The Philadelphia School, deterritorialized


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Denise Scott Brown

Oral history interview with Denise Scott Brown

2012.03.28 16:09
Re: Traditional Architecture
"But Lou and Arthur were on my roof talking, so that Lou could meet this interesting South African architect, which was very nice. I was a young widow living in Philadelphia and living at Penn. And I seemed to have been an unwitting member of all sorts of situations, which I didn't know what was happening, but had some intuitive feelings of things happening. Which were men--married men and unmarried men--who were seeming--it seems as if I had figured in their lives in some sort of way that I wasn't quite sure of, and I didn't want to know about. That is, I wasn't interested in the side of being a young, single woman, experienced--I had been married already -- and of interest to a range of different people on the faculty and around. So within that sort of context, Lou was interested in me in that way, too. It's something a woman professional learns about. Men have other interests in her than as a professional. Oskar Stonorov was like that. I thought I was being invited to dinner to talk about Le Corbusier, and I discovered that that wasn't his agenda. But it had been my agenda. When I met Oskar Stonorov, I thought of him as the American version of Ernö Goldfinger, and Ernö Goldfinger was an English version of Oskar Stonorov. They were very similar people. And sure enough, Oskar Stonorov suggested--he said, "Oh, yes. I remember Ernö Goldfinger. He was the one who couldn't draw." [laughs] Just the sort of thing Ernö would have said. Anyway, what I'm saying is nothing happened in any of these situations, because I was just not -- that wasn't my role in life. In other words, if I got invited for dinner by Stonorov, who had a wife, and I thought I was being invited to talk about Le Corbusier and architecture, and I found that that probably wasn't what he had in mind--what he had in mind, I would not let become very explicit. And there was something like that with Lou, too. But what are you going to say? Later he took up with Harriet, and he had been with Ann [Tyng]. He didn't manage to have a relationship of any sort of sexual nature with me, though he would have liked to. And I was just the kind of person he was attracted to. Now, that's one of the sort of things I should probably restrict. It's pertinent, but it isn't. I never know quite whether those things..."
--Denise Scott Brown

2013.05.22 11:28
What are the cultural ingredients of architecture today?
I attended a Denise Scott Brown lecture back in the (early-mid) 90s. She used the word 'boring" several times, as in, "Here's another boring plan." During the Q&A I wanted to ask, "So, are you trying to tell us that a bore is more?"

2013.06.16 12:45
Pritzker jury will not revisit decision to exclude Denise Scott Brown
Perhaps there is always somewhat of a divide between 'History' (written, taught and then regurgitated) and what all actually happened. The Pritzker Prize falls in the category of 'History' and at a divide from all that actually happened. For me personally, the Prize is not at all the point, pointless really; I'm much more interested in learning what all actually happened.
In a most ironic way, Scott Brown is apt to receive much more attention by not getting formal recognition from the Pritzker. Does she herself even realize that she's been wearing the ruby slippers all along?
Checking the Zeitgeist, it's just about time for Scott Brown to write The Autobiography of Robert Venturi (just like Gertrude Stein wrote The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas). I, for one, would love to read about a ground-breaking 20th century designer, a real architect's architect, and his marriage to a staunch theory-into-practice colleague.

excerpts from:
Oral History Interview with Denise Scott Brown
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
Oral History Interview with Denise Scott Brown
at the Offices of Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates
Manayunk, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
October 25, 1990 - November 9, 1991
Interviewer: Peter Reed

PR: Sant'Elia.
DSB: Sant'Elia. Sant'Elia was another hero. So these were great discoveries, and things that were against what the faculty believed in, and all that. I say that, because later, when I got to Penn, those were all of what was sitting in textbooks. The great discoveries were around Herbert Gans, on social questions. The "eyes which will not see" that Le Corbusier decried, Herb Gans was applying to social reality. Architects won't face social reality. It was a very interesting reversal. Peter Land already then began sending these messages from America. And at the AA, we were very surprised to find in 1957, it must have been, illustrations of a building by an architect we'd never heard of, in of all places, America. It was Brutalist and we just couldn't understand how it could possibly be. And the architect was -- gosh, fifty-seven years old. Old! Because we were twenty-two or twenty-three -- something like that. Maybe a little bit older by that time. Of course it was Lou Kahn, and the building was the Trenton Bath House. He hadn't done the medical school yet. It was the Trenton Bath House.
PR: And he had done the Yale Art Gallery, by then.
DSB: We hadn't seen that, and it didn't look to us understandably Brutalist. But when we first saw that Trenton Bath House, it was a Brutalist building. Now it's a very symmetrical building, and yet it still -- so there must have been elements of that symmetry somewhere around the Smithson's work, that keyed in for us, at that point. And it's heaviness. And then the brilliance of its plan, which I still think is very brilliant. And the simplicity of it. It seemed like an early Greek temple -- like Paestum, for example. That's what it felt like to us. So that was really exciting. By that time, I had made contact with Peter Smithson quite a lot. And here again, I must step back a bit in the story, because I'd finished my thesis, and I was back at the AA taking a course in tropical architecture.
PR: Just to continue in that line, are you saying that other architects -- other Post-modern architects -- in this sort of literal translation from semiotics to architecture, developed a kind of facade pastiche, in that sense of playing with forms?
DSB: Yes, and didn't get at it inately through what architecture is all about.
PR: Which would be more of perhaps the functionalist essence of some of the brutalist training you had, in a sense?
DSB: Yes. And now, recently, Bob is saying that basically architecture is making shelter. And aesthetic and a philosophy should come out of that, even if it says that you don't always just make shelter. You see, when we talked about the decorated shed, we talked about decoration and the shed -- both interest us. I think that the present -- what do they call themselves? -- the Deconstructivists, who are philosophers, are forgetting about the shed part of architecture. Frank Gehry wants to make everything like a shed, but they forget about the sheltering. A shed is basically shelter. And we've seen ourselves in some kind of a suspense relationship. An oscillation -- a tension -- between shelter and decoration. We haven't just abrogated the tension between the two. They seem to be.
PR: And is Gehry too much a sculptor, then, perhaps?
DSB: I don't want to preempt what Bob is saying, so you should look at his tape, but he would say, "They leave the elements of architecture out in the rain, they have to cover them with so much flashing," and we're thinking about that right now in our work, and we're writing about that. So I don't want to say too much here, because it'll come out in writing. But I've always said there's a creative tension for us between functionalism and symbolism. And if you lose that tension of functionalism, you lose some strength. But you abrogate it, and then you reassert it, and that oscillation gives tension.
PR: Very nice.
DSB: We are at a position where we haven't quite brought me back to South Africa, even.
PR: Nor to Philadelphia. [laughs]
DSB: Yes. And we haven't gotten me to Philadelphia yet. And yet, it's getting late. If you can remember where we are, I have to bring us back via England to South Africa. It's important that, because I saw all of my friends in England once more. And that was the time when they discovered -- you see, it was 1957 it came out -- the Lou Kahn work that I was talking about.
PR: The Trenton Bath House?
DSB: The Trenton Bath House. Yes. And that was the time when -- I remember actually where we were standing. We were standing in the AA in the gallery, and someone had a copy of this magazine with this Trenton Bath House in it, and interested Brutalists gathered around, and we all looked at it, and said, "What is this? It's very interesting. Who is this person?" I then, also -- I'm trying to think. I then talked with Peter Smithson, at that stage, because I had heard about Team 10, and what happened at CIAM. And I said, "Surely you're not against CIAM. It was wonderful what they did." And he said, "No, no. It's this latter day group, who've become just promoters -- self promoters and journalists. And that's what we're against." And that's when I was back in England, preparing to leave England and go home.
DSB: Yes. They decided to take -- we went through Europe coming to America. We had a family tour through Europe, with my small sister and my brother. We went to Brussels, and we saw the Brussels Fair. And we went to Salzburg. We saw Wolfram, who was at a school there, which --

PR: Did you see the Philadelphia model at the Brussels Fair?

DSB: Yes, I did. I found it almost impossible to understand. Very difficult to concentrate on it. Almost impossible to understand. But I saw very interesting other things at the Brussels Fair. And I missed out seeing Victor Horta in Brussels. I asked if Victor Horta was available to be seen there, and they said, "It's all demolished," which, of course, was a lie. So we didn't see what we should have seen in Brussels. We went on to Salzburg. Wolfram was in a school being run by Konrad Wachsmann in Salzburg, so we met Wachsmann there, which was very interesting for what happened later. And Wachsmann was speaking English. And for that school there, and at Wolfram's request, we gave a slide show of slides we had made in South Africa, and Robert gave it in German, which was terrific. And it was very nice being with young German architects again, with Wolfram. And I think we went through Germany, as well. And we saw -- I think at that stage, also, we visited another architect that Robert had met on his trip to London. A German architect, Egon Eiermann.
