No Pritzker recognition for Denise Scott Brown

denise scott brown

The Pritzker Prize jury has rejected a petition for architect Denise Scott Brown to retroactively receive recognition for the award that her husband and partner, Robert Venturi, won in 1991.

Women in Design, a student group at Harvard Graduate School of Design, set up an online petition in April calling for Scott Brown to be recognised as a joint Pritzker Prize laureate with Venturi, and it was quickly signed by a string of high-profile architects including Zaha Hadid and Farshid Moussavi, and Robert Venturi himself.

The campaign followed an address made by Scott Brown earlier in the same month, when she declared: “They owe me not a Pritzker Prize but a Pritzker inclusion ceremony.”

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Chair of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, Lord Palumbo, responded in a letter to the Harvard students who started the online petition, saying that the jury’s organization structure prevents it from making retroactive awards.

“Pritzker juries, over time, are made up of different individuals, each of whom does his or her best to find the most highly qualified candidate. A later jury cannot re-open, or second guess the work of an earlier jury, and none has ever done so,” he wrote.

The letter adds that Scott Brown is not disqualified from receiving the prize in future: “Ms. Scott Brown has a long and distinguished career of architectural accomplishment. It will be up to present and future juries to determine who among the many architects practicing throughout the world receives future awards.”

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