Thursday, January 29, 2009

Venturi's Lieb House in New Jersey to be Demoed or Moved

lieb house-vr & sb
Venturi, Rauch, & Scott Brown- Buildings and Projects

Architect Robert Venturi and partner John Rauch's historic Beach House (lieb House) is under a real threat of being demolished. The new owner is willing to give the house free if it could be moved away from the site to make a room for his planned new house. If the efforts by architect's son to move the house on a barge don't materialize by the first of the month, Feb. 2009, the historically invaluable house will be demolished.

Venturi, Rauch, & Scott Brown- Buildings and Projects

Robert Venturi is a living architect and the principle writer of two very important book s on architecture, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture and Learning From Las Vegas. He is also the recepient of Pritzker Prize, the highest award given to architects, and many other medals for his work.
His firm VSBA is still active from their offices near Philadelphia.

Venturi, Rauch, & Scott Brown- Buildings and Projects

Following is the architect's statement and description rephrased by Stephen Lauf via
Venturi, Rauch, & Scott Brown- Buildings and Projects

"The Lieb House
Loveladies, New Jersey, 1967
(with the assistance of Gerod Clark [who may the first architect to collage magazine people within architectural renderings])

It is easy to explain what the Lieb House is not: It is not a tasteful natural-wood-shingled configuration of complex and contradictory wings and roofs. It is an ordinary shed with conventional elements. It uses asbestos shingles with imitation wood-grain relief, once the indigenous building material on Long Beach Island. And it uses big elements, such as the stair that starts out the width of the house and gradually decreases to three feet on the second floor. Its unconventional elements are explicitly extraordinary when they do occur, as in the big round window that looks like a 1930s radio loud-speaker. It is a little house with big scale, different from the houses around it but also like them. It tries not to make the plaster madonna in the birdbath next door look silly, and it stands up to, rather than ignores, the environment of utility poles."


venturi28-aPhoto; ED HILLE

Story at Philadelphia Inquirer


Watch the video of the move and the temporary new location via

Robert Venturi's Lieb House - On the Move/flickr/tud5000/2009.01.29

Robert Venturi's Lieb House - On the Move/flickr/tud5000/2009.01.30

lieb house temporary locationthe temporary new location via


more pictures of the latest move @ tud5000's flickr photostream

It's for reasons like this that I wonder: all quibbles over philosophical purity, in situ vs not in situ, or just generally whether Venturi represents a "discredited" "obsolete" "crap" legacy and we should merely let some kind of style-libertarian nature take its course...*what on earth is wrong with this*? It's the best positive publicity one can ask for; and even the creator himself can appreciate--on an inherently philosophical basis, no less.

Indeed, as an "architectural event", the move is poetry in its own right. It's its own best self-justification.
- a comment from an Archinect member, rondo mogilskie.

Also from New York Times:

The spectacle attracted a throng of about 150 onlookers to the third floor of Pier 17 at South Street Seaport, including Mr. Venturi, the 83-year-old Pritzker Prize-winning architect who built the house in 1969 for Nathaniel and Judy Lieb. The Liebs had it built near the northern tip of Long Beach Island on the Jersey Shore. The current owner of the property planned to demolish the structure, prompting the unusual rescue effort, which involved selling the house to an owner willing to relocate it.

Standing next to his wife and partner, the architect Denise Scott Brown, Mr. Venturi ignored the tangle of microphones and cameras thrust in his direction at the seaport, and applauded and waved with a weak smile as the 1,500-square-foot house and the barge carrying it came into view, wending its way northward propelled by a tugboat and trailed by a helicopter.

Photo: Rob Bennett for The New York Times

more photos/flickr/tud5000
Discussed at
more @ NYT : Moving on a Barge to a Long Island Berth


Srephen Lauf said...

Orhan, I did not rephrase the description of the Lieb House. The project description above is taken directly from LEARNING from LAS VEGAS, 1st edition.

Medit said...

Hi Orhan...

So this thread in Archinect has derived to name-calling and it's gettin' awful... Rita says that description is not by himself but from Venturi/S.Brown themselves...

so I ask you, what exactly means this house in north-american architectural history? what's so important.. I can't see anything that relevant in the description taken from Learning from Las Vegas?

what am I missin'?... what's so important?... is it only because it's an "early Venturi"? or is there any other secret?...

thanks for illuminating me...