The second part of Anthony Vidler's series on postwar architectural theory, Troubles in Theory: Picturesque Postmodernism, appears in the January Architectural Review.
Here Vidler brilliantly uncovers the connections between the anti-Corbusian picturesque town planning championed by The Architectural Review's editors after the Second World War and Venturi's Complexity and Contradiction, which reduces the field of action of the picturesque from townscape to the single structure. His interpretation comes from a rather narrow British perspective. Will the third part bring in the Italians?
Here is Vidler on Nicolas Pevsner's postwar writings for AR:
"But a third act was now needed in order to bring true visual principles to technological expression: this act would bring back that most English of English traditions, the Picturesque, studied now not only in terms of landscape design but ‘in relation to the new problems of urban landscape’."
"This act would reinstate the main plot – to recapture ‘the scope and richness’ discarded by the modern revolution and to work for a re-humanisation – the building up of tradition: ‘new richness and differentiation of character, the pursuit of differences rather than sameness, the re-emergence of monumentality, the cultivation of idiosyncrasy, and the development of those regional dissimilarities that people have always taken a pride in.’ He concluded: ‘In fact architecture must find a way of humanising itself as regards expression without in any way abandoning the principles on which the Revolution was founded.’ "