Search results for "denise scott brown"

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Learning From Scott Brown

Denise Scott Brown wins the 2018 Soane Medal
Today Sir John Soane’s Museum in London honored architect and planner Denise Scott Brown as the 2018 recipient of the Soane Medal, the second annual award given by the museum to an architect who has made a major contribution to the field through their built work, education, or theory. Scott Brown's award will be celebrated at a special public ceremony on Wednesday, October 17, at the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery, an extension she designed with her husband Robert Venturi in 1991. While Scott Brown will not be in attendance, the event will feature a lecture by the award winner, pre-recorded from her home in Philadelphia along with rarely seen photographs from the architect’s life and work. Sir David Chipperfield, Soane Medal juror and trustee of the museum, will issue a live response to Scott Brown’s message. In a press release, Chipperfield noted that Scott Brown was the obvious choice out of the array of candidates the jury looked into. “Denise Scott Brown stood apart and was the jury’s unanimous choice. Scott Brown’s contribution across architecture, urbanism, theory, and education over the last fifty years has been profound and far-reaching,” he said. “Her example has been an inspiration to many, and we are delighted to honour her with the award of the Soane Medal.” As one half of the revered firm Venturi Scott Brown, she’s created multiple master plans for projects around the world from the Département de la Haute-Garonne provincial capitol building in Toulouse, France, to the Mielparque resort in Kirifuri National Park in Japan. She’s also led highly-touted research projects, most notably Learning from Las Vegas, which turned into her’s and Venturi’s seminal book that helped usher in the postmodernist era in architecture. The Soane Medal was established in memory of the museum’s founder, Sir John Soane, a 19th-century, English, neo-classical architect. The museum is composed of his historic house, museum, and library that make up an “academy of architecture” for visitors interested in history and design. Rafael Moneo was the inaugural recipient of the Soane Medal in 2017. Tickets for the October event honoring Scott Brown can be found here.
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Learning From Lost Photos

Denise Scott Brown’s Wayward Eye comes to London in new show of her photography
London Gallery Betts Project is showcasing photographs from Denise Scott Brown, marking the architect, planner, and theorist's first solo exhibition in the U.K. Titled Denise Scott Brown: Wayward Eye, the exhibition features photos taken between 1956 and 1966 that illustrate Scott Brown's explorations into urbanism, Pop Art, and the emerging architectural language of roadside America, ideas which would later be collected in Learning from Las Vegas published in 1972. "Such a study will help to define a new type of urban form emerging in American and Europe, radically different from that we have known; one that we have been ill-equipped to deal with and that, from ignorance, we define today as urban sprawl," Scott Brown wrote in 1977 in the abridged Learning from Las Vegas. "I’m not a photographer. I shoot for architecture—if there’s art here it’s a byproduct," Scott Brown told curators Marie Coulon and Andrés F Ramirez at Betts Project this year. "Yet the images stand alone. Judge what you see." The photos provide insight into how Scott Brown, Venturi Izenour, and their students dissected commercial strips. Never before had such mundane elements been looked at through an architectural lens: a nondescript shot of a Dodge Charger driving down an L.A. freeway is deliciously titled Industrial Romanticism, while another features an equally unremarkable image from a water taxi in Venice. "For Robert Venturi and me, these sequences from Venice to Venice, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas provided inspiration and they still do. And via them, architectural photography initiated a move beyond beauty shots and data. Over the last 60 years, by adding analysis, synthesis, recommendation, and design, it has gone from tool to subdiscipline in architecture. "In 1965, after ten years of urbanism, my foci were automobile cities of the American Southwest, social change, multiculturalism, action, everyday architecture, 'messy vitality,' iconography, and Pop Art. "Waywardness lay in more than my eye," Scott Brown continued. "Do I hate it or love it? ‘Don’t ask,’ said my inner voice. ‘Just shoot.’" Scott Brown's work doesn't come around to London often. She came to the city in 1952 (when her surname was Lakofski) to work for the modern architect Frederick Gibberd before studying at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. She returned with her husband Venturi to work on the Sainsbury Wing of London's National Gallery in 1991 after the infamous Carbuncle incident. Denise Scott Brown: Wayward Eye runs through July 28 and comes with a catalog, published by PLANE—SITE, featuring texts by Scott Brown and Andrés F Ramirez.
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Ain't No Party Like a Postmodern Party

