Join the Center for Architecture for a discussion on the book Denise Scott Brown In Other Eyes: Portraits of an Architect (Birkhäuser, 2022), edited by Frida Grahn.
From the bustle of Johannesburg to the neon of Las Vegas, Denise Scott Brown’s advocacy for “messy vitality” has transformed the way we look at the urban landscape. Unconventional, eloquent, and with a profound sociopolitical message, Scott Brown is one of our era’s most influential thinkers on architecture and urbanism.
Marking the 50th anniversary of the seminal treatise Learning from Las Vegas, the anthology Denise Scott Brown In Other Eyes paints a portrait of Scott Brown as seen through the eyes of leading architectural historians and practitioners. It features new scholarship on her education on three continents, her multidisciplinary teaching, and her use of urban patterns and forces as tools for architectural design.
With contributions by Mary McLeod, Joan Ockman, Sylvia Lavin, Stanislaus von Moos, Jacques Herzog, Robin Middleton, and Denise Scott Brown, among others.
Lynn Gilbert, Documentary Photographer
Frida Grahn, Editor, Denise Scott Brown In Other Eyes: Portraits of an Architect
Cathleen McGuigan, Writer, Editor, and Architecture Critic
Mary McLeod, PhD, Professor of Architecture, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
Susan Nigra Snyder, Partner, Civic Vision
George Thomas, PhD, Architectural Historian; Partner, Civic Vision
About the Speakers:
Lynn Gilbert is a documentary photographer whose pictures has been featured in numerous exhibitions and publications. Her work is represented in the permanent collection of The National Gallery in Washington DC, in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and the New York Historical Society. Gilbert is the author of the book Particular Passions: Talks with Women Who Shaped Our Times, which contains portraits of women pioneering in male-dominated fields, including Denise Scott Brown.
Frida Grahn is an architect and architecture historian based in Zurich. She holds a Master of Science in Architecture and a Master of Advanced Studies in History and Theory of Architecture from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. She is currently a PhD candidate in the history of architecture at the Accademia di Architettura Mendrisio, Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI).
Cathleen McGuigan was the editor-in-chief of Architectural Record from 2011 to 2022. She joined the publication after being the architecture critic and arts editor at Newsweek. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, and Harper’s Bazaar among other periodicals, and she is currently conducting research for a biography of the critic Aline Saarinen. McGuigan serves on various design juries and sits on the Board of Trustees for the Skyscraper Museum in New York and the National Building Museum in Washington.
Mary McLeod is a Professor of Architecture at Columbia GSAPP, where she teaches architecture history and theory, and occasionally studio courses. She has also taught at Harvard University, University of Kentucky, University of Miami and the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies. Her research and publications have focused on the history of the modern movement and on contemporary architecture theory, examining issues concerning the connections between architecture and ideology. McLeod is co-editor of Architecture, Criticism, Ideology and Architecture Reproduction, and is editor of and contributor to Charlotte Perriand: An Art of Living. She also initiated and helped curate the exhibition Charlotte Perriand: Interior Equipment, held at the Urban Center in New York. Her articles have appeared in Assemblage, Oppositions, Art Journal, AA Files, JSAH, Casabella, Art Journal, Harvard Design Magazine, and Lotus, as well as other journals and anthologies such as The Sex of Architecture, Architecture in Fashion, Architecture of the Everyday, Architecture and Feminism, The Pragmatist Imagination, The State of Architecture, Fragments: Architecture and the Unfinished, Architecture Theory since 1968, Oppositions Reader, Le Parole dell’Architettura, and Modern Women: Women Artists at The Museum of Modern Art. She has received numerous fellowships and awards, including a Fulbright Fellowship, NEH award, and grants from New York Council of the Arts and the Graham Foundation.
Susan Nigra Snyder is an architect who for many years taught design studios at the University of Pennsylvania that could have been subtitled “Learning from Denise.” In 1999, she and Steve Izenour applied the “learning from” methods to design studios focusing on Wildwood and Camden, New Jersey. This led to subsequent design studios with George Thomas looking at the city of Las Vegas. Her own work focusing on the dynamic forces of consumption that create the spatial order of contemporary life—from Main Street to strip to mall to big box to fulfillment centers—embraces Denise Scott Brown’s call to engage with the “messy vitality” of everyday life.
George Thomas is a cultural and architectural historian whose world was enlarged by Denise Scott Brown and Bob Venturi since his graduate school years at the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation on the Philadelphia modernist William L. Price concluded with insights from Learning From Las Vegas. Frank Furness: The Complete Works, Revised Edition (Princeton Architectural Press, 1997) and William L. Price: Arts and Crafts to Modern Design (Princeton Architectural Press, 2000) were introduced by Robert Venturi. Beginning in 1986, his consulting firms worked with the Venturi Scott Brown office on a number of award-winning restoration and campus planning projects at the University of Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr, and Bard College. His writings and practice have been continuously invigorated by Denise Scott Brown’s call to engage sociology, history, and human nature in design and history.
Snyder and Thomas are partners in CivicVisions, an urban consulting firm. Together they served as directors of the Critical Conservation program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design Master of Design Studies program until the end of the program in 2022.
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