Robert Venturi’s Rome is a guidebook to the city of Rome as seen through the eyes of Robert Venturi and his classic text Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture by two subsequent Rome Prize fellows and architects, Frederick
Fisher and Stephen Harby. Fisher and Harby take the reader on a journey back through time by visiting and discussing the Roman buildings and places that exemplify Venturi’s revolutionary ideas. The buildings and what they meant to
Venturi are reexamined with the perspective of fifty years of architectural advancements. The volume is full of imaginative and analytical watercolor illustrations painted exclusively for the book and inspired by the small black and white illustrations in Venturi’s work.
In the original book, published in 1966, Venturi viewed architecture, landscape and art as different manifestations of common aesthetic themes. Venturi wrote this seminal publication following a two-year Rome Prize fellowship at the
American Academy in Rome, and there is no doubt the city had a profound influence on his thinking. Many buildings in Rome serve as examples that illustrate his theories. From the Pantheon, through works by his favorite artist, Michelangelo, and on to 20th century buildings by Armando Brasini and Luigi Moretti, Venturi reveals Rome as a complex and contradictory city. Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture became one of the era’s most significant theoretical works on architectural theory and is still fundamental to the development of every young architect’s outlook on architecture. Thus, Fisher and Harby’s Robert Venturi’s Rome pays homage to the design influence this publication has had, and will continue to have, on the design world.
About the Presenters
Frederick Fisher is driven to create environments of timeless beauty and meaning with a particular emphasis on light and connection to art and nature. He gained stature in the art and academic worlds by designing exceptional
spaces for the practice and exhibition of art. He is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, where he combined his passions for art and architecture in the exploration of museum meaning and design. Fisher received his Bachelor
of Arts degree from Oberlin College in Art and Art History and a Master’s of Architecture from UCLA.
Stephen Harby is an architect who practiced with the late Charles Moore and was a Visiting Lecturer at the Yale School of Architecture from 2001-2016. His professional activities are concentrated in various realms, all focused on furthering the understanding and appreciation of the built environment. As an artist, Stephen Harby is an accomplished and recognized watercolor painter with his work found in many collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago. He has been recognized through grants and fellowships, including those from the MacDowell Colony, Western European Architectural Foundation (Gabriel Prize), and the American Academy in Rome (Rome Prize).