001014a Acropolis Q base model in progress
Jimmy Venturi's new website...
Is changing history the same as making history? I'd say the work of VSBA made history by their introduction of directions of architecture theory and practice other than the (then) status quo. Changing history is different and occurs in at least two different ways. History is changed when events are recorded and taught as history but are not really reflective of what actually happened, like the 'perversion' that Venturi feels happened to his theory, and, inversely, history is changed when a discovery occurs that nullifies established certainties, like the discovery of there actually being two renditions of Piranesi's Ichnographia Campus Martius.
Jimmy Venturi's new website...
Venturi and Rauch's 1978 BASCO Showroom (the big alphabet sign) was a true decorated shed design. The shed existed long before 1978; it was NORMANDY SQUARE MART, a precursor "big box" discount market. Normandy went out of business and within a couple of years BASCO bought the property. Venturi and Rauch simply painted the entire existing huge shed a dark blue and added a free-standing sign in huge letters spelling BASCO across the front facing the Roosevelt (12 green lanes of traffic) Boulevard (and across the boulevard from the local NABISCO plant whose big alphabet sign across the top of the plant's ten story production tower was already long a "landmark" on the boulevard). By 1998, BASCO then (adapted to) BEST was sitting derelict for almost a decade, and suddenly by that autumn the sign was gone. I wound up being the one to tell VSBA, and Venturi sent me nice but sad thank you letter.
The interesting thing here is that with the removal of the sign also came the removal of the architecture. The shed is still there and now a self-storage facility with even the once enormous parking-lot full of a dozen or so rows of more self-storage sheds. The predominate color now is a cheap looking turquoise. I don't like driving by the place anymore because it makes me hate the fact that quondam architecture actually exists.
"In Modern architecture we have operated too long under the restrictions of unbending rectangular forms supposed to have grown out of the technical requirements of the frame and the mass-produced curtain wall. In contrasting Mies' and Johnson's Seagram Building with Kahn's project for an office tower in Philadelphia it can be seen that Mies and Johnson reject all contradictions of diagonal wind-bracing in favor of an expression of a rectilinear frame. Kahn once said that the Seagram Building was like a beautiful lady with hidden corsets. Kahn, in contrast, expresses the wind-bracing--but at an expense of such vertical elements as the elevator and, indeed of the spaces for people."
--Robert Venturi, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (New York, MoMA, 1966), p. 56.
"Yet in City Tower, Kahn no more succeeded in making strides in architectural structure than he had in the Art Gallery at Yale. He erroneously discussed the project in tectonics terms, justifying City Tower's form by arguing that it best expressed buttressing against wind stresses: "The mind envisions a construction of a building growing from a base crossing its members as it rises against the forces of the wind." Yet neither Tyng nor Kahn checked their wind-stress argument with a structural engineer, who would have told them that because of the forces of gravity, a tower rising in a more-or-less straight vertical is dramatically more efficient."
--Sarah Williams Goldhagen, Louis Kahn's Situated Modernism (New Haven, Yale University Press, 2001), p. 78.
"Yes, architects sometimes used to make stuff up just to justify (the shape) their designs."
"What do you mean 'used to'?"
Learning from Las Vegas (ad infinitum): An Interview With Charlie Kaufman
"If you extrapolate [the] current situation and current trends and the way architecture is evolving, it's maybe slightly too strong to say that ultimately everything will be embedded in a casino."
--Rem Koolhaas on The Charlie Rose Show March 25, 2002 42 minutes into the show.
13101401 Pantheon Trenton Jewish Community Center Bathhouse Kimbell Art Museum plans