PR: Almost to Philadelphia. [laughs]
DSB: Almost to Philadelphia. And we arrived in eighty degree weather, on September 18. We left our stuff at the hotel, went immediately to Philadelphia, set up on a mattress on the floor in the Sauers' living room, which is where I first lived in Philadelphia. But before we did even that -- went straight from this train station to the University of Pennsylvania. Now, you see, I knew it was cold in America, so I was wearing my persian lamb black coat, and a felt hat. And I sat and sweltered in this line in the eighty degrees, waiting to register at the University of Pennsylvania. Now, just before we did that, Eric Hultberg, who was also a young architect that we met in Venice -- he'd been, I think, in our group. He had a Scottish wife. He was Norwegian. We went first to him, and he was in the landscape school. And he said, "I'll take you to my professor first." So, the first professor I met at Penn was Ian McHarg, and he unscrupulously tried to seduce us into the landscape program. He said, "What are people like you doing going to city planning? You should be in landscape." We said, "No, no. We want to be with Lou Kahn." And he gave up. He said, "If you're talking that way, and you should be in planning, go and see David Crane." So we went to see David Crane, and he said, "Hello, Robert. Hello, Denise. Welcome to the planning school." And he had been, without our knowing it, made our student advisor. And having waited in this line to register with him -- sweltering in this coat and hat, I took them off -- and we sat down, and there was an immediate meeting of minds. And within five minutes, he called up, and to our surprise -- because he was new to the advising thing, too, he said, "I have a remarkably advanced and mature couple of students here. Can I please give them a year and a half course instead of a two year course?" And the reason for that was that I had said to Dave, "We want to have a child. I want to be pregnant and finish my course at the time I have a baby. And I don't want to have to spend two years." In fact, we had in mind that we were spending one semester. We didn't tell Dave that. And we were using it as a way to get aware of what was happening in America, the way being in summer school had helped us learn about Italy -- far more than we'd ever managed as tourists anywhere else. So, I had worked out that being in a school was a way to teach you about a country in a way that you'd never learn any other way. And boy, was I right about planning school.
PR: So, you intended to go back to South Africa?
DSB: We intended to work a bit in America, and then to find a way to work as architects in Africa. Not necessarily in South Africa. Perhaps for the United Nations. We didn't want to be in the situation we were in in South Africa. But if we were going to go back to South Africa, we felt we would fall foul of the government, and we wanted a lot of education to bring something worth having -- our own support system, and a contribution to the country before we went back. All that changed. But, as we talked with Dave Crane, we were asking the same questions that he was asking. "How do cities change?" And I began drawing what they had drawn for me in CIAM -- that old cities renew in a spiral, from their center, outward. And he was transfixed by all of this. He was asking just the same questions. "Why?" I didn't know. Putting together all of these influences has been an a posteriori jigsaw puzzle for me. I think things were happening in Harvard that you don't hear about out of Harvard. Someone told me that Kevin Lynch, like Bob Venturi, wrote only a very small piece of what he actually taught. And that at Harvard at the time, was a lot of study of what they called determinants of urban form. How does a form become the way it is from the society it's in, from the technology? And Arthur Korn had talked that way, when he said, "History builds the town." Sekler [?] once said something that made me think that much more of this happened than I knew. He said, "I've been listening to this kind of thing for so many years." He said it sort of angrily. And there was someone else who told me that who'd been at Harvard. He said, "You know, all of these questions were being asked at Harvard, but Kevin Lynch was maybe the studio master for the students who were asking them." But he never wrote about that. Dave Crane was asking those same questions. Dave was out of Harvard. You know, the school Holmes [Perkins] put together was -- a lot of it was stolen from -- I'm not saying that critically. Borrowed from, used by -- whatever -- from Harvard. So, we said to Dave, "We think from what we've learned from our friends, we shouldn't be in this department. We should really be getting a masters in architecture, because that's where Lou Kahn teaches. No one told us that. The catalogs said he teaches in planning."
PR: You said before that you knew about Kahn's Trenton Bath House. What about his publications on his Philadelphia studies -- his city plans for Philadelphia?
DSB: I think all of that was published later.
PR: Some of it was published in Perspecta -- The Yale Journal. And maybe that didn't make its way.
DSB: What year?
PR: 1952, '53 and '57.
DSB: Are you sure it was then?
PR: Yes. But I was just thinking, maybe it didn't make its way to London.
DSB: No. It didn't make its way.
PR: Smithson maybe learned about it more when he came over here.
DSB: It made its way into Team 10 Primer.
PR: Yes.
DSB: And that's where we saw it for the first time.
PR: Okay
DSB: And Team 10 Primer -- I can't remember when it came out. It was published in America considerably later. It was an issue of Architectural Design. I should say that Architectural Design was the source for Brutalist thinking. It published the Smithsons the most, and it published Team 10 Primer. We should find out when that was, because that certainly had Lou Kahn in it then.
PR: Okay. I was just curious if you remembered that -- if you knew about his plans -- his Philadelphia plans -- before coming over here. If that was part of his reputation.
DSB: I can't remember. It may have been. We just need to see when Team 10 Primer was published by Architectural Design, and I keep telling Papadakis that he has a very important role in all of this because of being the first place where it was published, and that they should celebrate that. They had forgotten that. He didn't know that even.
PR: My sense is -- I can't remember. I'll look it up.
DSB: Tell me next time, because I should confront that, and tell you what I really did know. It's hard to remember.
PR: My thought is that it came out after you were here.
DSB: I think it did, too.
PR: I think you would have come before. But Smithson had visited Lou, I think.
DSB: Yes.
PR: Before you came.
DSB: Absolutely. Because that's why he told me. But by the time I came here, the Smithsons were saying, "Lou Kahn's early Beaux Art training is pulling him down. He's not doing what we're doing anymore." Quite soon after I got here, I think that started to happen. And, of course, there was also Reyner Banham's book, which I found very difficult to read. I think that American liberal arts training and the American way of teaching architectural history prepared architects much better than the English way of training architects, or the South African, to deal with, kind of, history, theory, etcetera, etcetera. No theory was taught except historical theory at the AA or in my school in South Africa. Of course no theory was taught here, really. Maybe Bob's course on theories in architecture was a very early teaching [of theory], and before that, aesthetics, apparently, was taught through philosophy. There's the whole question of how criticism moved from philosophy to history in architecture. People like Gideon were critics, as well as historians, and makers of schools, too. Although academic historians would criticize this role. I don't think it's to be criticized. I think it's to be seen as one of the roles, but not the only role. I wrote an article called "The Teaching of Architectural History," which tried to deal with this. But what's happened recently is the theorists have now moved back into philosophy. The latest books of architectural theory have to give you a cram course in philosophy before they tell you history.
PR: [Unclear]. [laughs]
DSB: Yes. Otherwise you don't know how to. John Whiteman -- the head of the S.O.M. Institute in Chicago, who I heard recently at the Conference on Architectural Research at Harvard, that I was at last month -- when I said, "Our trouble is we just don't understand you, John." He said, "Our trouble is that we've read different books." He's right. They're all reading books on philosophy now. But, as I say, with Dave Crane it was a meeting of the minds. I later, as an academic at Penn, looked at my folder -- my student folder --and I found a letter from Dave Crane saying, "I abominate the architectural tradition that these people come from -- these two students come from" -- meaning the English townscape tradition -- "but they look interesting, and perhaps we better admit them." And at the bottom of the letter, I put, "You never can tell, can you?" And I signed it Denise Scott Brown. I put that on about 1962. I think we could end there. Where we start will be describing the courses that we, in fact, took at Penn.
PR: Very good. [end of side one, tape four] Third interview, November 16, 1990
PR: So, there's not a strict boundary between the office and home.
