A Difficult Whole: A Reference Book on the Work of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown
In the 1960s, American architect Robert Venturi made a case for the difficult whole, opposing mainstream modern architecture that ignores all the intricacies of life and produces pure space, or "easy unity". The architecture Venturi was aiming for embraces diversities, inevitable in any project. This new book, edited by Architecture Without Content, a research group at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne's School of Architecture, offers a fresh analysis and a thorough re-evaluation of Venturi s idea of "the difficult whole" as both a looking glass and a possible tool for architecture today. Through a radical re-reading of found material from the Venturi Scott Brown archives, the editors seek to propose a credible alternative to contemporary architectural discourse. Its format combines the ambiguity of interpretation with the factual material, keeping the precision of the argument. This elusive position is elaborated in essays, complemented by interviews with Kazunari Sakamoto and Alvaro Siza. Around 35 projects by Venturi Scott Brown, and also by Alvaro Siza and James Stirling, form a visual narrative with original plans and sections and other archive material as well as new perspective images and photographs especially produced for this book.