Robert Venturi has been awarded the $100,000 Pritzker Architecture Prize for bringing about a shift away from the uncompromising austerity of modern architecture.

"Venturi has been described as one of the most original talents in contemporary architecture," the seven-member jury of architects and critics said. "He has also been credited with saving modern architecture from itself.""It's nice to be appreciated," said the 65-year-old member of the Philadephia firm Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates.

Venturi has completed more than 400 designs and projects, including the Gordon Wu Hall at Princeton University and the Science Museum of Virginia.

Uncompleted projects include the Seattle Art Museum, the Philadelphia Orchestra Hall and the Sailsbury Wing of the National Gallery of Art in London.

Venturi was one of several young architects teaching at the University of Pennsylvania when he gained international prominence with a slim 1966 book, "Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture."

He attacked the minimalist approach to architecture, encompassed in Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's dictum "Less is more," by countering, "Less is a bore."

"The extent of the influence which this treatise has had on everyone practicing or teaching architecture is impossible to measure but readily apparent," the Pritzker jury said. "Venturi looked with fresh eyes at the architectural landscape of America and described the inherent honesty and beauty of ordinary buildings."

Venturi said his philosophy hasn't changed.

"Architecture must be tolerant of different tastes and cultures," he said. "There's not just an elite culture. There is elite and folk cultures."

Venturi will receive the prize May 16 in Mexico City from Jay A. Pritzker, president of the Chicago-based Hyatt Foundation.

The Pritzker family, whose interest in architecture stems from its international hotel chain, has said it established the award in 1979 because architecture is not among the fields honored by the Nobel Prizes.

Aldo Rossi of Milan, Italy, was honored last year.