Happy Birthday, Denise Scott Brown!
Although she was born in South Africa, Denise Scott Brown has become one of the United State’s most influential architects, a leader in postmodernism, co-author of Learning from Las Vegas (1972), a staunch advocate for women’s rights, and the mastermind behind projects such as the Sainsbury Wing of London’s National Gallery, the Seattle Art Museum, the Allen Memorial Art Museum, the capitol in Toulouse, and Franklin Court in Philadelphia. Today, in honor of Scott Brown’s 85th birthday, we rounded up just a few of her many notable moments over the years. On her years at the University of Pennsylvania… “Robert and I entered planning school hoping to study early modern planning ideas, like Arturo Soria y Mata’s linear city. We thought it was an interesting solution to urban-rural disconnection in mass cities. Trains, we suggested, should travel at 100 miles an hour. When teachers observed that would be too fast for transit stops, we replied, ‘That doesn’t matter!’ We were early modern machine romantics.” On winning the Jane Drew prize… “There is an irony in it because I knew Jane Drew. I hold very different opinions from the ones she held,” said Scott Brown, speaking to Laura Mark in the Architects’ Journal (AJ). “When we met over the years sometimes it was up and down,” Scott Brown added. “I gave a lecture once and I said something about Walter Gropius and there was a lot of shouting from the back of the room and it was Jane Drew. She was quite a down right woman and I’m a down right woman. She might mind that I have been given the prize—but I don’t. I’m very happy that people want me to have a prize and that she should have a prize named after her.” On winning the AIA Gold Medal… “It was worth being a witch.” On postmodernism… “So we do postmodernism, Philip Johnson does pomo. It doesn't have all that thought behind it and it doesn't even have the thought about aesthetics that we've done behind it. I call pomo 'limp,' and think what we do is lasting and part of modernism's long-past departure.” On party etiquette… Former dean Robert A.M. Stern recounted a 1969 party in which “I had to peel Denise Scott Brown away from fighting with Paul Rudolph in my apartment over the subject of the way Denise and Bob Venturi had treated Rudolph’s Crawford Manor.” Scott Brown and Venturi had “savaged” the building in Learning From Las Vegas. Stern describes architect Ulrich Franzen telling him: "Bob, you better go into the library, Denise is about to kill Paul Rudolph." On being a woman in architecture… “There’s a million ways to be a woman. There’s a million ways to be a mother. And there’s a million ways to be an architect."
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Women in Architecture Awards

Denise Scott Brown wins Jane Drew Prize, Rachel Whiteread given Ada Louise Huxtable Prize
Denise Scott Brown has been awarded the Jane Drew Prize by the Architects' Journal (AJ) and its sister publication, the Architectural Review (AR). In 1991, Scott Brown was not included in the awarding of the Pritzker Prize that went to her husband, Rober Venturi, despite her integral role in the couple's firm, Venturi Scott Brown and Associates. More recently, in 2013, the Pritzker awarding committee was pressured to reexamine their decision twelve years prior and acknowledge Scott Brown. Alas, they did not budge. "There is an irony in it because I knew Jane Drew. I hold very different opinions from the ones she held," said Scott Brown speaking to Laura Mark in the Architects' Journal (AJ). "When we met over the years sometimes it was up and down," Scott Brown added. "I gave a lecture once and I said something about Walter Gropius and there was a lot of shouting from the back of the room and it was Jane Drew. She was quite a down right woman and I’m a down right woman. She might mind that I have been given the prize—but I don’t. I’m very happy that people want me to have a prize and that she should have a prize named after her." Scott Brown received this year's Jane Drew award for her contributions to architecture which include built works and research, notably the book Learning from Las Vegas, which was published in 1972 and co-authored by Venturi and Steven Izenour. Scott Brown and Venturi are also recognized as pioneers of the Postmodernist movement. In the wake the Pritzker jury refusing to change their position in 2013, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) amended a rule that stipulated only individuals could claim its Gold Medal prize. Scott Brown and Venturi were then jointly awarded the AIA Gold Medal last year. The AJ and AR awarded the Ada Louise Huxtable Prize to artist Rachel Whiteread. The award recognizes individuals working in the wider architectural industry who have made a significant contribution to architecture and the built environment. Whiteread is noted for winning the 1993 Turner Prize, her work with architects (such as Caruso St John Architects for the UK Holocaust Memorial International Design Competition), and her participation on the RIBA Stirling Prize 2016 jury. However, while such awards are good news for women in the industry, a recent survey has found that there is still much work to be done. Aside from awarding the Jane Drew Prize, the AJ and AR, as part of its annual Women in Architecture survey, found that female architects working in the U.K. earn $68,900 less than their male equivalents. The pay gap has reportedly widened by $52,700 over the past two years. The survey results also outlined that pressure to not have children and sexual discrimination were still prevalent. The AR also announced its Women in Architecture Awards 2017 shortlists, which includes the Architect of the Year Award and the Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture.
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Brutal Brawl

