New York

“Buildings for Best Products” and "Siteten

MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

It is much easier to get away with being outrageous in art than in architecture—when the imagination not the body is responsible for coping with the results. Outrageous buildings are, for the most part, hard to take in the flesh. They intrude upon—in fact control—our physical space, so their power to offend, their ability to disappoint, is greatly heightened.

Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown’s brilliant analysis of Las Vegas, and Venturi’s earlier, even more brilliant explication of “complexity and contradiction” in architecture have, I suspect, damaged the practice of architecture as much as they have contributed to its theory. At a time when the Bauhausian glass box was entering its third or fourth generation of imitations, Venturi and Brown exposed the purist, elitist, antisocial aspects of modern architecture and argued persuasively for a change. Now that the change has happened

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