Robert Venturi Print Collection

written by:
February 2, 2011

Ever since reading Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown's seminal text Learning from Las Vegas as an undergraduate architecture student, I've developed a deep love of the dynamism of streetscapes and, of course, the decorated shed, epitomized by Long Island's Big Duck. One of the highlights of attending Las Vegas Market late January was visiting the special exhibitions installed for the show. Among them were selections from the Robert Venturi Print Collection, on loan from the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. Here are a few of my favorites.

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  The opening sign announcing the exhibit within.
    The opening sign announcing the exhibit within.
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  Venturi's sketch of the Vanna Venturi House in Philadelphia, which he designed for his mother and completed in 1962.
    Venturi's sketch of the Vanna Venturi House in Philadelphia, which he designed for his mother and completed in 1962.
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  Each image in the show was pressed with these two seals.
    Each image in the show was pressed with these two seals.
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  In Learning from Las Vegas, Venturi and Scott Brown study the moving landscapes of Las Vegas and the larger-than-life scale needed to attract the attention of an individual traveling at 35 miles per hour in a vehicle. Here, using the golden arches rather than the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign, Venturi depicts the "Typical American Highway Scene."
    In Learning from Las Vegas, Venturi and Scott Brown study the moving landscapes of Las Vegas and the larger-than-life scale needed to attract the attention of an individual traveling at 35 miles per hour in a vehicle. Here, using the golden arches rather than the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign, Venturi depicts the "Typical American Highway Scene."
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  In this image, Venturi sketches McKim, Mead, and White's 1887 Low House in Bristol, Rhode Island, a likely inspiration for the Vanna Venturi House with all of its elements tucked underneath the giant roof.
    In this image, Venturi sketches McKim, Mead, and White's 1887 Low House in Bristol, Rhode Island, a likely inspiration for the Vanna Venturi House with all of its elements tucked underneath the giant roof.
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  My favorite sketch of all was this, showing Venturi's depiction of the Big Duck on Long Island, a building type he dubbed as the decorated shed, in which the building is the sign.
    My favorite sketch of all was this, showing Venturi's depiction of the Big Duck on Long Island, a building type he dubbed as the decorated shed, in which the building is the sign.
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  Here, the sign as the descriptor—though the diner has developed its own building typology.
    Here, the sign as the descriptor—though the diner has developed its own building typology.
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  In a similar vein as the "Typical American Highway Scene," here, Venturi portrays his idea of the "Typical House in Los Angeles."
    In a similar vein as the "Typical American Highway Scene," here, Venturi portrays his idea of the "Typical House in Los Angeles."
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  In another ode to architecture masters of yore, Venturi sketches Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye, completed in 1931 and a relatively early and very important example of the International Style.
    In another ode to architecture masters of yore, Venturi sketches Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye, completed in 1931 and a relatively early and very important example of the International Style.

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