Out of the Ordinary: Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Associates-Architecture, Urbanism, Design

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This engaging book presents the first critical retrospective look at the extraordinary architectural achievement of Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and their firm. Known for such prominent buildings as the Sainsbury Wing at the National Gallery in London and the Seattle Art Museum as well as such major urban revitalization plans as Washington Avenue in Miami and South Street in Philadelphia, Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates changed the face of architectural history.

This husband and wife team rejected the universality of modernist design for a particularized contextual and associational approach to building, lauding the "complexity and contradictions" in the historic cityscape and "learning from Las Vegas" the value and vitality of the everyday environment.

The book, which combines both biography and critical analysis, includes essays on the firm's early and later architectural works and on their lesser-known decorative arts. It also features handsome color plates of the firm's buildings, architectural drawings, and furniture and other decorative arts, as well as a checklist of all their buildings and projects.

The catalogue accompanies a major exhibition that opens at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in June of 2001 and then travels to the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla, California; and the Heinz Architectural Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This is the catalog for an exhibition originating at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and traveling to the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla, CA, and the Heinz Architectural Center in Pittsburgh. Brownlee (art history, Univ. of Pennsylvania), David De Long (architecture, Univ. of Pennsylvania), and Kathryn B. Hiesinger (curator of European decorative arts, Philadelphia Museum of Arts) discuss the the accomplishments of Venturi, Scott Brown, & Associates (originally Venturi, Rauch, and Scott Brown), as well as relevant decorative arts, along with drawings and color plates. Two of the most valuable sections are the chronology and the project list, which includes 400 projects designed by "Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and their associates" (sorry, Rauch) between 1957 and 2000. Unfortunately, as is typical of many exhibition catalogs, the text is too big and the pictures are too small. In addition, the book is extravagant in tone, claiming, for instance, that the Trubek and Wislocki Houses are "two of the most distinctive buildings of the twentieth century." However, because it documents a major architectural firm, this book must be recommended for all architectural collections. Two books by Stanislaus Von Moos Venturi, Rauch, and Scott Brown: Buildings and Projects (o.p.) and Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates: Buildings and Projects, 1986-1998 (LJ 2/15/00) provide better pictures and a less indulgent text. Jay Schafer, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300089950
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2001
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 12.05 (h) x 1.15 (d)

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