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Frank Hanswijk

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Spotlight: Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown

09:30 - 25 June, 2018
Spotlight: Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, Franklin Court, Philadelphia. Image © Mark Cohn
Franklin Court, Philadelphia. Image © Mark Cohn

Through their pioneering theory and provocative built work, husband and wife duo Robert Venturi (born June 25, 1925) and Denise Scott Brown (born October 3, 1931) were at the forefront of the postmodern movement, leading the charge in one of the most significant shifts in architecture of the 20th century by publishing seminal books such as Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (authored by Robert Venturi alone) and Learning from Las Vegas (co-authored by Venturi, Scott Brown and Steven Izenour).

Amsterdam Oersoep / RAMSA + Rijnboutt

02:00 - 22 December, 2016
Amsterdam Oersoep  / RAMSA + Rijnboutt, © Frank Hanswijk
© Frank Hanswijk

© Frank Hanswijk © Frank Hanswijk © Frank Hanswijk © Frank Hanswijk + 63

Critical Round-Up: The Most Important Buildings and Events of 2015

09:30 - 27 December, 2015
Critical Round-Up: The Most Important Buildings and Events of 2015

The past 12 months have given us plenty to talk about: 2015 saw the opening of several marquee new museums, and the field took an introspective turn with the “State of the Art of Architecture” at the Chicago Biennial. Now it’s December, and that means it’s time for many critics to look back at the triumphs and failures of the year past and make predictions for the year to come.

To add to our own list of the most inspiring leaders, projects and people from 2015, we found what some of our favorite critics had to say, including Oliver Wainwright of The Guardian, Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange for Curbed, the Los Angeles Times’ Christopher Hawthorne, and Julie V Iovine for The Wall Street Journal. Continue reading for a selection of just some of the buildings and topics which the critics highlighted as having the greatest impact on the architecture world this year.

Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi Win 2016 AIA Gold Medal

09:25 - 3 December, 2015
Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi Win 2016 AIA Gold Medal, © Frank Hanswijk
© Frank Hanswijk

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced Denise Scott Brown, hon. FAIA and Robert Venturi, FAIA, as joint winners of the 2016 AIA Gold Medal. The AIA cited the duo for their "built projects as well as literature that set the stage for Postmodernism and nearly every other formal evolution in architecture." Scott Brown and Venturi are the first ever pair to receive the Gold Medal, after the AIA approved a change to its bylaws in 2013 that allowed the award to be presented to up to two individuals working together.

Best Products Showroom, Langhorne, Pennsylvania (1978). Image © Tom Bernard Episcopal Academy Chapel, Newtown Square (2008). Image © Matt Wargo Franklin Court, Philadelphia (1976). Image © Mark Cohn Vanna Venturi House (1964). Image © Rollin LaFrance + 7

Arnhem Central Transfer Terminal / UNStudio

13:00 - 22 November, 2015
Arnhem Central Transfer Terminal / UNStudio, © Ronald Tilleman
© Ronald Tilleman

© Frank Hanswijk © Frank Hanswijk © Siebe Swart © Frank Hanswijk + 29

McDonald's Pavilion on Coolsingel / mei architects and planners

20:00 - 9 June, 2015
McDonald's Pavilion on Coolsingel / mei architects and planners, © Jeroen Musch
© Jeroen Musch

© Jeroen Musch Courtesy of Mei architects and planners © Ossip Van Duivenbode © Jeroen Musch + 32

AJ's Women in Architecture Survey Reveals Discrimination and a Pronounced Pay Gap

00:00 - 15 January, 2014
AJ's Women in Architecture Survey Reveals Discrimination and a Pronounced Pay Gap, Denise Scott-Brown in Las Vegas. Image © Frank Hanswijk
Denise Scott-Brown in Las Vegas. Image © Frank Hanswijk

Following a year of high-profile debates surrounding women in architecture, the results from the Architects' Journal (AJ) third annual survey entitled Women in Architecture has been revealed. According to the AJ, "two thirds of women in architecture have suffered sexual discrimination at work, an eight point increase since the survey began in 2011", and "88% of women respondents believe that having children puts women at a disadvantage in architecture." Even though women in architecture believe that they are paid equally to men, they can in fact "earn as much as £10,000 ($16,500) less than their male counterparts." More, after the break.

