive political attitudes. As always in history, the new tendencies have aimed at the objective of differentiating Postmodernity and Architecture Paolo Portoghesi and The Presence of the Past themselves from what came before, from the attitude of their fathers and older brothers.
Totalitarism, the principal feature of 2oth century architecture is not only the result of socio-political systems. Blind faith in progress, the mythology of science and technology, the huge numbers involved in the increasing population, pluralism confused with chaos, all this has created the belief than man himself does not know how he must dwell and live. And that in its place it is up to architecture to know. Postmodernity and Architecture
Paolo Portoghesi and The Presence of the Past The greatest error of architecture, born from the spirit of the Charter of Athens (1943, Le Corbusier), is the rupture in the continuity of culture. It must not be forgotten that the destruction of the Traditional town was done in the name of sublime ideals: the right of man to a brilliant life, to sun, to contact with nature.
Postmodernity and Architecture Paolo Portoghesi and The Presence of the Past The heritage of the past has been put into a kind of museum. The architecture of our century opposes ideology to life, projects to reality. Instead of making our profession a task more and more complicated and further removed from reality, an architectural continuity must be recovered which searches for
new fundamental architectural ideas such as style, method and dogma.
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