DSB: No. There can't be. And we used to say that all we do is raise our kid and do our work and go home to bed. It's changed a little since then, because we're not actively raising our kid anymore. He's raising hell in New York. [laughs] And we are at a distance, but he's nineteen now. So, we're doing our work. And I've recently discovered that I must take a little work home every night, if I am to survive at the moment. So, I've just now started working at night at home, as well as all day and all weekend, and eeking out any little bit of time that I can, to get it all done, that I have to do. So, now we were going to start on the nature of the course that we came into at Penn. And I've described that at some length in two articles. One was called "Between Three Stools." It's dated about 1981 or 1982. And the other one was called "Worm's Eye View of Recent Architectural History." But more in the "Between Three Stools" article describes the kind of course there was at the University of Pennsylvania, that I found so intriguing. I think I've said in that article that I couldn't believe at the end of the first semester, that I had lived my life without all that information which seems so central to the way my mind was beginning to work, to the questions that I'd brought from all the travelling that I'd done.
PR: Well, since you have covered that experience quite well I mean, quite in depth in those articles, perhaps I could ask you some questions about people at Penn that maybe have figured less in those articles. I'm thinking of several. For example, Lewis Mumford. You mentioned in our last session, I think, that when Robert died, he was somebody who was very kind to you.
DSB: Yes.
PR: Was he still teaching at Penn when you were there?
DSB: He was there as a visiting professor for one semester. Maybe it was for a year. And the first semester, he had seen us maybe at our New City Punjab jury. And he had noticed Robert. You see, Robert was very impressive in those things. In the next semester, when I was -- no, it must have been that he had been there for one semester, the year before -- and then he'd come back for a semester the next year. He probably spent one semester a year at Penn, so he was back and he was living in a little house on Sansom Street. It could have been the one that's now the White Dog Cafe, if I remember correctly. For some reason, I brought my students to visit him and talk with him while he was teaching at that time. I think that I had seen him before and he'd asked me what happened to Robert. He said, "How's your husband?" I said, "He died." And he was very upset. But he was able to speak about it, which most people couldn't do. And that was very helpful to me. And then I realized he could do it because he had lost a young son about that age himself. Jumping backward and forward: he introduced me to a young woman -- did I tell you this story, where he said, "I want to introduce you to a young woman who is my very good friend, who happens also to be my daughter." And that was very nice. I liked that. As a child of a father, I was very intrigued by that notion. I also was invited by them to dinner at that house.
PR: In upstate New York?
DSB: No, in Philadelphia. He was, I think, one of the few faculty members who ever asked me for dinner. Most of the faculty members, after the initial period, in which I was very kindly treated -- But, you know, we're kind of jumping ahead a little, I suppose. Well, it depends. I suppose that's okay. What happened was that Robert was killed at the end of the first semester. I think I said that in the article. So that it is in order to do it this way. So, after I had dinner with them, I think -- or maybe before -- I had the students there. In preparation for the students' visit, I think, was when we talked about the fact that Robert had been killed. And then after that, he gave me a great many of his books to be sent to the University of Witwatersrand, in memory of Robert, which, I thought, was very nice. I would imagine someone like Mumford acquires whole libraries in a short space of time, and then divests himself of those libraries, and gets on with more libraries. So, he looks for a good place to send the library. Some of them would be review copies. Others his own books. But all of them -- now they are -- I would imagine he wants to travel lightly, or he wanted to. So, that was a very moving time for me. The other faculty members -- Dave Crane -- when Robert was killed, and when I came back to Philadelphia -- had me to stay with them for three weeks, as I was looking to find a new place to live. He was very kind then, too. But after that -- it was as if I never was really part of the faculty, in that they all lived out in the suburbs and I lived in West Philadelphia. Juries and crits would go on to one at night sometimes. The students would say, "Can we help you get home? Can we escort you home?" The faculty wouldn't say, "Denise, do you need a lift?" And I remember once Holmes Perkins seeing me at the end of a jury, and Ian McHarg -- seeing the two of us together, we'd be on a jury -- he said, "Ian, I can give you a lift home. I'm going your way." [laughs] The same thing -- once there was a visiting lecturer, and I had been talking after the lecture with LeRicolais, and he said, "Robert, would you come along to our house for a drink? We want to have a discussion with the lecturer." And I was, at that time, a professor in his school. But he just ignored my existence. I felt like saying, "Yes. And I would like to come along, too, thank you." Since then, I, too, live the suburban life and I'm very busy, and don't necessarily think of the needs of some of the people around me. And maybe it's easy to do that in this society. I'm not sure. I noticed it very much at the time. But I did have a lot of friends among the students, and I was able to -- I then started to lead the kind of life I lead now. I worked all the time. And in the beginning, after I lost my husband, if I didn't work, I'd sort of fall to pieces. So that working -- in that five years, I put my head down, and I worked very hard, and I formed an expertise in my field. And that stood by me for all this time. That time of teaching, going to a lot of extra courses as an auditor, while I was teaching, being very much involved in the debate about Civil Rights, that was going on in the school, and teaching myself how to run inter-disciplinary problems. If I had not taught at Penn, and had gone into, say, a planning office, I wouldn't have had the experience of -- Dave Wallace described it this way. He said, "Running studios is like putting together a planning agency, with all the initial problems of disciplines and integration and hand-holding that this involves, once every four months." So, I had that experience once every four months. And it gave me a basis for much of the theorizing, much of the writing, and much of the practicing I've done since. So I wouldn't have missed that.
PR: Your course at Penn was on theories of urban design? Is that right?
DSB: Well, I ran two different things. I should tell you one other little thing. I didn't work for an architect, all the time I was teaching at Penn. The first summer I was teaching -- the first summer between the two terms -- between the first and the second year -- I got myself a job with a local architect, Mickey Schwartz. And he said, "Call me on the Monday morning before you come in." I had made the arrangement three or four weeks before. And when I called, he said, "Sorry. The job didn't come through. I don't have a job for you."
PR: So you were left hanging.
DSB: Exactly.
PR: And then what?
DSB: I was outraged, but I didn't do anything. I don't think I'd do that with someone who was working here -- who wanted to work here. But at that point, I merely set about preparing for my next studio, and doing a lot of photographing in Philadelphia. I think I went as an assistant to the ACSA teacher's seminar in Cranbrook. I did that once as a participant and once as an assistant.
PR: Those are the Cranbrook conferences on education?
DSB: Yes. I helped Dave Crane set up one, and I was a participant in the one before that. All sorts of chickens come home to roost. We've recently been interviewed by Cranbrook, with the possibility of working for them as architects. And I had all my early slides from that time, to show there. We hope we will work there. Other summers, I did other kinds of consultancy work. But I didn't work for an architect. The profession is such that women aren't going to be heads of offices and going to get good jobs with a lot of responsibility, even now, with ease. And at that time, much less. So, my trying to work three months of the year as a young person of twenty-eight, didn't lead to much. I probably did well to do what I did instead.
PR: Probably more fruitful than drawing details of something.
DSB: Yes. That's right. We were talking about -- you had asked me to say what it was I taught. I had the best of both worlds. In a way, I taught the architects about planning, and the planners about architecture. But not quite. I had three responsibilities. Or, you could say, four. I ran an introduction to urban design for non-architects. And I ran a course in theories of architecture planning and landscape architecture for architects. And that course was such that various members of the faculty gave the lectures. I might give one or two lectures myself, but they gave the majority of the lectures. And I ran the seminars between the lectures and studio, that helped them understand enough about the lectures to use them creatively in studio. And also had them do what Holmes Perkins had wanted the course to be -- drawing exercises, which meant drawing buildings by other architects of subjects, of uses -- building types -- related to what they were going to do in studio. So that if you were doing a school in studio, you brought them photographic boards of schools by Mies Van Der Rohe or Perkins and Will, or whatever. And then they drew those, and they learned about schools that way. Well, one semester of doing that, I couldn't stand it. And Holmes also said, "You can't use any traditional examples, because they're going to have to learn how to build in steel and glass. So don't use traditional examples, either." Well, I finally said -- and the students hated it. They called it busy work. They didn't want to do it. They didn't like the mounted pictures on boards that were all pre-cut for them, and everything. So, I went to Andy Andrade, who was the first year studio master. And he said -- the second year, when Holmes wasn't breathing down my neck anymore -- he said, "You do it your way." Well, you must remember that I was also teaching the New City Studio at Penn with Dave Crane at that time, and Bob and I had started dating and comparing notes. And I was in his office a fair amount of the time. We were talking, also, about history and historical examples. And I started listening to Bob's course, which happened the semester after my course, so having sat through all the lectures by all the other people, and given some and run the seminars, I then went and sat and listened in on his lectures, which were very exciting. Now, at that point, when Andy said, "Just forget what Holmes says," I began putting together studies that they could do to help them interpret how to do housing after having heard Bob's lecture. Bob's course was -- he taught theories, not theory. He took elements of architecture -- the Vitruvian elements, and then some more. I can't remember. Is it Durand that he was sent to? No. Guadet -- I think, by Holmes Perkins, to think about elements. He would use, say, the letting in of light -- light -- as one of the elements. Circulation would be another. Structure would be another. So, how would they relate what Bob Venturi said last week on light, to their problem of a townhouse in Philadelphia? Well, I would devise a study topic. And I have those. No one's ever thought to ask me to show them.
