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The development of the theory of planning class


Robert Scott Brown and how we met
Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown Architect
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[DSB] Robert Scott Brown was killed in 1959. I met Bob in 1960. Now, I was a sorrowing widow much of that time and I’d say in the end Bob was the cure for my sorrow, but at that point, I was trying to keep myself together. I finished school and I started teaching and that’s when I met Bob, and the teaching was just the whole structure for my life.  When we were on vacation my structure broke down. And David Crane was an important person in my life, Robert Scott Brown’s life and mine, when we first came. He was our student adviser and he was a kindred spirit in many ways, not all, but many. And he helped mightily when Robert was killed. I lived with them for about eight weeks. Were you there at that talk? No, did you come with us to that memorial ceremony for Dave Crane? Well, I described to them everything that Dave did for me, by way of having me live with his family and then I got my own apartment when I… and so, at that point, when I met Bob, he and I just talked once and saw each other maybe one or two times. And then Dave Crane was trying to, kind of, help me with my life to some extent and he knew Bob. He’d visited him in Rome and he at one point said to me, ‘You should marry Bob Venturi’. He said, ‘He’s, he’s very…’ I forget what he said, something like, He’s bright and talented but he’s too well heeled to do any good, to have a career and we know what you’re like and you should marry him’. He didn’t, sort of, say you’d help him with his career or anything like that, but he just, sort of, felt we would go together. He said I’m going to ask both of you for dinner one night, which is what he did.

So, we had dinner with Bonnie and Dave Crane, and after that Bob started inviting me out for dinner. And our dates were like that. We had a nice time having dinner together and I described how we… I’d take him to studio. I’d tell him what was happening. And then at faculty meetings, because I was full time and he was part time. By the way, we were paid the same. So, I was paid full time, I was paid a little more but I was paid full time for what he got for part time – shows you what they thought about women. And so, I started saving a place for him at the faculty meetings and a cookie, because the Dean brought cookies to the meetings and they were always gone by the time he got there. So, he had a place and a cookie next to me. And we found we shared a lot of feelings and we’re not the same as the other faculty members, there were a few people in planning and some in art. Not many in architecture that we felt kindred spirits with, art history also, architecture history.

Internationally renowned architects Robert Venturi (1925-2018) and Denise Scott Brown (b.1931) have helped transform contemporary design through their innovative architecture and planning. Winners of numerous prestigious awards, their designs have championed multiculturalism, social activism, symbolism, pop culture, history and evolving technologies.

Listeners: Thomas Hughes

Thomas Hughes is Mellon Professor Emeritus of the History of Science at the University of Pennsylvania and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His most recent books include Human Built World, Rescuing Prometheus and American Genesis. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society, US National Academy of Engineering, Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Duration: 3 minutes, 30 seconds

Date story recorded: 22nd to 23rd September 2006

Date story went live: 27 May 2010