Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture Paper
Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture Robert Venturi In this article the author Venturi talks about the importance of applying inner complexity and contradiction to create more sophisticated, diverse architecture over over-simplified, black-or-white architecture. Non Straightforward Architecture: Gentle Manifesto In modern society even a simple building holds many complex aspects, its program, structure, mechanical program, and expression. The author opens up a view that is different from the traditional, orthodox idea of architecture: embracing the problems, challenges, complexities the design has to resolve.
Venturi prefers richness of meaning and inconsistency over clarity and directness. However, he also states that the complexity and contradiction of the architecture shouldn’t be excluded from the whole. It has to hold its truth to the totality. Complexity and Contradiction vs. Simplification or Picturesqness Many modern architects have ignored the diversity and the sophisticated elements to try so hard in their attempt to break through traditions.
They have abandoned solving complex problems and including various requirements. The principle of modern architecture, “less is more” has been taken the wrong way. The strong attempts to follow the simplicity of modern architecture, many modern architects have sacrificed important considerations and even oversimplify the architecture. Forced simplicity can result in oversimplified architecture and it can mean bland architecture. The desire for simplicity doesn’t have to sacrifice the inner complexity of the architecture.
However, the desire of complex architecture is not of picturesqness or subjective expressiveness; it’s that of the program and medium of architecture. Ambiguity Ambiguity and tension are easily found in complex and contradictory architecture. Architecture is perceived by its form and structure, its texture and material. Therefore, how the architecture is perceived depends on the viewers’ personal opinions, experiences, and interpretation of the form, structure, texture, and material of the architecture.
In comparison to a poem, the author discusses that a successful architecture promotes diverse opinions, perceptions, and experience of the architecture with great tension. Contradictory Levels: The phenomenon of “Both-And” in Architecture The traditional architecture is characterized by “either-or” while the architecture of complexity and contradiction is characterized by “both-and. ” The source of both-and being contradictory gives different levels of meanings and values among the architectural elements.
The observer’s perception of the architecture becomes more vivid because it involves more rigorous observation for the meanings and values of the architectural elements. Complex and contradictory architecture have both good and bad spaces. It is the architect’s responsibility to decide what elements he or she wants to compromise for the whole. The complexity and contradiction of architecture gives multiple meanings and experiences to the users at different time and from different point of view.
After reading this article, I realized the importance of providing more interesting, vivid, diverse architecture to the users. It is not always about the beauty and apparent function of the architecture. It is the architect’s responsibility to create diverse and various levels of experience for the observers. It is so fascinating to know that I can create a single space which people can experience multiple meanings of the space at multiple points of time. I think that is one of the important aspects of what I consider successful architecture.