PR: That's kind of precisely what I was going to get at. I was going to ask you to describe one of your seminars, or perhaps, one of the most memorable projects that you assigned, and how you went about doing it.
DSB: Well, let's take the one about housing, although I had to devise one for schools, and I had to devise one for whatever project they needed. About one a week. But the one for housing -- I took everything I felt about housing, and I put it as a series of questions. And then I also took everything Bob had been saying about lighting -- or maybe about structure, or whatever it was -- and I put those as a series of questions about housing. I said, "These are the things you need to think about when you're doing housing. And here are a set of examples that I want you to look at." I chose houses like the Villa Savoie. There wasn't any Vanna Venturi house yet. I also sent them to look at the architettura minore of Venice. There was a wonderful book we had on that in the library. The minor architecture of Venice, which is lots of little houses. Lots of little townhouses. Heavy stone things. Not the steel and glass. But they also looked at Philip Johnson's house for the Rockefellers, etcetera. I said, "Take one of these questions and find your own examples. Here are some, but find some others, and show how these deal with this question." The question, for example, could be, "How do you get light deep into a row house?" Or "How do you deal with the fact that the housing is so public, and yet needs some privacy? What kind of privacy? The illusion of privacy? The reality of privacy? More privacy in the back than in the front?" So, they each had a sort of topic full of questions, which they then had to go and illustrate. Now, when they came to deal with their design of housing, they were much more powerful. They had a whole extra vocabulary of thought about housing that they hadn't had before. And I think we proved that, because when Bob and I left, they stopped that course, and performance in studio went way down. So, I've always believed in the existence of sort of an interpretive -- Bob's course dealt with historical subject matter, and dealt with it non-chronologically, and comparatively. If you're dealing with a lecture on structure -- theories of structure -- he compared the early Christian view of the place of structure in architecture with Gothic. With a Modernist. And at the very end of that, he said what he felt. The pieces that he felt, to some extent became Complexity and Contradiction, but I've often wondered what would have happened if he had the chance to write the whole book -- not just the pieces -- his practitioner's view of the history of architecture seen in a theoretical bent, would have been a marvelous course and a wonderful book. And again, most of the students that we taught had had history of architecture courses, given by people like [Vincent] Scully and [William] Jordy. So they knew the material. It was very fascinating for them to learn how to professionalize the material, through Bob.
PR: Take it out of its chronological context and historical --
DSB: And its academic context. Use it not for study, but for doing. And I've seen that as a model for education -- professional education. Not only in history of architecture, but in urban sociology, for example. You have to look at the same material the urban sociologist is deriving for sociological purposes, and interpret it for urban design purposes or architectural purposes. That's, I think, one of the things that I like to do. That's me being a link.
PR: Was your course at Penn -- were these courses -- the two courses on theory -- one that you and Bob taught, and yours as well -- were they controversial?
DSB: They were loved by many students. Students found a lot to think about there, and I would find that I was in demand to come up and be in the studio. And also, I'd be around in the evenings. I was too lonely to be at home, and I was preparing my course work, and I was working away, but I'd end up giving crits at night in the studio. And again, I had a different way of looking at problems from my urbanistic -- growing urbanistic -- view point. So the students, I think, were fascinated. Some of them didn't like the busy work side of the thing. They didn't like being "made to do all those little drawings by Denise. And so some of them boycotted it to some extent. But in general, people liked it. I tried to give them a lot of independence. "You choose the examples. You find one that's suitable for your needs as a designer. What is it you're trying to do? Now, go and find some examples which are pertinent." So, they had a sense of buying into the process. I've also formed a lot of pedagogical theories from doing this. One of them is that you really have to ham. You have to ham your preferences. You mustn't just like things. You must be seen to like things. And if you like them, they'll like them. And if you have enthusiasms, they'll have enthusiasms. So you have to ham it a little. And I learned a lot from Bill Wheaton on how to ham. That's one thing. The other thing is you have to get architects to read. If they're not going to be facile architects, they must read. And more than the book that -- each architect reads a book, and then drapes the whole of an architectural career on one book. But to get them to read, you kind of have to trick them. The reading must be absolutely necessary for them in order to do their design. Or else there has to be some sense that they have a great opportunity to form a philosophy, through this reading. And I've said to them on occasion, "You're not going to get much time to read in this school. You're not going to get much time to read in practice. Here's an opportunity I'm giving you. Now, write me what it is that you want to read to help you work your way through architecture. And then write me about the books that you've read. And I'm not going to grade you. I really just want to know what you think. This is your opportunity." They'll take that with great liveliness and gratefulness. And of course, it gets them very much involved with the books, now not as a supplicant, but as someone who is going to be powerfully using it for their own needs. A much better way to see book learning.
PR: Was there a canon of books? Was there a group of books that --
DSB: I had a lot of freedom, I was allowed to choose. For example, when I taught, Bob and I worked out the books for the second half. I did the books for the first half. Team 10 Primer had just come out. I gave them that. No one else was giving them that. They found that very exciting. And things like that. I was going to say one other thing about that. Did I tell you that there was this set of discussions about planning curriculum, when I first went into the school, as a faculty member? A lot of that discussion has stayed with me all of my life as a teacher. I think it was Bob Mitchell who talked about the difference between learning and learning about -- between knowing and knowing about. And "knowing" you get by learning by doing. "Knowing about" you get by reading about it. And you need to get architects to get that sense of knowing, not just knowing about. And you plan involvements for them. Again, planning studios is all kinds of fun. It's very exciting to be thinking ahead of how you're going to teach people something that could be a good experience for them. And I've had many occasions now, in my career, to just plan a whole studio for myself. I told you about those two theories courses. Then the other two courses that I taught -- the one teaching about urban design for non-architects in planning -- they were going to be social scientists and geographers and political scientists, and there they had to do "Denise's busy work." And then working with Dave Crane in the New City Studio -- I'd had a New City Studio, with him as a student, and then, the next one, I taught with him. And then Dave Crane left and Dave Wallace was head of studio. Dave Wallace found me terribly threatening. He once said to me -- he just met me, and he said something like, "You're some kind of vengeful little tiger." He said this to me at lunch with a student sitting there. The student tactfully left. And he'd met me once when he said that. So, obviously, it came from him. Not from me. And there I was, having to teach a studio with Dave Wallace. Dave would not listen to a thing. He was obviously very insecure coming back into teaching. He was saying, "I'm coming back into teaching because I'm learning so much." And it's true. When you put together a whole studio of all different subjects that you need to think about in designing a new town, you learn one heck of a lot -- you the teacher, more than anyone. So that was true. But I advised him quite a lot against the subject he chose, but he wouldn't listen. And at the end, the students just vilified him, and said it was the wrong project. And the faculty kind of said it was the wrong project.
PR: Do you remember the particulars? Do you remember the project?
DSB: Well, you see, we'd always done projects in India or Peru. He did the town of Reston. The students found it too pedestrian. And Holmes Perkins found it too present in America. Not removed enough to allow them to deal with the level of generality they needed to get the excitement of different cultures, and things like that. So the whole school was against Dave on that. And then Dave came into my office and said, "Well, I'll certainly eat coal, Denise," on the subject of the studio. "I was wrong and you were right." And I said, "Dave, there is a way that you could have taught this so it would have given them what they wanted." And I said something that I completely forgot. I said, "Your trouble is you haven't yet worked out what you want to teach." But about fifteen years later, Dave Crane said to me, "I've discovered what I want to teach now, Denise." And I said, "What?" He said, "Don't you remember you said to me at the end of the Reston Studio" --
PR: This is Wallace, not Crane?
