By: Faezeh Ensafi
"Architects can no longer afford to be intimidated by the puritanically moral language of orthodox Modern architecture,"
Robert Venturi’s “Mother’s House” or the “Vanna Venturi House” is one of a few crucial architectural precedent of postmodernism. Robert Venturi had some big ideas about architecture, and he found ways to express several of them in this rather small home. Designed for his elderly mother Vanna, Robert Venturi used the house as a canvas to demonstrate some of the “complexities and contradictions” in modern architecture. Theoretically, Venturi sought more than Modernist ideals. He felt there’s a need for change, or perhaps take away from the past. In this house he exercised his main ideas of what these changes should be. As he believed complexity is key to progress, he neglected the idea of strict geometric order particularly when the architect has to give up on functionality or spatial needs. In this house he practically starts with a simple symmetrical model (both in plans and elevations) then starts to distort the order. He starts from basic geometric shapes, simplicity and order then at the end achieves what he calls ‘complexity’. His ideas revolutionized architecture therefore this project can be analyzed in so many different ways including symmetry, geometry and spatial order.
Two years after the completion of the house, Venturi published Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, a seminal text that provided the intellectual origins for the Postmodern movement and In it, he articulated his aims for a new approach to design.