“Chestnut Hill House”, by Robert Venturi
An artist that praised the urban sprawl and beauty expressed in simplicity, Venturi was an object of disdain for many architects, once even being dubbed the “guru of chaos”. In his works, he often took simple or small projects, and designed them to appear as “dumb buildings”, or “decorated sheds”. This house, which he designed for his mother was made in much the same vein, but contains something special for the discerning eye, which should see that the house looks so normal that there has to be something up with it. The split stone front wall echoes the voice of the Baroque Era, while the mold of the building serves to emphasize the division of the two halves while also simultaneously bringing them together with its paper thin façade. The inside of the building is interesting in that it is small where the outside is large, done in imitation of Claes Oldenburg’s hamburgers. Each part of the house reflects the artist’s philosophy in part; for example, the stairs are wide at the bottom but narrow at the top. This serves to emphasize the idea Venturi had that the downstairs was for the public, but the upstairs was much more intimate and for certain people only. Clearly, he put his heart into this and left a little piece of himself inside the house for his mother to remember him by.
Specs on the house:
Commentary and creator’s thoughts:
info on the artist:
about the Baroque Era:http://history-world.org/baroque_and_rococo_architecture.htm