DSB: Dave Wallace. Yes. "That your trouble is you haven't worked out yet what you need to teach." And, of course, he stopped teaching studio, and he taught introduction to city planning, and he taught that very well. He taught courses about making things operational, which is what he knew about. He was Mr. Operational. But, meanwhile, he had more or less slaughtered me in the studio. He had another thing he used to do. If he didn't agree with you, he would say, "Well, I think what Denise is really saying is" -- then say what he meant to say.
PR: He'd frame it in his --
DSB: Well, he might say the exact opposite of what I said.
PR: Right.
DSB: And I was very puzzled by this. I thought, "He's not stupid. He's certainly not stupid." And then one day, he told the students, "There's this great trick that you can do. If you want something said your way and the person's saying the opposite, you say, 'Well, I think what you're really saying is such-and-such.'" [laughs] So it was not only a tactic, but he had been ingenuous enough to forget that he had told me -- that he had used it on me. So at the end of that semester, I went to my superiors there, and I said, "I cannot go on this way." And they said, "This nice man?" No one knew this side of Dave. And then later, some other women had the same situation.
PR: Women faculty?
DSB: Had trouble with Dave Wallace in the same way. But they could see that there was no way that I was going to teach studio again that way. I just couldn't do it. And so, I had to ask for something I didn't think I was ready for. But I had to ask for it. I said, "I want to teach my own studio, please." And Bob Mitchell said, "Sure." And the next semester, there we were doing a New City project based on the New City Guayana project. And they set up -- I think it was three or four different studios, each with about fifteen people, and each with a different way of looking at how you teach that project. So I had my fifteen students and my erratic, shaky little boat, and off we all set on an adventure. And that's what a studio is. It's an adventure. You have a subject matter, and you have some people who you may not know, and you look at them, and you think, "By the end of sixteen weeks, I'm going to know you very well. I wonder who you are." And you plan out a topic that you think will interest them, and an approach that will interest them. And then you plan a bibliography and the first two hand-outs, and that's all. You see, I do a whole book for a studio, and it's got -- I first of all plan the pressure points -- the charrettes, like this. [drawing a diagram]
PR: So that they [unclear] space.
DSB: Yes. There's a set of rhythms. And the subject matter goes along like this [working from diagram throughout this passage]. And here's a presentation of a certain sort, and another one and another one, depending on the subject matter. And then, it's inter-disciplinary, and the strands come like this, and they come together there. And then they go out again on slightly different subject matter, and they come together there. So these are where we're inter-disciplinary. We share. And some of this is analysis and some is synthesis and design. So I have analysis-synthesis, as well. I learned this from Dave Crane. He probably got it at Harvard. He got a lot of those things at Harvard, I think. I plan my studios on that basis. But I'd only plan up to about here -- the first synthesis. Whatever sort it was. Or the first presentation. After I saw how they did, I planned these [the rest] with them in mind -- with their interests in mind. Another thing is I would have topics which were available for choice, and I'd get people to give me their first, second and third choice. And if they got their first choice -- most of them would get their first choice. Some would get their second, and some their third, and just one or two no choice that they made. I would very publicly show all of this, and I'd make a great deal that the next time, the ones who didn't get their choice would get their first choice. And it all worked out, until people said, "You know, really, we don't care that much. You tell us what to do. We'll do it." [laughs]
PR: So much for freedom of choice.
DSB: But I tried very hard to give them the feeling that they bought into this thing, and they were part of it. And they are pretty idealistic -- studio -- as well. That was the other side of it. That they would feel it was a topic very worthwhile to them. And as you got into the 1960s, devising topics that they would find challenging was quite a challenge in itself, hence Las Vegas. You had to be agin the government in the 60s.
PR: Right.
DSB: But this is all sorts of fun, and the latest one I did was this last year. I did one at Harvard. But the ones I did at Penn were in the beginning planning studios, new city studios. Later I taught urban designers, rather than the whole group of planners, particularly as the planners began to drop studio. And I've written about this considerably in that article on pedagogy. But at the same time, I was teaching these non-architects and some of them were very talented designers. There's a guy called Don Kruckerberg, and he really had talent as a designer, but he has been a professor at Rutgers, I think, all his life, and he brings out compendiums of theory of planning of the 1980s. Very cut and dried topics, where he is the amasser of information. He was so talented, and I wondered why he didn't ever use his design skills. He's a social scientist, political scientist academic -- planning academic.
PR: Do you remember other students that you've watched their subsequent career, and you've watched their career develop?
DSB: There are so many. A little while ago, I went to a reunion, and I saw --
PR: At Penn?
DSB: Yes. I saw Dave Zimmerman. He was a very talented planning student. And his parents had been communists, and also much, much respected. He told me people often said to him, "We hope you can do half as well as your father." He said, "I know what happens in cadre meetings. Folk dancing." And he was very bright and talented in my work, and very bright in general. It was nice to see him. He stayed around this area. He's practicing in New Jersey, I think. He married a wife from somewhere like Ecuador. There was a Bob Conley, and he was neurotic and highly intelligent, and very nice to be with and talk with. He's sort of very simpatico. I don't know what happened to him. He visited me in California with his new wife, and seemed pretty happy. I don't know what happened to him. There was someone called Jim Rose. He became a regional scientist. Again, very bright and talented. These were the non-architects. Among the architects I taught -- so many. Barton Myers was my student. Sidney Guberman. There was a kid called Dick Nordhaus. Oh, he had such a tough time. He was so agin the government. He got A's, D's, A's, D's. These were the ones I liked the most. I don't know what happened to him. He was probably too rebellious to do anything much for a while, and I don't know what happened to him after that. There was a guy called Steve Goldberg, who ever since worked for Aldo Giurgola, just about. Siasia Nowicki -- who was supposed to be the one who drew out talent, discovered talent, promoted talent from her basic design course -- said he was intelligent, but not a designer. And on the basis of that, seeing how very well he did in my course, I said to him, "Why don't you study planning?" He looked quite hard at it, and decided, no. He's going to be an architect. And, of course, he's been a very talented architect. There was also in that class -- one of those classes -- Jack Thrower, who got probably the highest grades I've ever given anyone. He's now at Bower Lewis and Thrower. But I thought that Richard Nordhaus was a more interesting person -- architect. Jack Thrower practiced the organ for hours a day. He was a concert-level organist, as well as one that Siasia believed was a brilliant architect. Now who was I going to mention? We had a show at the [Max] Protetch Gallery in New York, and there was also organized for us a dinner with some notables. And I knew who I was going to sit next to at that dinner. [end of side two, tape four]
PR: You were in New York at the Protetch opening -- a dinner.
DSB: Yes. And this was, I think, about the mid-80s. A little bit earlier than that. So, I knew who I was meeting. And as he sat down I turned to him and said, "I'm Denise Scott Brown. How do you do." He said, "Yes, Denise. Don't you remember me? You taught me theories of architecture?" I looked again. I looked, and he was certainly familiar. And he said, "You know, I didn't stay in architecture even to the end of that term. I left and I went to the Wharton School, and now I am CEO of Pepsico." He left, and he became head of Apple. That's John Scully. He's been very famous since then. He told me -- it seemed a little bit naive to me, with my latter day experience -- about how he still designed on occasion. He designed a product display unit, for example, for someone. And it seems as if he was still happy to do that.
PR: It was probably a creative outlet. [laughs]
DSB: Well, maybe. He didn't talk about it that way, as if that was as important as the other things he was doing, which seemed very strange. And then I went back to my files and I found his name, and I had xeroxed some of the better drawings of my students -- it wasn't Xerox in those days. It was the earlier form. And sure enough, I had a drawing by John Scully of a leaf drawn as a circulation system. I used to make my students take a leaf and draw it as a leaf, and then draw the veins, and think of it as a circulation system. And then they could think about roads, without making too many false analogies, just see how the joints were made in the leaves, and learn something about structure that way. And I think they liked doing it. And they also had to learn techniques -- of finding the right technique. Holmes used to tell them which techniques to use. I used to make them responsible for using the right technique for the drawing. So I found his drawing, where he had got nine out of ten, and I xeroxed it and sent it to him. I said, "You weren't too bad. Why didn't you stay in architecture?" [laughs]
PR: That's terrific. Terrific records [unclear]. In one of your courses you said you invited different lecturers to come. Different faculty would come. Do you recall who were your best speakers?
