Best of 1991

ADDITION TO NATIONAL GALLERY, LONDON

Pioneering Postmodernist Robert Venturi is still given to architectural wisecracks -- an ironic use of old-fashioned forms, a cartoony application of , classical ornament -- but for this most important job of his career, he (and partner Denise Scott Brown) behaved just enough. The new wing can speak the decorous language of the old museum: the facade is the same limestone block; the galleries, naturally lit John Soane-ish spaces. But the design is also quietly irreverent: pilasters, above, pile up on one another like so much extruded Play-Doh, and the Tuscan columns inside are impossibly faux.

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