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We were deeply saddened to learn of the death of the great American architect and theorist Robert Venturi. Through his buildings and his writings, Venturi was a pioneer of the postmodern movement, and with his wife and partner, Denise Scott Brown, changed fundamentally how we think about architecture and cities. If Le Corbusier was the most influential architect of the first part of the twentieth century, Venturi occupied an equivalent position for the second part – and his thinking continues to inspire and provoke today.
Soane was one of Venturi’s architectural heroes and he was a regular visitor to the museum, both during research for his seminal book Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966), and more recently. In a 2005 film, Venturi remarked on the Museum’s ‘spatial layering which gives a sense of enclosure and richness that can accommodate contradiction and variety’ – a description that could equally have applied to his own extraordinary work.