About this talk

Running time: 39 minutes

Architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown got married in 1967, and have practised architecture together ever since.

Venturi was born in Philadelphia and trained at Princeton University and the American Academy in Rome. Between 1950 and 1958 he worked with Oscar Stonorov, Eero Saarinen (see Wright Started It, Corbu Gave It Form, Mies Added Control) and Louis Kahn before setting up on his own with Cope and Lippincot and Short. In 1964 he was joined by John Rauch and in 1967 by Denise Scott Brown, the three of them together still. His book "Complexity *& Contradiction", published in 1966, won him worldwide recognition.

Scott Brown was born in Zambia and trained at the University Of The Witwatersrand, the AA and the University of Pennsylvania. She worked in various practices in London, Rome and Johannesburg before moving to the USA. She was the widow of architect Robert Scott Brown when she married Venturi.

Both Venturi and Scott Brown have taught and exhibited all over America, the practice winning many awards including the AIA Gold Medal. Both have written extensively about the amazing and contradictory landscape of built America, about the inclusion of the ordinary, about the richness of architectural meaning through the adaptation of conventional forms and through pattern, and about issues of social conditions in their relation to architecture and planning.

All this is elucidated in their talk, illustrated by some of their current work, ranging from an urban plan to a mosque, to a house, to a teapot. In all that they design, the form and spatial quality are very simple, direct and conventional, with the aesthetic excitement coming from the ornamentation, from contrasted scales and from ambiguity.

They have also spoken for us on the subject of their 1972 study of American vernacular, "Learning From Las Vegas" in Update On Their Theories.

Please note that a transcript of this talk is available - please contact us for further details.

Robert Venturi

Denise Scott Brown


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