Petition: Denise Scott Brown Was More Than Just Robert Venturi’s Wife

The renowned Philadelphia-based architecture firm Venturi Scott Brown Associates has always had something of a gender complex. Founded and guided by the married partnership of Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi, the firm was often covered in the press and within architecture circles with a primary emphasis on Venturi. In part, this was generational, but some contend it leaves Venturi with the more recognizable legacy–despite the fact that Scott Brown continues to work.

A petition on change.org asks for a reconsideration of Scott Brown’s contribution to the firm’s work. In 1991, the Pritzker Prize, arguably the architecture field’s most prominent honor, was awarded to Robert Venturi alone. The petition reads, in part:

Brown had been a co-partner for over 22 years in their practice Venturi Scott Brown and Associates and played a critical role in the evolution of architectural theory and design alongside Venturi for over 30 years. She co-authored the 1977 book Learning from Las Vegas, among others.

However, 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.

The most recent person to sign the petition? Robert Venturi himself, who writes his reason for signing is, “Denise Scott Brown is my inspiring and equal partner.”

The Pritzker Architecture Prize Committee: Recognize Denise Scott Brown for her work in Robert Venturi’s 1991 Prize [change.org]

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