Robert A.M. Stern recounts a heated confrontation between Denise Scott Brown and Paul Rudolph

In an interview with Yale School of Architecture’s Paprika! magazine, former dean Robert A.M. Stern recounts a 1969 party in which “I had to peel Denise Scott Brown away from fighting with Paul Rudolph in my apartment over the subject of the way Denise and Bob Venturi had treated Rudolph’s Crawford Manor.” Scott Brown and Venturi had “savaged” the building in Learning From Las Vegas. Stern describes architect Ulrich Franzen telling him: “Bob you better go into the library, Denise is about to kill Paul Rudolph.”

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V-SB

Denise Scott Brown on AIA Gold: “It was worth being a witch”
Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi finally got the recognition for their collaborative efforts over the last half-century in the same way they conceived some of the 20th century's seminal architectural works and texts: together. The duo wrote the 1972 treatise Learning from Las Vegas, and designed a series of beloved projects, including Franklin Court Independence Historic National Park in Philadelphia, the National Sainsbury Wing in London, and the National Collegiate Football Hall of Fame (Competition). Venturi won the Pritzker Prize in 1991 but Scott Brown was not included. The AIA Gold Medal makes up some lost ground for the pair, and the profession, as equal credit is given for collaboration. A group of Harvard students calling themselves "Women in Design" petitioned the Pritzker committee to recognize Scott Brown alongside Venturi. While the Pritzker didn't budge, the AIA did recognize this effort, as the Philadelphia AIA convention featured its own "Women in Design Dinner." At the AIA Gold Medal ceremony, a screen played a video of the duo in their home accepting the award. Scott Brown appeared on the stage, and said, with a bit of that V-SB wit, "It was worth being a witch" for. She said she is excited to be breaking ground for other pairs of collaborators, of which she said there are 20 or so that could win this award in the future.
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DSB

Denise Scott Brown on the unknown history of architecture and planning at the University of Pennsylvania

As architects descend for the 2016 AIA National Convention, the City of Brotherly Love will be in the spotlight. Philadelphia was just named a World Heritage City, the first in the United States. Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi will be awarded the AIA Gold Medal during the convention and a new mayor is fighting to preserve the city’s landmarks, which include the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Philadelphia City Hall, and a host of modern and postmodern relics—not to mention the urban fabric that composes the neighborhoods. For this occasion, editor-in-chief William Menking and senior editor Matt Shaw sat down with Scott Brown at her and Venturi’s home in suburban Philadelphia. (Also, our "reader" of past articles can help you get up to speed on Philly, the AIA, and this year's speakers.)

The Architect’s Newspaper: Can you talk about what brought you to Philadelphia to study and teach?

Denise Scott Brown: Peter and Alison Smithson, our gurus at the London Architectural Association (Peter wasn’t teaching there then) intrigued us with their New Brutalism. After the war, young architects with passion wanted to follow Le Corbusier’s urban visions and rebuild Europe’s cities, and the brightest wanted to study urban planning in America first. But the Smithsons contested the idea of “decanting” the London poor into the rural, middle-class “New Towns,” and produced models following their street-life patterns for rebuilding in cities on bombed sites. This is what Brutalism stood for then, not the overwrought use of unfinished concrete. The Smithsons and Louis Kahn met over debates on this subject through CIAM and their 15-year correspondence is in the Smithson archives at Harvard. So when Peter said the only place to go for city planning was the University of Pennsylvania because Louis Kahn taught there, Robert Scott Brown and I went.