DSB: Well, first of all, it wasn't exactly only up to me. Holmes Perkins believed in collaboratives one way and another, and he wanted the students in architecture to hear all the planners talk. So Bob Mitchell, Bill Wheaton, Chester Rapkin gave a good talk. I think we got David Longmaid, who was then at the City Planning Department, and his wasn't such a good talk. I've still got the summaries of those talks, too. I summarized those, and gave them out to the students as kind of summaries. Holmes Perkins talked. Bob Geddes talked. Bob Venturi talked. I think there are about fourteen, of which I probably gave two myself, or something like that.
PR: Let me ask you about two more people. Did Ed Bacon play into this at all? I've asked about him before, a little bit. I just wondered if his reputation in Philadelphia's urban renaissance --had that preceded your arrival in the United States? Were you aware of it?
DSB: Well, you see, when I got to Penn, I think Bob Mitchell had just stood down as chair of the Planning Commission. And Ed had rather recently been in there. And Bob Mitchell and Bill Wheaton, I think, rotated between head of the Institute of Urban Studies and the head of the City Planning Department at Penn. And when I was with Dave Crane, I began hearing these legends about Ed Bacon. Ed Bacon had demolished Dave in a talk somewhere in Philadelphia. Dave was sort of semi-admiring of him, but also thought he was awful. He said he was so handsome, and he could talk so well. Then the people at Penn -- the sort of hard edged social scientist people -- they thought -- they used to call Mumford, Lewis Mumbles. But they thought nothing whatsoever of Ed Bacon.
PR: This would be Davidoff?
DSB: And Gans. Brit[ton] Harris. Dyckman might be a little bit more open-minded. Also in the early 60s, they began to criticize Ed Bacon for not being sufficiently socially concerned. Then there was a rumor that he had been sent out of town -- from Flint, Michigan -- for being too socially concerned, and he'd learned his lesson. So Ed was in a kind of a position of antagonism in the school. Although he came in evenings or late afternoons, and he gave a one semester credit course -- now there is status in semester credits: the great Mitchell Wheaton ones, with three semester credits -- Ed got a one semester credit course, given primarily for the civic design students. And my feeling was that at Penn, I did not take the civic design course. In fact, I've left out a lot of stuff I should have told you about me and Lou Kahn.
PR: We can go back to that.
DSB: Did I talk about that?
PR: No. That was my next question. So we can go back.
DSB: Okay. The civic design students, for their sins, they got two degrees. They put the electives of the one course into the required courses of the other. So they took only required courses of the master of architecture and city planning, and they got both degrees within two years. It was meant to be for particularly talented designers. That's the way it was sold. I didn't take that, because I wanted to do it in three semesters, and it wasn't offered to me to take it. We got into the planning school not into the civic design program. The civic designers didn't get to take the regional science that I took, or the architecture that I took. Like Gutkind was giving history of architecture. They didn't take that. They had to take Holmes Perkins' course in urban design, which was pure Harvard. They had to take Ed Bacon's course in urban design, which was kind of case book studies of his urban design, with Sixtus V all melded in. And there was enormous scorn at Penn for Ed on Sixtus V, for the master plan, the comprehensive plan, when it came out, at that time. It became terribly bad for him to talk about master planning at all, during the civil [rights movement]. A student called Farbman -- and I wonder what ever happened to Farbman -- he never did come to planning. He was going to be the bright-eyed, fair-haired boy of the Planning Department. He was coming from Yale or somewhere. And he had done a student's dissertation on master plans, where he did content analysis of master plans, most scornfully. And this document was taken up by young planners like Paul Davidoff, to show you just how full of value judgements master plans were -- not enunciated as such -- all of those things. So we were very scornful about master planning. And then, you see, Ed was a master planner, in those terms. You wouldn't want to be caught dead using the word "master" with the word "planner." It sounded like everyone was your slave. So people were very scornful of the way Ed did planning, and that it was based on aesthetics. It was "physical planning." It had a "physical bias." What happened to social questions? What happened to questions of color? And Ed said, "Sure there's color in my plan. There's green. There's green everywhere." Well, Ed eventually, for reasons unknown to me, managed to turn the tables on everyone, and accuse everyone else of not being as socially concerned as he was. And Ed kept talking about the strength of the design ideas pushing you through. And that was a subject of enormous scorn to people like Paul Davidoff.
PR: The design idea seems to be the -- it's the refrain in his book, Design in the Cities.
DSB: Yes.
PR: He never really seems to define it, I think.
DSB: Well, he defined it. He got it out of Space, Time & Architecture, that whole thing -- the Sixtus V. And I think there is something to the notion that a society can share a value about a certain piece of design -- that you could get Philadelphia behind the Academy of -- behind the performing arts street. That's a concept people could understand and buy into and want to support. I don't think it's as unfeasible as -- I think the social planners went overboard in thinking no one cares about the arts except the upper crust, and who wants to listen to them anyway? I think that that's not altogether true.
PR: You did take Lou Kahn's studio, your last semester.
DSB: Yes.
PR: What was your experience? I would love to hear about that. I would love to hear about how he talks.
DSB: I'll tell you what had happened. I had started out being an English architecture student. I'm not an English person, but I had been in an English school of architecture, and I behaved the way they did at the AA. You would go in and support a friend when they had their jury, and you'd argue for them, and help them argue. And juries became more general discussions, rather than the kind of individual's defense of a project with a lot of jury arguing at them, as it was in architecture. Planning juries were free-for-alls, where a Tomazinis would argue with a Davidoff, and the students would sort of try to make peace between the two. A group of students would defend themselves together. So I would find myself getting into places I didn't belong in people's juries in architecture, when I was still a student, not knowing they didn't do that in America. So I once did that with Lou Kahn, and he was absolutely amazed. Who was this person with an English accent, talking about the fact that the neighborhood unit is an elitist idea and it's soft in the head, to want to separate the car and the pedestrian? So Lou said, "What's this?" And then there was a very, very old man there, and he said, "Well, yes. We did want to separate the car and the pedestrian." And it was Clarence Stein. They had done a neighborhood unit, and they had had him to be on the jury.
PR: Terrific.
DSB: So it was sort of a little historic moment. But I already, from before I came to America, [had been] talking about why shouldn't you put the two together, particularly at certain speeds. It doesn't mean all speeds. Of course, you have to have grade separation or expressways. It wasn't the issue. So Lou knew about me for that reason. And then, also, Lou took a group of people on a visit to the Richards Medical Building while it was still being built. And then he came across me a second time, because I kept asking him questions. And they were questions which other people couldn't ask because they hadn't been with the Brutalists, but Lou had. And I don't quite know how it worked, but Lou had been in Otterlo, I think, with the CIAM Conference.
PR: Correct.
DSB: And he met the Smithsons there, and they talked. And I was talking that same language. So again, Lou wanted to know -- now, Lou also had a weakness, I think, for women with English accents, and apparently upper class backgrounds. And that was something that, as a woman, you could feel that. What you do with it is your own affair. I think it was something to do with that. So he was very interested in who I was. And then when I got through -- I got through almost all of my coursework in three semesters. I had about one more course to take. One or two. So, without talking to Holmes, I went to Lou and I said, "I would like to take your studio." And Lou said, "I would like you to." Then I went to Holmes, and I said, "Lou has said that I can do this." And Holmes was pretty mad at me.
PR: For having gone around him?
DSB: Yes. He said, "I suppose, this is one I have to say yes to. Is that what you say?" [laughs] And, you see, Holmes typecast people very quickly. So he typecast me as lively and verbal, but not really talented. Something like that.
PR: What was the studio?
