Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi are known for their new interpretation of postwar modernist architecture, which they expressed in theoretical publications as well as in their architectural practice. Sending modern architecture into a phase of upheaval, they did not strive for simple forms of modernism, but rather were were looking for relevance and popular interest. One of the basic examples of a complex, but rather unexpected language of forms is the House Vanna Venturi, a building designed for Venturi`s mother from 1962-1964. Not to forget about their theoretic opus Learning from Las Vegas, published 1972.
Unfortunately, the partner-ship and work of Venturi and Scott Brown is not only to be seen as a success story in architecture, but also reveals the exclusion of women in its history.When Robert Venturi received the Pritzker Architectural Prize in 1991, he stated:
It`s a bit of a disappointment that the Prize didn`t go to me and Denise Scott Brown, because we are married not only as individuals, but as designers and architects.*
In fact, Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi met in the 60`s and developed the most important creations, which finally led to the honor, as a team. Since the 70`s Scott Brown was mentioned as project-partner, their office is known as Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates.
In the book ‘Learning from Las Vegas’ was written by Robert Venturi, Steve Izenour and Denise Scott Brown. In most cases, Venturi is mentioned as the only author.
As a wife, I´m very unhappy to see my husband honored, but as a collaborator I feel very unhappy to see my work attributed to Bob … We have developed a body of theory together that owes a great deal to both of us. It is difficult to unseam it.*
Watch out for an interesting interview: Adam Marcus asking Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi of their roots, their writing, their architecture, their politics, and their legacy, published in Museo Magazine.
(*Adams, Annmarie; Tancred, Peta: ‘Designing Women. Gender and the architectural profession, Toronto, Buffalo, London 2000, page 67, 70.)
VSBA, Learning from Las Vegas Studio, 1968