But before we left, we read an article in Time Magazine about Philadelphia and the planning we would encounter there thanks to its liberal reform government. A “white noose” of suburbs lay around the neck of a center city that was half black and half white, and measures were under discussion to keep blacks out of Philadelphia’s center. I was surprised. This was not happening secretly—it was openly discussed—just like in my sad and miserable country of South Africa, people in Philadelphia were practicing apartheid.

In the 1940s, South Africa was in social turmoil. I grew up with it and came away with a guilty conscience and sympathy for African needs. In England there was socialism and more turmoil, but in the late 50s, America decorum ruled—sloppy joes, long skirts, and bobby sox were in style—not protest. Yet within two years, the social turmoil familiar to me was here, too. We arrived from our experiences of Africa and Europe with lots of questions, and were happy to find not answers, but ways to search for them. At the semester’s end Herbert Gans, our sociology professor, said, “You came with such interesting questions. Where are the answers?” We were all very young, but I have since said to Herb, “You didn’t have answers, why did you expect us to have them?”

In the 1940s Kahn belonged to a citizens’ group for city planning that convened under the reformed government and was good at purveying planning facts via metaphors intriguing to architects. The ideas in his famous street plan came from this group—our transportation professor, Robert Mitchell, belonged too, and behind Lou’s plan I recognized the content of Mitchell’s lectures.

Robert Scott Brown and I entered planning school hoping to study early modern planning ideas, like Arturo Soria y Mata’s linear city. We thought it was an interesting solution to urban-rural disconnection in mass cities. Trains, we suggested, should travel at 100 miles an hour. When teachers observed that would be too fast for transit stops, we replied, “That doesn’t matter!” We were early modern machine romantics.

Formulating the questions was Penn’s planning school’s strength. But we learned it from social scientists and activists, not architects. Faculty and students in the architecture department were unaware it was happening.

The planning school was in the school of architecture?

Yes. How did a great socially based planning school develop in a school of architecture? The key was research. When federal urban renewal programs were created in the 1940s, research was mandated. But where would you put it? At first, architecture schools where cities were designed were the only receptacles for this largesse. So Penn’s Institute for Urban Studies hired Mitchell, architect turned transportation planner; Martin Meyerson, who came out of Penn and the University of Chicago; Herbert Gans, a city planning doctoral student (Penn’s first); C. Britton Harris and Jack Dyckman from Chicago; William Wheaton from Princeton and Harvard; and a young Paul Davidoff from Yale Law School. They were high-powered people, some, like Wheaton, were influential in Washington and were rainmakers for the school.

Universities use programs to fund activities temporarily while they are of interest. The Graduate School of Fine Arts’ Institute for Urban Studies was one of Penn’s first, but more followed as other departments tapped federal urban-related money. The presence of its young researchers was one of the reasons Robert Scott Brown and I found Penn to be the most exciting intellectual atmosphere we’d been in on three continents. People at Penn were thinking about the things we were thinking about, and thrilled to have us. But this was not so among the architects.

Architect planners like David Crane, our student advisor, had the same straddling problems I had. Whereas in London, architects approached urban planning because it was the going game, in America, you went there when you found you were not good at design. So I was seen as a non-designer in Penn architecture and was not invited to participate as I had been in England. But the American architectural elite had not yet caught up with Team Ten and the New Brutalism. Lou of course knew them and I introduced them to Bob and my students. By that time Robert was dead, people here had rallied to help me, I had formed lifelong friendships, and in 1960 I had begun teaching in the planning department.

In 1961, I started teaching the fall semester theories course for architects and was given a joint appointment in architecture and in planning. This meant I was the only full-time person teaching in architecture. The architects spent three afternoons a week in the school, whereas I was there day and night. To connect the studio and the theories course, I gave studio crits at night, so I had good ties with beginning architecture students, and very good ties with planning students by teaching studio and kibitzing in their theory course taught by Paul Davidoff. So, I saw things that few faculty, and none in architecture, saw, especially around the turmoil going on in social planning. It was 1961—an enlivening time in American cities and at Penn. But the architects didn’t notice.

