The Philadelphia School, deterritorialized
Venturi and Rauch
Varga-Brigio Medical Office
In the vein of historical allusions, Robert Venturi's aesthetic theory is full of references to historical precedent from the beginning. His Pearson House project (1957) is said to have "domes"; the Duke House renovation (1959) is said to have "a Louis XIV scale in the Louis XVI building." His firm reiterated sixteenth and seventeenth screens in the design of the facades of the Guild House, Fire Station Number 4 in Columbus, Indiana, as has been mentioned, and they alluded to oriental moongates in the Varga-Brigio Medical Building. An ancient oriental moongate in a modern occidental back fence signals the main entry to Venturi & Rauch's small medical office building of 1969 for Dr. George Varga and Dr. Frank Brigio in Bridgeton, New Jersey. The rest of the red brick building is plain, simple, unpretentious, and functionally direct. Urban planner Denise Scott-Brown Venturi says it looks "as if a Chinese restaurant rented space in a factory." Her comment is not intended as negative criticism. What the firm tries to achieve in its buildings, partner John Rauch says, is "to sex them up, just as restaurants do--but in the most inexpensive ways. In this case, we used scale to make it impressive." Instead of having a plain three-foot-by-seven-foot front door, the architects superimposed a symbolic, plum-red, thin wood screen with a circular opening as a means of gaining attention for the entry. A second arc, larger than the circular cutout, is overlaid on the screen "to imply a larger totality," the architects explain. Together, the two segments produce a linear tension, like a mammoth curled finger beckoning toward the door.
Quondam © 2018.10.18