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A post-modern icon by Robert Venturi hits the market

A post-modern marvel by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Robert Venturi has gone on sale for the first time in 43 years.

The $1.75 million (£1.1 million) Vanna Venturi House in Philadelphia – built in 1964 for Venturi’s mother – is considered one of ’10 buildings that changed America’, and even featured on a US postage stamp.

Venturi deliberately designed a house full of contradictions, flouting the rigid rules of modernist architecture – the popular style of the time – which he believed to be oversimplified and reductionist.

‘This building is complex and simple, open and closed, big and little,’ Venturi wrote in his notes for the project. ‘Inside and out, it is a little house that uses big scale to counterbalance the complexity.’

Vanna Venturi House by architect Robert Venturi
Inadvertently, Venturi’s 1,986 sq ft house triggered the start of architecture’s post-modern movement.

Details, both inside and out – from the home’s pitched roofline to the interior’s varying ceiling heights – defy modernist principles. The differing size, shape and positioning of windows help create a subtle asymmetry that eschews order and balance.

Venturi sold the three-bedroom home in 1973 following the death of his mother but the property remains in much the same condition. Estate agent Melanie Stecura told Philadelphia magazine: ‘[The current owner] has a real love of the house, and Bob Venturi has been really involved in anything that’s been done inside the home.’

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