In 1991, Robert Venturi was awarded the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize along with a reward of $100,000. However, Denise Scott Brown -- his wife and creative partner -- was not recognized despite serving as a principal architect at the couple's studio, Venturi Scott Brown and Associates, for 22 years.
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A group called Women In Design is calling to correct this oversight. Comprised of Harvard Graduate School of Design students, recently crafted a petition on Change.org demanding that Ms. Scott Brown be retroactively acknowledged for her work.
In an interview with Architectural Digest Russia, Ms. Scott Brown showed her frustration with the public understanding of the couple's creative collaboration. When asked about the pair's "separation of powers," they responded:
Denise Scott Brown (sarcastically): "Yes, I do the typing, and he does everything else."
Robert Venturi: "That’s what the world thinks."
In a phone conversation with The Huffington Post, Scott Brown expressed her gratitude for the momentum building around her work and legacy:
"Since the 1970's I have been talking about sexism and architecture; it's been a long, long time. They think you can't be a wife and a genius, you can't be a woman and a genius. There are some crazies, which shows you there are a lot of emotions still about women and architecture. But I am very happy; [this petition] makes me in my old age so extremely happy."
The petition, available in full at Change.org, reads:
"Women in architecture deserve the same recognition as their male counterparts... For women's equality to become a reality today, we need to rectify the mistakes of the past. Help change history by demanding equal recognition for equal work."
Notable architects Farshid Moussavi and Hani Rashid have already signed the petition along with Zaha Hadid, the first woman to receive the Pritzker Prize in 2004. To date, nearly 2,000 people have pledged their support for the 82-year-old architect's creative talents.
Learn more on Facebook or use the hashtag #PritzkerForBrown to honor the woman who Martin Filler in the New York Review of Books called "a truly towering figure in the modern history of the building art."
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