Denise Scott Brown demands Pritzker recognition
Denise Scott Brown, photo by Frank Hanswijk

Denise Scott Brown demands Pritzker recognition

News: architect Denise Scott Brown has asked to be retrospectively acknowledged for her role in her husband Robert Venturi's 1991 Pritzker Prize.

Speaking in a pre-recorded address at an Architect's Journal Women in Architecture Awards lunch in London last week, where she was an honorary guest, Scott Brown said her exclusion from the prize was "very sad".

"They owe me not a Pritzker Prize but a Pritzker inclusion ceremony. Let's salute the notion of joint creativity," she said.

At the time the prize was awarded, Scott Brown had been a partner at the couple's practice Venturi Scott Brown and Associates for 22 years and had co-authored with Venturi the seminal 1970s text Learning From Las Vegas, which celebrated the garish iconography of the city's sprawling strip and confirmed the pair as leading theorists of postmodernism.

Denise Scott Brown, photo from Archive of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown

Above: Scott Brown outside Las Vegas in 1966; photograph from the Archives of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown
Top: photograph by Frank Hanswijk

In her address, Scott Brown also warned women architects of the continuing fight against the glass ceiling and called on them to embrace their "feminist awareness".

"There are as many women as men in the early stages of architectural practice, but as they move up the ladder, the glass ceiling really hits.

"I say to young women today, don’t cast out your feminist awareness. When the glass ceiling hits you, you will think it is your fault unless you know a bit about feminism, and it will destroy you."

Robert Venturi, photo from Archive of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown

Above: Venturi outside Las Vegas in 1966; photograph from the Archives of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown

The Pritzker jury has awarded a joint prize twice in its history – to Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron in 2001 and to male-female duo Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of Japanese firm SANAA in 2010 – but last year the prize was won individually by Chinese architect Wang Shu, who co-founded his studio with his architect wife Lu Wenyu in 1997.

Zaha Hadid, who in 2004 became the first woman to be named a Pritzker laureate, recently railed against "misogynist" attitudes in British architecture, saying: "I doubt anything has changed much over the last 30 years."

This year's Pritzker Prize was won by Japanese architect Toyo Ito, whose work includes the TOD’S Omotesando Building in Tokyo and Sendai Mediatheque – see all news about the Pritzker Prize.