DSB: It was a studio Lou always started with -- he gave people the problem that he really, really wanted to do, which was Independence Mall. And that was a kind of "get-acquainted." And so, I started out with that with everyone else. And they had a very quick first-go-round on that. And I already got into an argument with Lou about that. And then, at the end of two or three weeks, he said, "Now go on and choose another problem." I said, "I want to stick with this problem." He said, "Okay." He made students treat the mall as a nave of a church, starting up in the North. And close all streets. Close Market Street, Walnut Street, and Chestnut Street. And take a central spine down the middle, across all of those closed streets, to Independence Mall, and that that should be the way to treat the mall as a nave, and Independence Hall as the chapel. And I said, "That's the kind of decision about urbanism that gets architects to have such a bad reputation with planners." And he said, "Okay, then. Just put them under, in tunnels. Put them in tunnels." And I said, "You wouldn't put tunnels here when the worst accident intersection is the one at Eakins Oval," which wasn't Eakins Oval yet before they fixed Eakins Oval, it was the intersection in front of the art museum. So, I said, "If you're going to put any tunnel anywhere, that's where you put a tunnel or a bridge." So he said, "I give up. What is it with you?" So, I then said, "Let's, in fact, do the opposite. Let's make elliptical spaces of different widths -- of different sizes, where these roads go through the Mall. Let's widen the roads into ellipses. A big road, a bigger circle. And Market Street, the biggest one. And let's use these as ceremonial places. And we can even, like the Piazza del Popolo, put parking in them. It's not parking for the whole city, but it is parking for people who want to walk in the mall, and it has a ceremonial feel to it." And then I did other things, as well. I said, "The best thing you can do for pedestrians on this mall is not take them down the middle of it. Let them make a short cut, by making a diagonal between two streets." Before zoots were in, I was very keen on diagonals. I'd come, again, to America, thinking about the value of a diagonal. And plans for Chandigarh had diagonals in them. And I think Bob saw those, and was partly influenced by those. We used the diagonal as a way of going against the othogonal system of Modern architecture. Doing something that was impolite, like using dualities. And I got this from my friends in England. Dualities, which everyone said was bad, we thought were good. And the same thing with diagonals, which give you corners which are too obtuse for architecture -- [unclear] reasonings. So I was busy drawing diagonals this way in the summer school in Venice, and also in the New City Punjab Studio. And I put diagonals across here too as short cuts for people going from Chestnut Street to Walnut Street. And various other ways of disciplining, as well, apart from these circles. And built it up on the basis of a rationale of movement, of that sort, and still looked for something that had monumentality. I remember I brought a -- one of these squares had trees, to narrow the view, so when you did look down here, I had two, kind of, little hills at that point. And you looked down here and you saw the view narrowed by these trees. And there was water here. So you went across water with your diagonal, and you looked down that way. And this thing grew slowly -- and Lou and I debating about it -- grew it. And then it had gotten other kinds of uses around here, which suggested different kinds of intensities on either side. And Lou said, "It's coming into focus." I used pastels a lot, and I slowly developed what it was. And the final presentation was on yellow trace, which was a reaction to all the, kind of, velum that everyone was using. The little purist "Perkins weed," and the fine little drawings with no titles on them. Nothing like that. So Perkins said, "Why did you do your drawings on yellow trace?" and gave me a B. And Carles Enrique Vallhonrat got an A+ from Holmes. He produced not only white velum drawings, but a white card model with everything perfectly made in white card. It came with this huge model of a scheme which had a great nave down the middle, and it was very formalist. That set the difference between Carles and me forever. And I sometimes think to myself, "Well, he got an A+ and I got a B." And what's happened to both of us since, and what does that mean? It was about the only B I ever got at Penn. I got two B's. Maybe three. The rest I got A's. Maybe people were sorry for me because my husband died. But Bill Wheaton said I got the best grade average they ever had in the school in ten years or something. Which is funny, because since then, I have to justify the fact that I have any talent at all. People like the pharisees in the press don't want to notice me at all.
PR: The critics.
DSB: The critics. And there are some very strange stories to tell about that. So I have to sometimes go back. I feel tempted to say -- when I was fighting to stop the expressway on South Street, and I proposed a certain transportation plan -- not without some advice from people like Bob Mitchell, who were in at the start of the transportation planning at Penn. And a certain transportation engineer said to me, "You mean, 'My mind is made up, don't bother me with the facts.' Is that what you're saying?" And I could have hit him. And he's saying it to me because I was a woman, and I felt like saying, "I got all A's on my transportation courses," but you can't exactly say that. [laughs]
PR: Right.
DSB: And it's difficult to show how you're adept, without having some measure like that. Ever since then, I've managed to organize transportation engineering disciplines, and get the engineers to really focus on the problems as they really are. Because I think I have a good knowledge of how these things go together. But it's difficult to show how, if you can't say something like, "I got A's on my coursework," but thirty years later it doesn't mean too much.

PR: Did your relationship with Kahn continue after that course? Did he ever come and speak to your classes?
DSB: Yes. Again, Lou used to call certain people and talk for hours on the phone to them. And one who I've mentioned in my article, Santo Lipari, is not well-known outside of Philadelphia, but Lou used to talk with him a great deal.
PR: Particularly about viaduct architecture, I think.
DSB: Yes. People should talk to Santo and find out what it was.
PR: I know he worked on the viaduct architecture -- the last series of urban designs Kahn did for Philadelphia.
DSB: Yes. There's also a taxi driver called Harry Gelb. And he used to take Lou home at night. And Lou used to talk to him at night. Lou used to talk to me. He used to phone me, and talk on the phone. And there was one evening when I had Lou for dinner with Arthur Goldreich. Now Arthur Goldreich was an architecture student when I was an architecture student in Johannesburg. Though he was older than we were because he had been in the Palmach in Israel. He's a South African who went to Israel. Palmach was the elite commandor force. He'd been a terrorist. But he came back and went to architecture school. He's a nice person. He was sent by a client that his firm had to America. He was also designing stage sets for a black group -- including Miriam Makeba, who you have heard of, probably -- for a play, I think, called "Wait a Minim." So he was there helping to sponsor this black musical, and visiting America for this client, and God knows what else. So I had Arthur to meet Lou at my apartment, and then we climbed through the window in this little apartment on 4022 Spruce Street, and sat out on the deck -- on the roof -- which was kind of like having a terrace, but it was really just the roof -- and looked out over the green of the backyards over there, and just talked. And that was very nice. And about two weeks later, Arthur Goldreich was headlines all over all of the world's papers. It was about a month later. He was also very much involved, apparently, with -- I think it was the same group that Nelson Mandela was with. The Rivonia Seven, they were called. And they were all arrested, and Arthur escaped. And it was "Where is Goldreich?" in all the papers of the world. And Goldreich, in fact, had escaped through to the Lesotho, or I forget which African Republic he escaped to, and made his way from there to Israel, and lived there. But Lou and Arthur were on my roof talking, so that Lou could meet this interesting South African architect, which was very nice. I was a young widow living in Philadelphia and living at Penn. And I seemed to have been an unwitting member of all sorts of situations, which I didn't know what was happening, but had some intuitive feelings of things happening. Which were men -- married men and unmarried men -- who were seeming -- it seems as if I had figured in their lives in some sort of way that I wasn't quite sure of, and I didn't want to know about. That is, I wasn't interested in the side of being a young, single woman, experienced -- I had been married already -- and of interest to a range of different people on the faculty and around. So within that sort of context, Lou was interested in me in that way, too. It's something a woman professional learns about. Men have other interests in her than as a professional. Oskar Stonorov was like that. I thought I was being invited to dinner to talk about Le Corbusier, and I discovered that that wasn't his agenda. But it had been my agenda. When I met Oskar Stonorov, I thought of him as the American version of Ernö Goldfinger, and Ernö Goldfinger was an English version of Oskar Stonorov. They were very similar people. And sure enough, Oskar Stonorov suggested -- he said, "Oh, yes. I remember Ernö Goldfinger. He was the one who couldn't draw." [laughs] Just the sort of thing Ernö would have said. Anyway, what I'm saying is nothing happened in any of these situations, because I was just not -- that wasn't my role in life. In other words, if I got invited for dinner by Stonorov, who had a wife, and I thought I was being invited to talk about Le Corbusier and architecture, and I found that that probably wasn't what he had in mind -- what he had in mind, I would not let become very explicit. And there was something like that with Lou, too. But what are you going to say? Later he took up with Harriet, and he had been with Ann [Tyng]. He didn't manage to have a relationship of any sort of sexual nature with me, though he would have liked to. And I was just the kind of person he was attracted to. Now, that's one of the sort of things I should probably restrict. It's pertinent, but it isn't. I never know quite whether those things --
PR: Right. Did that in any way color your discussions? I'm thinking of discussions of an architectural or urban nature. That is, he might view you -- he may have one agenda for talking with you. I think that's what you're saying. That they have a certain agenda.
DSB: Yes.
