Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture by Robert Venturi

By Robert Venturi

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The typical office skyscrapers of the '20's differentiate, rather than camouflage, their mechanical equipment space at the top through architecturally ornamental forms. While Lever House includes differently-functioning spaces at the bottom, it exaggeratedly separates them by a spatial shadow joint. S. (41), gives positive expression to the variety and complexity of its program. It integrates a shop on the first floor and a big bank on the second with offices above and special rooms at the top.

96. Jefferson Unlvers~tyof V ~ r g i n ~ Charlottesv~lle a, 97. Granada Cathedral 99. Vanbrugh. Eastbury, Dorset. Elevation P 100 Johns. Three Flags 1958 98. Foligno Cathedral 101. Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Jerusalem. Plan I 102. Peabody and Stearns. Black House (Kragsyde), Manchester-by-the-Sea. Mass. 103. Empire-style Chalr. Palazzo Reale. Caserta 104 Adler and Sulllvan A u d ~ t o r l u mB u l l d ~ n g ,Chtcago 105. Anonymous Italian architecture Juxtaposed directions create rhythmic complexities and contradictions.

A room can have many functions at the same time or at different times. Kahn prefers the gallery because it is directional and nondirectional, a corridor and room at once. And he recognizes the changing complexities of specific functions by differentiating rooms in a general way through a hierarchy of size and quality, calling them servant and major spaces, directional and nondirectional spaces, and other designations more generic than specific. As in his project for the Trenton Community Center, these spaces end by paralleling in a more complex way the pre-eighteenth century configurations of rooms en suite.

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