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Mies Van Der Rohe & Robert Venturi

  • Date Submitted: 05/19/2014 05:13 AM
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Mies van der Rohe is said to have claimed that ‘less is more’, while Robert Venturi believed that ‘less is a bore’. Compare attitudes to the use of ornament and decoration as seen in modernist architecture and post-modernist architecture. Refer in your essay to specific examples from each design style.

Mies van der Rohe, a prominent figure of the ʻmodernistʼ architecture movement, once stated that “less is more”, by referring to the simplicity of his style. In contrast to van der Roheʼs statement, ʻpostmodernistʼ architect Robert Venturi coined the term “less is a bore.” This witty pun was aimed to push against the rectilinear and simplistic styles that van der Rohe epitomised and aimed to move architecture into a multitude of new directions. Venturiʼs attitude towards the use of ornament and decorative facades was highly regarded; van der Roheʼs was not. This is due to his admiration of the compromising, distorted and obscure styles of post-modern architecture. Whereas, van der Rohe was a clear advocate for pure, clean and articulated modernist architecture, which avoided ornamentations and decoration facades.1

During the transition between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, ʻmodernismʼ was in the early stages of becoming prominent. With the style starting to achieve large-scale recognition after World War II had come to an end. A distinctive characteristic of ʻmodernistʼ architecture is evident in the architectural designs of van der Rohe.2 His architectural designs encompassed a prominent use of glass, structural components that were visible rather than hidden and a neglected form of ʻornamentationʼ facades.3 Between 1945 – 1951, van der Rohe designed and constructed ʻThe Farnsworth House.ʼ4 (See figures 1 and 2). This architectural piece is constructed from glass and steel with the majority of the supporting structure visible from the outside. The design also consists of a flat line roof, which is classic of the ʻmodernistʼ movement. 5 The floor to...


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