Denise Scott Brown: A Must-Read Interview

00:00 - 8 January, 2014
Denise Scott Brown: A Must-Read Interview, Denise Scott Brown outside Las Vegas in 1966; photograph from the Archives of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. Image © Frank Hanswijk
Denise Scott Brown outside Las Vegas in 1966; photograph from the Archives of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. Image © Frank Hanswijk

Designers & Books editors Stephanie Salomon and Steve Kroeter sat down with Denise Scott Brown for a conversation centered around Learning from Las Vegas, the seminal work penned by Scott Brown, Robert Venturi, and Steven Izenour in 1972. The must-read interview reveals some fantastic insight into Scott Brown's personal and professional life - her unending love of neon (one which led her to Las Vegas), her distaste for the "tyranny of white paper" (which gravely afflicted the design of the first edition of Learning from Las Vegas),as well as her - rather surprising - position on awarding group creativity. Read the full interview here and check out some select quotes from the interview, after the break.

The Best (and Worst) Countries to Be a Female Architect

00:00 - 16 December, 2013
The Best (and Worst) Countries to Be a Female Architect, Denise Scott-Brown may be an icon for today's women in architecture - but is the USA hostile to female architects?. Image © Frank Hanswijk
Denise Scott-Brown may be an icon for today's women in architecture - but is the USA hostile to female architects?. Image © Frank Hanswijk

As part of their annual survey of the world's largest architecture practices, this year BD has also included a survey to help them quantify which countries are best suited for women with careers in architecture - particularly those who wish to work for large companies. In order to create these rankings, they found the ratio of male to female architects in various countries, and also sought out publicly available data on maternity and paternity leave requirements, and the average cost of childcare as a percentage of average wage. You can read more about their sometimes surprising results after the break.

On Gender, Genius, and Denise Scott Brown

00:00 - 2 November, 2013
On Gender, Genius, and Denise Scott Brown, Denise Scott Brown outside Las Vegas in 1966; photograph from the Archives of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. Image © Frank Hanswijk
Denise Scott Brown outside Las Vegas in 1966; photograph from the Archives of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. Image © Frank Hanswijk

"In the 10 years I’ve been running my architectural practice, I [...] have gotten accustomed to people assuming that my male employees — whether younger or older — are the lead architects who will be making final decisions. Yet this time a lingering frustration colored the rest of my day, a sense that while feminism has made significant progress on a conscious level, little change has trickled down into the unconscious of our culture." Check out the rest of Esther Sperber's column for Lilith, in which she details the past travails of female architects (particularly Denise Scott Brown's), and their future mission, here.

Happy 88th Birthday Robert Venturi

00:00 - 25 June, 2013
Happy 88th Birthday Robert Venturi, © Frank Hanswijk
© Frank Hanswijk

Robert Venturi, the architectural figurehead who fought the cause for postmodernism, turns 88 today. Venturi, whose 1966 book 'Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture' coined the term "less is a bore" - to contradict Mies van der Rohe's famous "less is more" - is possibly the most influential of the theorists who worked to steer architecture away from the modernist ethos in which it had become so entrenched.

Pritzker Rejects Petition for Denise Scott Brown's Retroactive Award

00:00 - 16 June, 2013
Pritzker Rejects Petition for Denise Scott Brown's Retroactive Award, © Frank Hanswijk
© Frank Hanswijk

The Pritzker Prize has finally released their official statement in response to the petition Harvard graduate students Arielle Assouline-Lichten and Caroline James wrote, proposing that Denise Scott Brown retroactively receive recognition for the Pritzker Prize that her husband, Robert Venturi, won in 1991.

Lord Palumbo, the Chair of The Pritzker Architecture Prize, has responded that this would be impossible due to the way that Pritzker Juries deliberate: "Pritzker juries, over time, are made up of different individuals, each of whom does his or her best to find the most highly qualified candidate. A later jury cannot re-open, or second guess the work of an earlier jury, and none has ever done so."

The letter goes on to suggest that Ms. Scott Brown is, however, still eligible for a Pritzker of her own; it also thanks Assouline-Lichten and James for "calling directly to our attention a more general problem, namely that of assuring women a fair and equal place within the profession. [...] one particular role that the Pritzker Jury must fulfill, in this respect, is that of keeping in mind the fact that certain recommendations or discussions relating to architectural creation are often a reflection of particular times or places, which may reflect cultural biases that underplay a woman’s role in the creative process. Where this occurs, we must, and we do, take such matters into account."

Read the full letter, after the break...

52 Years Later, A Would-Be Urban Planner Responds to Harvard's Sexist Letter

00:00 - 12 June, 2013
52 Years Later, A Would-Be Urban Planner Responds to Harvard's Sexist Letter, Courtesy of Phyllis Richman. Published June 6, 2013 on The Washington Post.
Courtesy of Phyllis Richman. Published June 6, 2013 on The Washington Post.

