Venturi house vs the Villa Mairea

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Venturi house vs the Villa Mairea

Comparing the Venturi house vs. the Villa Mairea’s relationship to Orthodox Modernism, both Aalto and Venturi rejected the perceived sterility of Orthodox Modern buildings. This rejection led to the development of Post-Modernism in architecture. Both of these architects believed that Orthodox Modernist ultimately produced designs consisting of glass or white boxes and a desensitization for the human scale and form.

The idea of Modernism, that form follows function, is defied by Venturi. He asserts that the form should be separate from both the function and the structural facts. He felt that decorative and symbolic forms should both play a part in the structural core of a building.

Venturi built a home for his mother Vanna Venturi in 1963. The Venturi home is located in Chestnut Hill, PA. Venturi based the plan on a symbolic conception instead of on spatial abstraction, which he considered to be an aspect of Orthodox Modernism1. This design for his mother had a sloped roof, with the chimney becoming the center of the house. It rises up out of the roof and seems to split the house in two. It has a deliberate deadpan character. But this apparent blandness, hides the many internal complexities and contradictions of the home. This is a house that uses big and small, inside and out to counterbalance the complexity2. Complexity in combination with big scale in a small buildings achieves an appropriate architectural tension. The...

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