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The National Football Foundation Hall of Fame (Part 2)


The National Football Foundation Hall of Fame (Part 1)
Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown Architect
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[RV] Another important project of the middle late ‘60s was a competition entry for the Football Hall of Fame. And of course, we did not win it, but it was one where we made the building… as a building it was rather like a nave in a Catholic church, and you have the central part and then you have the smaller spaces along the side to make it a kind of… what do you call it?

[DSB] Nave?

[RV] Well, no… the traditional Roman atrium, not Roman…

[DSB] Basilica?

[RV] Basilica.  But we made it a basilica that had a nave and then just had one side and in the inside we had… in the main part we had just sort of a wonderful way through and then in the curved ceiling we had a great big, kind of murals with football players playing in the top. It was a little like a Baroque church with angels and saints flapping around on the top. I’m not sure what the medium was to be. And then in the lower part where the… where the lower part was on the side, we had the equivalent of the chapels that you find, series of chapels in churches. And in those chapels in Italy, usually each chapel is dedicated to a different saint or else a different family that built the chapel and where the family, the counts or countesses or princes or whatever, are buried. Well, in this case, we didn’t have princes, or counts, or saints, we had a famous football player dedicated. Each chapel was dedicated to a famous football player. And then of course, in the Catholic church you also have what are called relics, which would be the toenail of a saint or something like that, that was there and in this case the relic would be the sweatshirt of the player or something like that, the real… the real thing.

So, we had fun doing that, making those analogies. And so you had the combination of the central idea and then of the individual players that would be there. Then on the outside we had a great big… and then on the side which did not have the lower part, we had a great big wall going way high, it was like a billboard. We called it a building board and then in front of that was a big parking lot where people could park to go into the museum, where they could park. And on the façade they could look at different messages that would come via LED, or the equivalent of LED, I hope LED existed then, I think it was beginning.

[DSB] No, it didn’t exist, you invented it.

[RV] Anyhow, that would be a place where there would be changing information over time. So, again, it was the beginning with us of the information age, or architecture as a… as iconographic and as relating to signs…

[DSB] And moving.

[RV] Rather than space, and moving. Naturally, we did not win the competition, but actually, no one won it; they never built it.


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, 27 seconds

Date story recorded: 22nd to 23rd September 2006

Date story went live: 27 May 2010