In Complexity and Contradiction Robert Venturi presents a critique of modernism, with its rigid systems and fetishization of the functional. Mining the past and utilizing examples as diverse as Borromini's churches and Frank Furness's houses, Venturi addresses the complexity of architectural form, made visible through unexpected juxtapositions and scalar manipulations. He considers intricate baroque ornament and heavy Egyptian columns alongside Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye to impress upon the reader that the study of architecture requires close analysis and historical breadth. The perspective is that of a designer, however, not a historian, a point Venturi makes clear from the outset.

The book ends with twelve of the architect's own...

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