The Philadelphia School, deterritorialized


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Venturi and Rauch

Brant House Addition

2011.11.19 13:25
Quondam's Fifteenth Anniversary
"And we become these human jukeboxes, spilling out these anecdotes."
Six Degrees of Separation
As memory serves, I've only met her twice. Once at a bon voyage party and once at a small dinner. Both in late summer 1993 and both at the same house in Manayunk, Philadelphia. I was still standing in front of this large painting after Robert Venturi asked "Is this by someone?" "Yeah, me." She came up to me afterwards and said, "So you're the artist." Apparently she loved the painting.

She went on about it's sexuality and ambiguity, androgyny and juxtapositions, and I don't remember what else. Later, in the kitchen, I heard her pronouncing "Benjamin" in German and pronouncing "Barthes" like she just bit her tongue. I interjected, "You know Barthes said "laughter is a substitute for castration." She burst out laughing, and yelled over to her husband, "Barthes said laughter is a substitute for castration!" He did not laugh, and I think I know why.
Maybe like a month later, she dominated the conversation at the small dinner. There was lots of architecture talk. She or someone she knew was collecting all the latest in architectural jargon. "So what are some of the words?" She wouldn't (or couldn't) say. And then there was talk of the Italian Rationalists. "Don't forget Sartoris." "Oh! Sartoris! You know he's still alive!?" Towards the end, her husband said he'd like to do an in-depth study of VSBA's domestic architecture. "How about the Brant House Addition?" "Wow, now there's an obscure project."
[Lavin now calls it Kissing Architecture; Quondam has been calling it Appositions.]
Anthony Vidler was moving to LA, and the host of the party and dinner was moving to NYC. She got the host to sublet Vidler's NYC apartment.

2015.05.24 13:33
Stop the presses: Paul Goldberger's take on critical relevance in the social media age
The "lineage" goes back even more. Among the critics on Venturi's 1950 Princeton thesis are George Howe and Louis Kahn. George Howe was Chair of the Architectural Department at Yale from 1950 to 1954. That's when Louis Kahn (a sometimes partner with Howe during the 1940s) also taught at Yale. Scully writes Louis I. Kahn (1962) wherein he twice cites student Robert Stern whose thesis is on George Howe. Spring 1963 Venturi is a visiting critic at Yale, overseeing a master's class studio on precast concrete, which he teaches with the chair of the department, Paul Rudolph.
(Rounding out the "Philadelphia School" theme) Goldberger wrote a nice piece on "Works of Mitchell/Giurgola" in a+u 75:12.
One of these days I'll computer model the Brant House Addition, a Venturi addition to a Venturi house. Not too dissimilar to Mom goes eclectic.
And regarding Paul Goldberger's take on critical relevance in the social media age, I'm thinking somewhere between "In the future everything (critical) will be an advertisement" and "In the future everything (critical) will be self-published." Yikes, does that mean in the present/future everything critical will be a self-published advertisement?!

2015.05.25 10:32
Stop the presses: Paul Goldberger's take on critical relevance in the social media age
The Brant House Addition (1978) and the House inspired by Mount Vernon (1978-79, also designed for the Brant's) were designed when the firm was still Venturi and Rauch (Venturi, Rauch & Scott Brown 1980-88, Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates 1988-2012--Venturi and Scott Brown officially announce their retirement on their wedding anniversary).
[John C. Knowles and Allen Greenberg were the studio critics of my 1st semester 5th year design studio Fall 1980, and Greenberg was among the critics at my thesis jury Spring 1981. Greenberg rarely liked anything I was doing design-wise, yet I still received the AIA Award for Distinguished Design upon graduation.]
Summer 1981 I worked for HABS at Gunston Hall, Virginia. Turned out that Greenberg had been there some months earlier cribbing details from the Palladian Room, as Mount Vernon, south of Gunston Hall also on the Potomac, lacked such fine detail.



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