Living History

Denise Scott Brown dubs herself “architecture’s grandmother”

International Media News
Denise Scott Brown (Columbia GSAPP/via Wikipedia)
Denise Scott Brown (Columbia GSAPP/via Wikipedia)

In a 2013 video interview now available online, Denise Scott Brown reflects on a variety of aspects of her career, from her youth in Rhodesia, to her professional career in the United States.

In the video, author Jochen Becker asks her about the influence her personal life had on her professional formation for hismetroZones Global Prayers project. Becker asks about what she calls her “African perspective,” which she says was informed by studying in South Africa under the apartheid regime.

The interview then roams over her thoughts on modernism, her photography, and her experience with Las Vegas, Levittown, and Venice. She spends ample time describing her unconventional wedding ceremony to Robert Venturi, and she talks about her first interaction with a young Rem Koolhaas and her favorite building of his (she likes the IIT building, but not the CCTV tower).

She also talks about the motivation behind the book she was writing at the time. “I’ve named myself architecture’s grandmother,” Scott Brown said. “My interest now is in putting architecture safely to bed before I put myself to bed.”

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