Happy Birthday: Robert Venturi Turns 90

We doubt that "less is a bore" applied to birthdays.

Robert Venturi in Rome in 2008 | Photo: Todd Sheridan via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License

Robert Venturi in Rome in 2008 | Photo: Todd Sheridan via Flickr. Sized to fit and used under Creative Commons License

90 years ago to this very day, one of the world’s preeminent architects and influential minds was born right here in Philadelphia. That’s right, Robert Venturi is the big nine-oh.

Paired with his longtime wife and partner Denise Scott Brown, Robert Venturi is widely known for his iconic creations that broke the mold in more ways than one. His vast collection of work includes: the (love it or hate it) Guild House on Spring Garden Street, Benjamin Franklin’s “ghost house” in Old City, iconic furniture for Knoll and the Sainsbury Wing at the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square in London.

PBS named the Vanna Venturi House in Chestnut Hill as one of the “Ten Buildings That Changed America”  in 2013. The home was built for his mother between 1962 and 1964 and is regarded as the building that started the postmodern movement. He took home the Pritzker Prize in 1991, though he’s fought to have Scott Brown included in the honor ever since saying: “Denise Scott Brown is my inspiring and equal partner.”

More recently, Venturi was one of 17 prominent architects who donated a napkin sketch to the NewSchool and San Diego American Institute of Architecture Students to help raise money for scholarships and programs. Venturi’s quick scribble snagged $370.