What was the turmoil about?

There was social unrest in cities related to injustice and particularly to urban renewal, seen as “human removal.” And when the social planners erupted at Penn, architects asked, “Who are these people horning in on our field? We were doing very nicely without them.” They said, “don’t fix what ain’t broke.” So eventually all the planners left Penn, as well as many architects who were not Harvard-trained modernists. This was because research money dried up with Nixon and Reagan, but also because our dean, great in many respects, saw Harvard as the shining model for architectural education. So nonconformists were not reappointed, and beyond the social planners, Crane and I left and Bob too, and Penn lost the opportunity to be the first school to build on the early links then forming, over our somewhat mangled bodies, between the social and the physical in architecture.

Where did you go next?

Bill Wheaton invited me to be a visiting professor at Berkeley, so I taught there during the Foul Speech movement, one semester after the Free Speech movement, at Berkeley. Then I went on to start a school of architecture at UCLA. I was one of three founding faculty members there, and I taught studio as I had learned from Dave Crane’s planning studios. This was the model for the Learning From Las Vegas studio, and is the reason why every school of architecture now has one teamwork, urban project studio with a visit somewhere. Sadly they’re often junkets, not real research.

This model of teaching comes out of planning?

Yes but it needed adapting for architects and very careful putting together. Dave Crane pushed me at Penn to study regional science, an economic discipline, nicknamed “city physics.” It helped me greatly in connecting form and forces with architects. But at UCLA I taught urban design and brought in experts from various fields. The principal was George Dudley, who I had worked with in New York, and Henry Lu, Peter Kamnitzer, and I were faculty.

I ran the first studio and set the model for interdisciplinary teaching via studio. “Determinants of urban form,” my subject, investigated the forces that make form, and how to design with them. In team studios everyone shared information collected for the project with everyone else and we all shared the project. In that way everyone saw how the whole thing was put together.

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Finally! The 2016 AIA Gold Medal goes to Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown

The AIA has named Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown the winners of the 2016 AIA Gold Medal. The honor, the AIA's highest, goes to architects whose work is likely to have a lasting influence on the practice of architecture, design, and related fields.

The Philadelphia-based architects’ most recognizable works include the 1964 Vanna Venturi House, in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania; the Seattle Art Museum (1985); and the Provincial Capitol Building in Toulouse (1999).

In addition to buildings, they designed furniture, most notably the Chippendale chair, a postmodern take on the ornate Colonial furniture of Thomas Chippendale.

Scott Brown and Venturi co-authored Learning from Las Vegas: the Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form (1977) and Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966), two texts that analyzed postmodernity in architecture and the American landscape. The award, to be bestowed next year, comes on the 50th anniversary of the publishing of the latter text.

The couple works together on most projects. In 2013, the AIA revised its selection criteria to allow the award to be granted jointly, perhaps in response to the Pritzker Prize committee’s famous exclusion of Scott Brown, granting the prize to Venturi only in 1991. A 2013 petition initiated by students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design to retroactively honor Scott Brown (and signed by Venturi himself) was rejected by the committee.

