Skip navigation

Robert Venturi

Robert Venturi is an award-winning architect and an influential writer, teacher, artist, and designer. His work includes includes the Sainsbury Wing of London’s National Galler; renovation of the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; dozens of major academic projects; and the groundbreaking Vanna Venturi House.

Titles by This Author

A View from the Drafting Room

Robert Venturi's Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture and Learning from Las Vegas (the latter coauthored with Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour) are among the most influential books by any architect of our era—the one celebrating complexity in architecture, the other the uses of symbolism in commercial and vernacular architecture and signage. This new collection of writings in a variety of genres argues for a generic architecture defined by iconography and electronics, an architecture whose elemental qualities become shelter and symbol.

The voice is personal—eloquent in expounding on the unglamorous side of practice; sometimes vituperative and corrective in addressing clients, theoreticians, and critics; often amusing and humorous in looking back on past projects and opportunities; instructive in describing early influences and tastes; and reflective in assessing his own impact on the profession.

The essays include Venturi's 1950 M.F.A. thesis, published here for the first time—a work that foreshadows many of the themes that were later to make him a controversial and ground-breaking architect and writer—and a series of vintage Venturi aphorisms.

The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form

Learning from Las Vegas created a healthy controversy on its appearance in 1972, calling for architects to be more receptive to the tastes and values of "common" people and less immodest in their erections of "heroic," self-aggrandizing monuments.

This revision includes the full texts of Part I of the original, on the Las Vegas strip, and Part II, "Ugly and Ordinary Architecture, or the Decorated Shed," a generalization from the findings of the first part on symbolism in architecture and the iconography of urban sprawl. (The final part of the first edition, on the architectural work of the firm Venturi and Rauch, is not included in the revision.) The new paperback edition has a smaller format, fewer pictures, and a considerably lower price than the original. There are an added preface by Scott Brown and a bibliography of writings by the members of Venturi and Rauch and about the firm's work.