Issue 197, June 1978

©L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui
©L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui

This article by Jean-Philippe Hugron is an extract from the AA Nr 425 issue, dedicated to Belgian architecture, published in June, 2018.

Damn it! Venturi is sucking up all the attention. Recognition of wife and associate Denise Scott Brown is sorrowfully slow; she still can’t claim a Pritzker, awarded to her husband in 1991. Damn it! The cover of issue 197 of L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui (June 1978) unearths another victim: John Rauch. Who remembers him? Even though his name was in bold, big and bold: Venturi & Rauch. Associates from 1964 to 1989. Twenty-five years in the shadow of Robert and not even a Wikipedia page to his name. Brief research tracks him down; he abandoned architecture, took painting lessons, and since then has spent his days daubing… damn it.
Damn it! Discovering on the front cover of the magazine that drawing where obese columns support a pediment on steroids. Damn it! What Jean-Louis Sarbib, author of the monograph, reveals in the provocations of the Venturi-Scott Brown couple faced with the values of contemporary society. Still damn it… but with a spark of humour.
“Can it be anything else when we take forms from archaeology even without being dismal?” noted Robert Venturi. “Our current definition is this one: architecture is shelter with symbols on it, shelter with decoration on it. For many architects this may be a shocking definition because definitions in the last seventy-five years have been put in spatial, technological, organic, or linguistic terms. Definitions of Modern architecture never included ornament (or decoration), nor did they explicitly refer to shelter,” he wrote. Forty years later the forms have certainly changed but the line is the same. PoMo they were, PoMo we are. Damn it!

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