There’s something irresistible about Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown’s architectural romance. They met when they were both young professors at the University of Pennsylvania; Scott Brown held seminars in city planning, and Venturi gave lectures in architectural theory. As the story goes, Scott Brown argued in her first faculty meeting that Frank Furness’ masterful Venetian gothic library should not be torn down to build a plaza (then a dissenting opinion). Venturi approached her after the meeting, offering his support. As Paul Goldberger wrote of the couple in 1971, “as their esthetic viewpoints grew closer and closer, so did their feelings toward each other.” Architecture lovers can’t help but love the architect-lovers. As compelling as this version of Venturi and Scott Brown’s collaborative history may be, the couple’s eternal association often leaves Scott Brown’s personal work in the dust. Other times, Scott Brown’s work in collaboration with Venturi is memorialized as Venturi’s accomplishment alone. Most memorably, when Venturi won the Pritzker Prize in 1991, the jury cited numerous projects completed in collaboration with Scott Brown (like the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery, London) as seminal works in his oeuvre. Even after a group of women from the Harvard Graduate School of Design created a petition and gathered over 20,000 signatures in hopes of retroactively awarding Scott Brown the prize, she remained unrecognized.
View moreView full description