In 1961, Phyllis Richman, a student at Brandeis University, was considering applying to the Harvard Graduate School of Design's Department of City and Regional Planning. The response from Professor Doebele, which you can read above, was to question the validity/practicality of her desire to enter into higher education, being, as she would surely be, a future wife and mother.

While today it sounds almost quaint in its blatantly sexist assumptions, Ms. Richman's letter remains, unfortunately, all too relevant. In her article for The Washington Post, Richman says: "To the extent, Dr. Doebele, that your letter steered me away from city planning and opened my path to writing [a career Richman later describes as "remarkably well-suited to raising children"], one might consider that a stroke of luck. I’d say, though, that the choice of how to balance family and graduate school should have been mine."

She's absolutely right, of course; the decision was hers and hers alone to make. However, there's no avoiding that Richman eventually found success in a job that allowed her to live flexibly as a professional and parent. How many women, and for that matter men, can claim that of architecture? How many architects are convinced, just like Ms. Richman, to pursue success in other, more flexible careers?

More about Richman's letter, and where Denise Scott Brown comes in, after the break...

Pritzker’s Challenge: Recognition in the Age of Creative Partnerships

00:00 - 2 May, 2013
Pritzker’s Challenge: Recognition in the Age of Creative Partnerships, Wang Shu receiving his Pritzker Award in 2012. Oddly, his wife and co-partner, Lu Wenyu, was not acknowledged.
Wang Shu receiving his Pritzker Award in 2012. Oddly, his wife and co-partner, Lu Wenyu, was not acknowledged.

The Pritzker Prize had idealistic beginnings: recognising achievement within architecture, a profession that had long lost its status in public opinion. Pritzker 'seamed' this fragmentation, celebrated the architect and broadcast this stellar contribution to society, as a creative, a singular author whose uniqueness set him/her apart from a field of practitioners.

The Prize has since assumed a role of gatekeeper to the 'starchitect' it once helped define. While it is inspiring that architecture as a profession has reaffirmed its status and cultural significance, The Pritzker places itself on an archi-centric proscenium, running the risk of being consumed by a synthetic reality within the profession. If Pritzker and other similar models of recognition are to evolve, they must illuminate widespread transformations in practice and emphasise the changing of the guard within the profession. 

Firstly, Denise Scott Brown should be recognised retrospectively. Opinion does not change facts.

Read more about the (d)evolution of the Pritzker Prize, after the break...

Pritzker Responds To Denise Scott Brown Controversy

00:00 - 1 April, 2013
Pritzker Responds To Denise Scott Brown Controversy , © Frank Hanswijk
© Frank Hanswijk

An intense gender debate has been making headlines after Denise Scott Brown called for Pritzker to “salute the notion of joint creativity” and retrospectively acknowledge her role in Robert Venturi’s 1991 Pritzker Prize during an AJ Women in Architecture luncheon in late March. Since, nearly 2,000 advocates have passionately rallied in Brown’s support by signing an online petition created by Harvard’s GSD Woman in Design Group. Among the signatures include architects Zaha Hadid, Farshid Moussavi and Hani Rashid, along with MoMA senior curator of architecture and design Paola Antonelli, architecture photographer Iwan Baan, Rice School of Architecture dean Sarah Whiting, and Berkeley College of Environmental Design dean Jennifer Wolch.

Responding to the outrage, Martha Thorne, executive director of Pritzker Prize, promised to “refer this important matter to the current jury at their next meeting”, respectfully pointing out that this presents an “unusual situation” considering each Laureate is chosen annually by a panel of independent jurors who change over the years.

Denise Scott Brown Demands Recognition from Pritzker

00:00 - 29 March, 2013
Denise Scott Brown Demands Recognition from Pritzker, © Frank Hanswijk
© Frank Hanswijk

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...

The 10 Most Overlooked Women in Architecture History

01:00 - 8 March, 2013

Looking back on architectural history, you could be forgiven for thinking that women were an invention of the 1950’s, alongside spandex and power steering - but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Big names like Le Corbusier, Mies, Wright and Kahn often had equally inspired female peers, but the rigid structure of society meant that their contributions tended to be overlooked.  In honor of International Woman’s Day 2013, we take a look at the 10 greatest overlooked women in architectural history. 

Read the full list after the break...

Black Pearl / Zecc Architecten + Studio Rolf.fr

00:00 - 29 February, 2012
Black Pearl / Zecc Architecten + Studio Rolf.fr, © Frank Hanswijk
© Frank Hanswijk

© Frank Hanswijk © Frank Hanswijk © Frank Hanswijk © Frank Hanswijk + 25

  • Architects

    Studio Rolf.fr + Zecc Architecten
  • Location

    Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • Category

  • Area

    170.0 m2
  • Project Year

    2010
  • Photographs