Mother’s House


DESPITE THE CONTINUING CONTROVERSY that Venturi’s work and message still arouse, the architect has inspired a whole new generation of enthusiasts to follow him in his return to historicism and eclecticism. Postmodernists have copied his juxtaposition of scale, layering of space, use of colors, and borrowing of the symbolism of architecture’s past. His contemporaries, however, have often missed the central issue that drove Venturi to his first shout of “Eureka!” While he works toward “the difficult unity of inclusion,” other architects make complexity and contradiction an end unto themselves, using disparate elements not to establish a unity but simply to provoke and shock.

To Robert Venturi history seems to have come full circle. Not only is less a bore, but more is a bore too. Rising beyond mere theoretical concerns, he insists that the architect be alert above all to the requirements of context and listen to the stories that facades can tell.