July 1, 2005

Building on Ideas

Book Review

Architecture as Signs and Systems: For A Mannerist TimeRobert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown
The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press
252 pages
$35

Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown are rare among architects. Not only do they build, they write. And not only do they write, they write seriously -- with wit.

No small task this, nor is developing a philosophy applied to architecture, especially one that goes against the mainstream, but Venturi and Scott Brown have pursued such goals cleverly with passion and intellect for years. The results have been provoking the architectural world ever since. Beginning with Venturi's seminal Complexity and Contradiction in 1966 and soon followed by Venturi, Scott Brown and Steven Izenour's compelling Learning from Las Vegas in 1972, this team has produced some of the most influential writing on architecture of its generation.