For 50 years Denise Scott Brown has shaped the course of architecture. It's time for the world's first extensive solo exhibition on the work of this 86-year-old architect, urban planner, educator, and writer.
Denise Scott Brown is an icon in contemporary architecture discourse. Through her architectural theory and practice, Scott Brown – together with her partner and husband Robert Venturi – has influenced designers and thinkers worldwide since the 1960s.
Scott Brown has been a staunch critic of the late 20th century Modernism that ignored context and history. Accepting and working with existing systems, the city as a layered palimpsest, is central to her urbanist and theoretical work. As a younger generation of architects again embraces this complexity, Scott Brown’s undogmatic formal vocabulary, her modest urban interventions, her illuminating photographic analyses, and her mannerist escapades are all ripe for rediscovery.
Scott Brown’s role and achievements have been overlooked and marginalized. Decades after Venturi alone was awarded the Pritzker Prize for their shared work, a petition to similarly recognize Scott Brown garnered 20,000 signatures and global attention. Their fight continues for recognition of joint creativity and the contributions of women in architecture.
‘Downtown Denise Scott Brown’ celebrates Scott Brown’s ideas and impact by creating an ersatz urban environment in the Architekturzentrum Wien’s exhibition hall – a fantasy fountain square with imaginary shops and signs celebrating the wide universe of Scott Brown’s life and work. Exuberant ‘shop windows’ display archival objects, photographs, collages, quotations, plans, and videos. The exhibition’s focus spans from her childhood in Africa to her travels around the world – from her photographs, writings, and ground-breaking studies like Learning from Las Vegas to her urban planning, advocacy, and architectural work on four continents.
Immerse yourself in Scott Brown’s fascinating life and ideas while you hang out and take a restful break, letting the scenic urban life of the Brunnenplatz roll calmly past. And be sure to explore the interactive digital fountain at the centre of the square – where, in the spirit of Las Vegas and Denise Scott Brown, you can become the monument!
Concept and design: Jeremy Tenenbaum with Denise Scott Brown