Last year, the AIA granted the gold medal to Moshe Safdie. Venturi and Scott Brown's legacy will be set in stone: each gold medal winner has his or her name chiseled into the granite Wall of Honor at the AIA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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The Denise Scott Brown Effect: AIA Revises Criteria for Gold Medal Award
The AIA Gold Medal Award is the highest honor an architect can receive from the American Institute of Architects. Until now, the award could only be presented to individual architects, but the AIA has just announced that as of January 1, 2014 this prestigious award will be open to an individual or two individuals who have equally collaborated on the design and execution of one distinguished architectural body of work that makes a lasting statement on the theory and practice of architecture. The revision was prompted by the recent controversial campaign, led by a group of passionate young women architects, to retroactively confer the Pritzker Architecture Prize to Denise Scott Brown. Twenty-two years ago the architect was excluded from the award when it was granted to her husband and equal partner, Robert Venturi, in 1999. The Pritzker jury has refused to revisit it’s decision, denying Denise Scott Brown the award. In reference to the AIA's recent revisions to the criteria for the Gold Medal Award, AIA President, Mickey Jacob said in a press release, “This is an idea that has been percolating for several years and we feel that the decision to make this important and historic change better reflects the changing nature of architectural practice that has become increasingly more collaborative. We took a careful, measured approach to the implications that this decision will have on the award itself and we are confident that this is a positive change for the architecture profession going forward.” In the past the AIA Gold Medal has been bestowed upon world-renowned architects such as Louis Sullivan (1944), Frank Gehry (1999), Steven Holl (2012), and this year, to Thom Mayne. This year's Gold Medalist has been recognized for his outstanding designs for projects such as 41 Cooper Square in New York City, The San Francisco Federal Building, and the Giant Group Campus in Shanghai. So far, however, a woman has yet to receive the distinction.
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Pritzker to Denise Scott Brown: No Prize For You, Not Yet At Least (Updated)
Denise-Scott-Brown-Las-Vegas-1972-www.glamcult.com_ Robert Venturi won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1991. His wife and professional collaborator Denise Scott Brown was not recognized, sparking a controversy that has raged ever since. Following a recent round of petitions and editorials calling for a retroactive prize--or some form of recognition—the current Pritzker jury chair, Lord Peter Palumbo, sent a letter on the matter to two current students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Arielle Assouline-Lichten and Caroline James, organizers of the most prominent of the recent petitions. Palumbo made it clear that no retroactive prize was possible: "Insofar as you have in mind a retroactive award of the prize to Ms. Scott Brown, the present jury cannot do so. 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." Palumbo left open the possibility of recognition for Scott Brown. "Let us assure you, however, that Ms. Scott Brown remains eligible for the Pritzker Award. That award is given on the basis of an architect's total body of built work." Palumbo further acknowledged the context of the controversy: "We should like to thank you for calling directly to our attention a more general problem, namely that assuring women and fair and equal place in the profession." A Letter from the Chair of the 2013 Jury of The Pritzker Architecture Prize on Behalf of the Jury June 14, 2013 Ms. Arielle Assouline-Lichten, Ms. Caroline James, Women in Design Harvard Graduate School of Design Cambridge, MA 02138 Dear Arielle Assouline-Lichten and Caroline James, Thank you for sending your petitions and letters, and those of others, about Ms. Denise Scott Brown and the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Insofar as you have in mind a retroactive award of the prize to Ms. Scott Brown, the present jury cannot do so. 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. Let us assure you, however, that Ms. Scott Brown remains eligible for the Pritzker Award. That award is given on the basis of an architect’s total body of built work. Ms. Scott Brown has a long and distinguished career of architectural accomplishment. It will be up to present and future juries to determine who among the many architects practicing throughout the world receives future awards. Not every knowledgeable observer always agrees with the jury’s selection. But the jury will continue to do its best to select solely upon the basis of the quality of the architect’s record. That said, we should like to thank you for calling directly to our attention a more general problem, namely that of assuring women a fair and equal place within the profession. To provide that assurance is, of course, an obligation embraced by every part of the profession, from the schools that might first encourage students to enter the profession to the architectural firms that must facilitate the ability of women to fulfill their potential as architects. We believe that 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. Your communications remind us of this obligation, and we appreciate your sending them. Insofar, however, as they ask us to reopen the decision-making process of a previous jury, we cannot do so. Yours sincerely, Lord Peter Palumbo Chair, On behalf of the Jury of the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize
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MCASD Saved

