Robert Venturi joins call for Pritzker to recognise Denise Scott Brown
Robert Venturi photo by Frank Hanswijk

Robert Venturi joins call for Pritzker to recognise Denise Scott Brown

News: Pritzker Prize-winning architect Robert Venturi is backing a campaign calling for his 1991 accolade to be retrospectively shared with his wife and partner Denise Scott Brown.

Venturi follows a string of architects including Zaha Hadid and Farshid Moussavi to sign the online petition, which calls for Scott Brown to be recognised as a joint Pritzker Prize laureate and has already received over 3000 signatures.

"Denise Scott Brown is my inspiring and equal partner," writes Venturi, who had been working in partnership with Scott Brown at Venturi Scott Brown and Associates (now VSBA) for 22 years at the time of receiving the prestigious prize. While Venturi retired last year, Scott Brown still works at the practice.

Denise Scott Brown

The campaign follows an address made by Scott Brown (above) earlier this month, when she declared: "They owe me not a Pritzker Prize but a Pritzker inclusion ceremony."

The Pritzker organisers have already stated that the petition presents them with an "unusual situation". Martha Thorne, executive director of the prize's committee, told Architecture Magazine: "As you may know, the Pritzker Laureate is chosen annually by a panel of independent jurors. Those jurors change over the years, so this matter presents us with an unusual situation. The most that I can say at this point is that I will refer this important matter to the current jury at their next meeting."

The jury of the 1991 Pritzker Prize mentioned Scott Brown's contribution to Venturi's work in their citation: "[Venturi's] understanding of the urban context of architecture, complemented by his talented partner, Denise Scott Brown, with whom he has collaborated on both more writings and built works, has resulted in changing the course of architecture in this century, allowing architects and consumers the freedom to accept inconsistencies in form and pattern, to enjoy popular taste."

If the campaign is successful, Venturi and Scott Brown won't be the first architects to be receive a joint prize. In 2001 Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron shared the award, while male-female duo Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of Japanese firm SANAA became joint-laureates in 2010.

This year's laureate is Japanese architect Toyo Ito. The prize will be awarded at a ceremony that takes place on 29 May at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. See all news about the Pritzker Prize.

Photography is by Frank Hanswijk.