1960-63

Venturi and Short

Headquarters for the North Penn Visiting Nurses' Association

1


2002.01.22 13:53
best decorated shed of the 20th century, etc.
The Best Showroom is very likely the "decorated shed" par excellence, while the North Penn Visiting Nurses' Association is Robert Venturi's first built work.
Tempobliviopolis is a hybrid place that time sometimes seems to forget, and sometimes it is a hybrid place that seems to forget time.


2009.02.02 13:07
Venturi's Lieb (No. 9) House to be moved (or demolished)
the ugly and the ordinary
the extraordinary
both deserve an appropriate response
and then/now there's museumification
1993:
Robert Venturi, "Some Agonizing Thoughts about Maintainance and Preservation Concerning Humble Buildings of the Recent Past"
1998:
"Do you know the BASCO sign is now gone?"
"No! Do you know where it is now? We'd like to save it."
1999.10.06
A typed letter signed by Robert Venturi, wherein he laments the demolition of his BASCO 'baby', is currently up for auction at eBay
2000:
"What's the address of the Nurses' Office in Ambler?"
"It's better now if you just look at the pictures."
[found the building and took my own pictures anyway]
2005:
Best Building demolished; flower pattern porcelain enamal panels saved, many now in private and museum collections
2009.01/02
Lieb House; another chapter in the architecture of removement.


2014.03.09 21:52
9 March
2001
liberal reenactment of phone call to VSBA office:
"What's the address of the Nurse's office in Ambler?"
"Hold on, please."
"Mr. Venturi said it's better now to just look at the pictures."
Went to Ambler, found the building, and took my own pictures (of the current condition) anyway.

Venturi and Short, Headquarters for the North Penn Visiting Nurses' Association (Ambler, PA: 1960-63).



2009.08.17 09:10
Postmodernism sucks... discuss
Took the time to look through Jencks' The Language of Post-Modern Architecture (1977) and read a little from Part Three: 'Post-Modern Architecture:
"There articles and attacks, lasting from 1959 to 1962, were meant to wipe out these heresies with a little critical weed-killer, but in the event the Italians fought back at this Puritanism, the refrigerator school of criticism.
The kind of buildings which were provoking this debate all had vague or repressed historical allusions..."
"Here is the schizophrenic cross between two codes that is characteristic of Post-Modernism..."
"Saarinen couldn't quite go the next step and design conventional decoration."
"The historicism is attenuated, embarrassed, half-baked--a problem for many of the architects who left Mies setting out for decoration (and never quite arrived)."
"'We can not know history'.
So by 1961 we have at least a camp, laconic statement in favor of eclecticism."
"What, might be asked, is really wrong with the decorative use of traditional elements--indeed straightforward ornament and the Trad styles? No one was prepared in the sixties to pose these questions in a radical way, and so the vague modernist suspicion of ornament and convention remained.
I suppose the first Modernist architect to use the decorative moulding and traditional symbol (such as the doorway arch) in an aggressive way was Robert Venturi. His Headquarters Building (1960)..."
...where the colors have been homogenized, the windows changed, and only faint traces of the mouldings remain.


2009.08.17 18:04
Postmodernism sucks... discuss
That traditional symbol, like the doorway arch at the Headquarters for the North Penn Visiting Nurses' Association, actually references Frank Furness, Gravers Lane Railroad Station (Chestnut Hill, location of Mother's House), Philadelphia, 1883.



Upon seeing the retaining wall at the Pennypack Woods Store, I was immediately reminded of the retaining wall at the Headquarters for the North Penn Visiting Nurses' Association.


Howe, Stonorov and Kahn, Pennypack Woods Store Building (Philadelphia: 1944).


Venturi and Short, Headquarters for the North Penn Visiting Nurses' Association (Ambler, PA: 1960-63).

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