Rescued Venturi Scott Brown pergola to rise again in a San Diego garden
The La Jolla Historical Society of San Diego, California, has announced final plans for a new public garden it has created that will house repurposed elements of the Venturi Scott Brown Associates' (VSBA) Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) complex. Specifically, the garden will contain one of the two fiberglass and aluminum pergola structures that have been removed from the MCASD complex as part of an increasingly controversial renovation and expansion scheme for the museum by New York City–based Selldorf Architects. The pergola features a dozen rounded, Tuscan-inspired fiberglass columns that support an aluminum trellis designed to evoke a traditional wood pergola. The words “Contemporary Art” are arranged across the horizontal section of the pergola in red capital letters. Originally, the paired structures flanked the north side of the Prospect Street entrance to MCASD to create a pedestrian-oriented seating area at the mouth of the museum where visitors could gather. Only one of the two pergolas was saved from demolition. The pergolas have been cleared away by the Selldorf team in an effort to reorient the building’s main entrance toward a new atrium. In a statement announcing the planned opening of the garden next month, Heath Fox, executive director for the historical society, highlighted the postmodern stylings of the VSBA addition, saying, “We appreciate the significance of VSBA’s postmodern design of the MCASD entry facade, the importance of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown to the history of postmodern architecture, and the fact that this building was the only VSBA project executed in San Diego.” Fox added, “The Society [also] recognizes the important historical relationship between VSBA and the work of early 20th-century architect Irving J. Gill,” the designer behind the original portion of the MCASD campus. In the statement, Fox explained that the organization he helms recognized “the opportunity to save and historically preserve the ‘Contemporary Art’ pergola as an architectural fragment” and that the Society had relocated and restored the pergola to its original conditions with “original materials and [the] same paint colors, including the red ‘Contemporary Art’ lettering.” The Society worked with architect Tony Crisafi of Island Architects, structural engineer Matthew Mangano, and landscape architect Greg Hebert to bring the garden to life. The pergola will now be located in the Society’s lower terrace garden, roughly 300 feet from its original placement and will remain a part of the Scripps-Gill Cultural District. The garden is set to open to the public September 15, 2018.
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Pittsburgh's Postmodern Posterboy

Exclusive: Venturi Scott Brown-designed house suffers secret demolition
Only a month-and-a-half after a colorful Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown-designed house in Shadyside, Pittsburgh was put up for sale, AN has learned that the new owner plans on tearing it down. The Abrams House, commissioned by Irving and Betty Abrams and completed in 1979, is a striking example of Venturi’s playful postmodernist style. One-half of the roof curves and swoops like a cresting wave over the more traditionally-shaped rectangular portion, with a 20-foot-high vaulted ceiling below. The house’s front facade is capped with a window arrangement that resembles both a ship’s wheel as well as the rising sun and is accentuated with green-and-white “rays” emanating from the window assembly. A ribbon window wraps around the house and illuminates the interior, allowing the primary colors used everywhere from the soffits to the furniture to stand out. A mural by Roy Lichtenstein in the living room accentuates the house’s pop art aesthetic. Other than the colorful flourishes, the Abrams House is particularly notable for its location; the house is surrounded by midcentury work from well-known architects, including the Frank House by Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer and the Giovannitti House by Richard Meier. The two-bed, two-and-a-half bath was put up for sale in mid-June of this year for $1.1 million, and the new buyer, Bill Snyder, closed on the building on July 20. Preservationists had briefly hoped that Snyder, who also owns the Giovannitti House, would restore the building, but a demolition permit was filed on July 23. Pittsburgh requires a 15-day wait period between the filing of a demolition permit and the start of work, but an anonymous source has informed AN that the interior of the house has already been gutted. The large Lichtenstein piece has been covered and removed, either causing or revealing significant degradation in the wall behind, and fixtures throughout the house have been cleared out. Snyder had purchased the Giovannitti House from its original owners, Frank and Colleen Giovannitti, in 2017 and is currently restoring the exterior of the home to its original condition. With the demolition of the Abrams House, the entire lot may become a landscaped addition to complement Meier’s building. Brittany Reilly, a board member at the nonprofit Preservation Pittsburgh, has been trying to raise awareness of the house. According to Reilly, the home is a unique piece of architecture for Pittsburgh in a neighborhood full of architecturally-significant houses. The problem? The Abrams House isn’t visible from the street, and Reilly believes that seclusion has led the public to overlook it. The next step for preservationists is to “respectfully” drum up community attention to the demolition. Preservation Pittsburgh has reached out to VSBA Architects & Planners, who were unaware of the demolition, as well as other Pittsburgh-based preservation groups, and is currently trying to establish a dialogue with Snyder. Update: After this story was originally published, the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PHLF) has been working to mount an individual landmark nomination with the Historic Review Commission, planning commission and Pittsburgh City Council before the 15 day period elapses. Denise Scott Brown expressed her displeasure with the demolition reached for comment by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Why does he need to do that? Why doesn’t he save it,” said Brown. “This is not very honorable.” AN will follow this story up as more details become available.