Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture

Topics: Architecture, Complexity, Architect Pages: 2 (538 words) Published: December 5, 2011
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 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...
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