Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi win 2016 AIA Gold Medal Award

The husband and wife architect team—founders of VSBA Architects and Planners—are the award's first joint winners.

December 04, 2015 |
Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi win 2016 AIA Gold Medal Award

Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery, London. Photo: Richard George/Wikimedia Commons

Denise Scott Brown, Hon. FAIA, and Robert Venturi, FAIA, were announced the winners of the 2016 AIA Gold Medal Award.

The award, voted on by the AIA’s Board of Directors, is the highest award the association can offer to an architect, and it “acknowledges a significant body of work that has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture,” according to a statement.

Scott Brown and Venturi, a team that has been married since 1967, have influenced up-and-coming architects over the years through their built work and writings.

Some notable projects that their firm, VSBA Architects and Planners, have worked on are the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, the The Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery in London, the Provincial Capital Building in Toulouse, France, the Seattle Art Museum, and buildings for several universities, including Brown, Ohio State, and Yale.

Venturi wrote the book Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture in 1966, and worked with Scott Brown and architect Steven Izenour on Learning from Las Vegas in 1972. The pair also wrote Architecture as Signs and Systems: for a Mannerist Time in 2004.

“This recognition will resonate with generations of architects,” 2015 AIA President Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA, said in a statement. “What Denise and Bob have done for the profession far exceeds the completion of a great building or two. Through a lifetime of inseparable collaboration, they changed the way we look at buildings and cities. Anything that is great in architecture today has been influenced in one way or another by their work."

The duo has won 17 state and local AIA awards and nine national AIA awards. In 1991, Venturi won the Pritzker Architecture Prize but Scott Brown was excluded; they sought to have Scott Brown honored retroactively in 2013. They will receive the 2016 Gold Medal at the AIA convention in Philadelphia in May. 

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