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Denise Scott Brown recognised with 2017 Jane Drew Prize

Denise Scott Brown
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A quarter of a century after the Pritzker Prize failed to recognise Denise Scott Brown alongside her partner Robert Venturi, the architect has been awarded the Jane Drew Prize

Scott Brown’s receipt of the prize is a culmination of the grassroots drive to see her contribution to the profession adequately recognised – a movement that sprung from the Women in Architecture campaign back in 2013.

Speaking about this to the AJ, Scott Brown said: ‘I’m a bit punch drunk on the whole subject of prizes as you can imagine given my history with them.

‘But things have happened which have made me very happy in my old age, and one of those is this prize and the petition which came out of the AJ’s work.’

Scott Brown, who is seen by many as one of the founders of Postmodernism, co-authored the seminal book Learning from Las Vegas with husband and business partner Robert Venturi. In 1991, the Pritzker Prize then recognised him for his work but not Scott Brown.

Denise Scott Brown

Denise Scott Brown

A young Denise Scott Brown in Las Vegas

A petition to overturn this was launched after an address by Scott Brown at the 2013 Women in Architecture Luncheon, but the Pritzker would not backtrack on its earlier decision.

Although unsuccessful in overturning the Pritzker jury’s decision, the petition did change the course of architectural history with other prizes, including the AIA Gold Medal, altering their criteria to allow recognition of partners.

Scott Brown added: ‘I was very touched by the Pritzker petition – and that is my prize in the end. 20,000 people wrote from all over the world and every one of them called me Denise.

‘It is probably one of the reasons why the AIA finally shifted and allowed the prize to be given to two people.’

Those filling out the AJ/AR’s annual Women in Architecture survey overwhelmingly voted for Scott Brown to be recognised with the prestigious prize.

The lifetime achievement award recognises an architectural designer who through their work has raised the profile of women in architecture.

Christine Murray, editor-in-chief of The Architectural Review and The Architects’ Journal, said: ‘Denise Scott Brown’s wonderful architectural writing and thinking, her work and her wit has been an inspiring force for change. This honour squares the circle.’

Denise Scott Brown

Denise Scott Brown

Vanna Venturi house by Venturi Scott Brown

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Readers' comments (1)

  • My congratulations to Denise , I had the privilege as a very young and green ! architect to work in the office of Denise and Bob in the late 60's , at the time they were making " Learning from Las Vagas " with Steven Izenour , and John Rauch kept some " order " ! , he later retired and is a painter .
    Denise Scott Brown has a very engaging and powerful mind , as of course her husband Bob ( Robert Venturi ) has , it was a very inspirational time and in a way I think I may have missed the significance of what was being created , being just a young fella ! , I never forget the experience and I wish Denise every good wish and Bob of course .
    John Meagher , deBlacam and Meagher .

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