During a speech at the AJ Women in Architecture luncheon in London last week, postmodern icon Denise Scott Brown requested to be acknowledged retrospectively for her role in Robert Venturi’s 1991 Pritzker Prize, describing Pritzker’s inability to acknowledge her involvement as “very sad”.
Although at the time of the award Brown had co-partnered their practice Venturi Scott Brown and Associates for over 22 years and played a critical role in the evolution of architectural theory and design alongside Venturi for the over 30 years, as well as co-authored the transformative 1970’s book Learning from Las Vegas, her role as “wife” seemed to have trumped her role as an equal partner when the Pritzker jury chose to only honor her husband, Venturi.
More information and an online petition after the break...
Unsurprisingly, since Brown’s speech many have expressed their support, exclaiming there should have been two winners in 1991 and demanding that Pritzker acknowledges Brown as a joint winner. Hundreds of supporters have even signed a petition in her honor (sign here!).
Throughout Pritzker's history, only two joint prizes have ever been awarded: Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron in 2001 and SANAA male-female duo Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa in 2010. However, Pritzker was faced criticism last year (2012) for choosing to award Wang Shu and not his wife Lu Wenyu, who co-founded their firm Amateur Architecture Studio alongside Shu in 1997.