not an easy book

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The varying configurations of the wings and windows, roofs and ornaments of the orphanage of the Buon Pastore near Rome are an orgy of inflections of enormous scope similar to the scale of Blenheim. This neo-Baroque complex by Armando Brazini, (bizarre in 1940 and admittedly questionable for an asylum for little girls) astonishingly composes a multitude of diverse parts into a difficult whole. At all levels of scale it is an example of inflections within inflections successively directed toward different centers-toward the short facade in the front, or the anticlimactically small dome near the center of the complex, with its unusually big cupola. When you stand close enough to see a smaller element of inflection, you sometimes need to turn almost 180 degrees to see its counterpart at a great distance. An element of suspense is introduced when you move around the enormous building. You are aware of elements related by inflection to elements already seen or not yet seen, like the unraveling of a symphony. As a fragment in plan and elevation, the asymmetrical composition of each wing is wrought with tensions and implications concerning the symmetrical whole.
Robert Venturi, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966), pp.93-4.




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