Denise Scott Brown is a living legend, an insider tip and an icon. She started a revolt against architectural Modernism with the aim of saving modernity. So it is high time for the world's first extensive solo exhibition on the work of this today 87-year-old architect, urban planner, educator and writer.
Since the 1960s, Denise Scott Brown — together with her partner and husband Robert Venturi, with whom she shared an office in Philadelphia/USA — has inspired generations of architects. She redefined the connection between architecture and urban planning, the rules of design, photography and analysis, as well as issues of social responsibility and the everyday and, not least, the possibilities of joint creativity. Her university project on Las Vegas resulted in the ground-breaking book ‘Learning from Las Vegas’, whose impact can still be felt today. Scott Brown’s work has also often even been misunderstood and marginalised. Her undogmatic formal vocabulary, her modest urban interventions, but also her Mannerist escapades and her post-heroic humour are all ripe for rediscovery.
‘Downtown Denise Scott Brown’ is both an exhibition and an urban location. Beneath the brick vaults of the Az W, an urban square of shop portals, café and market stalls unfolds around a monumental and yet mysterious fountain. This is where visitors encounter the fascinating life and work of Denise Scott Brown in the form of original objects, photographs, collages, quotations, plans and videos. The exhibition stretches an arc from her childhood in Africa and her extended field trips around the world, via her famous photographic projects and studies, to her urban planning and architectural work on four continents.
Stroll past the shop windows, delve into surprising details, discuss “Little Big Ideas”, or play hide-and-seek with your children and make yourself into a ‘monument’ before lingering downtown for a while over coffee and cake and the local newspaper.
The exhibition catalogue is published in the form of a guidebook, Your Guide to Downtown Denise Scott Brown. It explains the genesis of the exhibition while leading readers through Denise Scott Brown‘s life and work, accompanied by an extensive and previously unpublished conversation with the architect herself.