Posts tagged with "Vana Venturi House":

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Vanna Venturi House to be preserved by new buyer

One of the most honored buildings in America has a new owner. The Vanna Venturi House in Chestnut Hill, Pa., designed by architect Robert Venturi for his mother and dubbed “Mother’s House,” has been sold to an anonymous buyer less than 10 months after it was put on the market. The sale was confirmed by Melanie Stecura, the listing agent with Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty in Philadelphia. She said the house is under contract and expected to settle by the end of June. At that time, she said, the sale price and owner’s identity will become public record.
“The buyer has chosen to remain anonymous until settlement,” Stecura said, adding that he is from the area and “he has every intention of preserving the property” as a private residence. Completed in 1964 at a reported cost of $43,000, the house at 8330 Millman Street is considered one of the most significant early examples of Postmodern architecture in America. In 1989, it received the AIA’s 25 Year Award for buildings that have stood the test of time. In 2005, it was featured on a U. S. postage stamp as part of a series of “twelve masterworks of modern American architecture.” It was included in a 2013 PBS documentary as one of “10 Buildings That Changed America.” Venturi’s scale models of the house are part of the collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
The two-story, three-bedroom house is distinguished by a monumental front façade that belies its relatively small scale and by an overriding sense of whimsy. Venturi has likened the front façade to “a child’s drawing of a house.” Venturi gave it a pitched roof rather than a flat roof, and a central fireplace and chimney. He used details in unexpected ways, including an ornamental arch over the main entrance and a broken pediment where the peak of the roof would normally be.
Venturi designed the house at the same time he was writing Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, a 1966 book that sparked widespread rethinking of Modernist ideals. Many of his design decisions with the Vanna Venturi house were seen as a rejection of the Modernist aesthetic. Architectural historian Vincent Scully once called it “the biggest small building of the second half of the twentieth century.” Vanna Venturi sold the house in 1973, and it remained a private residence. It has had only two owners, Vanna Venturi and Thomas and Agatha Hughes, who have both died. Their daughter has lived in the house for the past several years and put it on the market last July with an asking price of $1.75 million. The price was lowered this spring to $1.5 million. Local real estate observers said the buyer likely would be someone who already lives in the area and is aware of the house’s history.
Stecura, the real estate agent who handled the sale, said the house’s link to Venturi and its architectural significance were selling points that attracted the buyer. “He’s not an architect by trade, but his interest in the house is sincere,” she said. “He knows all about the house.” She also praised the Hughes family for keeping the house in “pristine” condition and respecting its architectural integrity. The Hugheses “were terrific stewards of the property,” she said. “It was very important to them not to sell to just anyone…It’s a house that needs to be lived in, not turned into a museum.” The sale comes just as Venturi and his wife and design partner, Denise Scott Brown, are scheduled to receive the Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects at its annual convention, which will be held later this month in Philadelphia. Now 52 years old, the house also is being considered for designation as a city landmark by the Philadelphia Historical Commission.
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New PBS Series To Showcase Ten Buildings That Changed America

These days it seems increasingly rare that we take a moment out of our busy schedules to pause and appreciate our surroundings: downtown skyscrapers, grand civic buildings, or the mundane background buildings along our streets. To many, those soaring steel towers are old news, but have you ever stopped to picture a Manhattan without skyscrapers, or a courthouse in Washington, DC that didn’t resemble a Greek or Roman temple, or how about an America without shopping malls? (Unimaginable. Right?) Dan Protress, writer and producer of the new PBS television series 10 Buildings that Changed America, certainly has. The series, hosted by Emmy-award winning producer Geoffrey Baer, proves that architecture is the cultural back-bone of any society.  The show was created to celebrate and explore ten of the most influential American buildings—and the architect’s that designed them—that dramatically altered the architectural landscape of this country. Featuring buildings like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House in Chicago, which transformed the idea of the American home, the Southdale Center in Edina, MN, the nation's first enclosed shopping-center, and the Wainright Building in St. Louis, which, according to historian Tim Samuelson, “taught the skyscraper to soar,” the series delves into the history of these once radically perceived buildings and highlights the roles they have played in molding present-day American society. The Society of Architectural Historians, along with a group of architectural experts, has compiled a list of the ten most iconic and influential structures built by different architects ranging from various eras in American history: 1. Virginia State Capitol, Richmond, CA (1788) 2. Trinity Church, Boston, MA (1877) 3. Wainwright Building, St. Louis, MO (1891) 4. Robie House, Chicago, IL (1910) 5. Highland Park Ford Plant, Highland Park, MI (1910) 6. Southdale Center, Edina, MN (1956) 7. Seagram Building, New York, NY (1958) 8. Dulles International Airport, Chantilly, VA (1962) 9. Vanna Venturi House, Philadelphia, PA (1964) 10. Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA (2003) The show is scheduled to air on Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 10:00 p.m. EST. Tune in and discover the pioneering architectural leaders, breakthrough concepts, groundbreaking buildings, and touching stories that make up the architectural history of the United States. Who knows, you might just be tempted to take a moment out of that busy schedule to admire your surroundings. All images courtesy Wikimedia Commons.