PR: id that frustrate your --
DSB: Well, I feel I had a good relationship with him, and I learned a lot, and he learned a lot by talking in this way. But I remember once I said something like, "Looking at this building is like looking into a fire." He said, "I'd like to look into a fire with you, Denise." And I didn't hear that. But that's all. That's the only sort of thing that happened. But what it meant was eventually, he kind of dropped me because I wasn't going to be a part of that agenda. And then he found other people. He found Harriet after that. I had a very good semester with him. And then, he dropped me, in that sense, but he still was a friend. So, when I began teaching civic design -- which I didn't do immediately. I first of all taught introduction to urban design, and New City Studio. And then I taught civic design when Dave Crane left, and there was no one else teaching civic design. [Interrupted by Phone Call -- Tape Off/On] When I saw the Richards Medical Building, to me it looked spectacularly like the Duiker Open Air School, which I had been to see and photographed. And that was really my clue that he had been with the Brutalists, because the brutalists were very taken with that building. It was one of a, kind of, prime icons -- the Van Nelle factory, and the Open Air School. And the Sonnerstraal sanatorium, which also had that kind of Constructivist de Stijl use of the ends of cantilevers in the way that the medical school building does. So, it seemed that that was a very important influence at that time. Now, by the time I met Lou, he was already diverging from that. And the English were mumbling that his Beaux-Arts training was catching up with him. Bob Venturi would say that Lou was listening to him. And Lou had been in Rome, and he'd done other things, as well, so there was a mixture of things that could be influencing him at that point. When I taught the civic design students at Penn, they had this nasty shock. They, too, as I had done, had come expecting to study with Lou Kahn. And here they found that not only were they not studying with Lou Kahn that first semester, they were getting this Denise. Who is this woman? Many of them were foreign students. And I looked younger than many of them, as I indeed was. But even the ones that I wasn't, I looked as if I was. This was the time when I would go out for a drink with a group of students. Even my young students in the introduction to urban design, and they'd ask to see my age -- I.D. -- not theirs. They'd say, "But she's our teacher! She's older than us!" That went on, even when I was at Berkeley, that happened. I think sometimes that happens because people want to flatter you. In fact, that happened all the time when I was around at Penn, and I was sort of adopted by the students in that way. But I looked extremely young. Sometimes when I'd start my theories seminar -- the first lecture -- I'd sit myself at the head of the table, but they'd start looking around for where is the professor? So, in that context, these civic design students were horrified that they had me, not Lou. So I'd have them come to the first two or three of Lou's classes. And they and I would go and sit there. By the end of the second class, they would be saying to themselves, "We think we're lucky to be waiting for this. Let's get ourselves acclimatized first." And that would be because Lou would do something that was kind of mean or destructive with some students, and this frightened them. And I don't know why that particular tiger rode on Lou's back, but I remember a Canadian student asking a respectful question, but with an implied criticism of Lou. "Well, Mr. Kahn. If you have said this, then why did you do that, which is contrary to what you said here?" And Lou more or less -- there was a pause, and you could see Lou getting crosser and crosser, and then he said something like, "Well, I don't have to teach you if you're like that. I just don't have to put up with this." And then he said, "I have given you gold plates, and you've asked for a knife and fork." Lou had these wonderful similes, but this was not a wonderful simile. And there was this hushed, horrid, silence, and then Lou saw me staring at him. And Lou used to look to me to nod my head and agree with him. And I sat there and I stared at him, like this. I did not nod my head in agreement. And he kept talking, but he kept faltering. And fifteen minutes later, he made an apology. But not for having been mean and destructive with a student, but for having chosen a terrible simile. [laughs]
PR: Did you quarrel at all with him about his --
DSB: I argued with him all the time. But he seemed to like it. Then, also, he showed us, when I was his student in his class, the Salk Center. And it had, at that point, three different groupings of buildings, that later got much reduced in scope, and rather tighter in its design. And he'd had the houses for the different scientists mid-way on the path on the way to the labs. I said, "Why would you put them there? If you were a scientist, wouldn't you want to have your house at the edge of the cliff, looking out at the ocean?" And later I found they got moved there. I just felt they were no place, in the middle of the road, on the way in. I felt very strange that he had used my idea. And then I also -- some other things that he appropriated of mine -- I was the one who said I thought buildings should be kickable. I had seen the kids in the School of Fine Arts, sitting against the parapet that looked down into the jury space, kicking against the wall. And the wall had a pattern of black foot marks on this white wall, all the way around, and I thought, "Well, they're going to do that, and it's not even bad that they do that. That's life. But the building should only get mellower when it's kicked." And then I developed a whole theory of kickable buildings in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement. And Lou, at that stage, was talking about institutions, and I said, "Institutional buildings should be kickable," and he began talking about institutional buildings should be kickable. I also said that architects always put a chapel somewhere in their building, and he picked that up, too. These were kinds of ideas that Lou would like. I was able to get him to be on the jury -- on my juries -- too, which was nice for me. I asked him to be on the jury for my urban design students, you see, who were not architects at all. And I had a lovely time giving them projects which would test their creativity without their graphic ability, because graphic ability they didn't have much of. The AA had its -- did I tell you about this first project at the AA, called the "Shipwrecked Architect?"
PR: No.
PR: No.
DSB: Well, the idea was when you first went to the AA, and you could not draw yet, they said, "Imagine yourself shipwrecked on a desert island. And you're not a primitive person. You are yourself, with all of your sophisticated needs, and what you manage to salvage from the boat, and then that's all. But you have sophisticated design needs. Build yourself a primitive hut." And they didn't produce drawings. They produced models. Well, I produced a wonderful -- studios should be like play. You should play when you design. So I said, "Let's pretend that we all went for a conference. We were going for a conference to a faraway land, a developing area, called "Developing Area." And that we got stranded. It's a group of us, now." It wasn't an architect -- one person, one family -- but a little group of people, traveling to go to this conference. "And you got stranded on a desert island, which has one of three climates," and I gave them the three different climates. And I spoke as the leader of the expedition. I made my talk rather stilted, but old-fashioned and eloquent, and I was an elderly person, describing the situation we find ourselves in. And again, they had to make a model. Not drawings. But I said that there were certain kinds of wild animals there, of a certain height, that could get up over certain kinds of walls. They managed to salvage certain things. There was a hill, which could be a look-out. I said, for us, the look-out would have an almost religious significance, because, boats passed once every six months, and you had to be able to signal to them. They produced things which were very much in the Lou Kahn mode, with the kind of religious look-out point. The primitive shelter built for the first nights of the whole group, because they needed to hang together, then subsequently, incremental growth of pieces for different families, but there's still the big common room space. Lou loved it, and he was all over the thing with ideas of what you could do here and there and everywhere.
PR: Terrific.
DSB: Just one other student -- what happened to students. I often wonder what happened to Jim Yellin. He was so inchoate, and yet he was so verbal. He'd been to Hamilton College, and he could do wonderful public speaking, and then he more or less couldn't communicate any other time. And he didn't draw well at all. And he didn't finish projects. And he sometimes didn't come. And I remember saying to him once, "This behavior would not be suitable in high school. It would not be suitable in junior high school. It would not be suitable in grade school." [laughs] He sort of looked wanly at me, but he was a very intelligent, wise person. We had lots of other things to talk about. And I just lost touch with him. I don't know where he was. So, I liked the rebels, and I liked the ones who were erratic and up and down. The ones who were struggling.
PR: Well, you've got a real glimmer in your eye right now. I think you obviously loved the classroom.
DSB: Yes. I started teaching, and up at the other end of the studio, were the people I had been in the studio with the semester before. And there I was, down at the other end. And I was very scared for thirty minutes. And then within the first thirty minutes, I just knew that that's what I'd been doing all of my life. I'd been teaching while syill a student in Lou's class. This last semester, teaching at Harvard, I was watching one of the young women -- Maria -- and she doesn't know it, but she was doing a good job of teaching next to me. She was teaching and I was teaching.
PR: This is a project at Harvard, just in the past year?
DSB: 1989. The beginning of this year. It ended at the beginning of this year. It was last fall's studio. I was watching Maria, and I was thinking, "You're a teacher, and you don't know it," and I was remembering how I was teaching in Lou's class when I was a student there. And I was giving everyone crits. And then they got A's and I didn't. And that, maybe, is the roll of a teacher. So within the first thirty minutes, I knew that I took to it like a duck to water. And I still teach here. And I'd been teaching before because I'm an older sister.
PR: What was the project at Harvard? I didn't realize you --
DSB: I ran a studio called The Architecture of Well-Being. And considerably later, I'll tell you how that happened.
PR: Okay. I wanted to talk about -- perhaps it was when you left Penn. You said, "Please ask me about when I was being ill-treated."
DSB: Yes. There's more to tell you about how I came to leave; and in one sense, I was ill-treated at Penn. And I think I should put that down, but we should start there next time. How I came to leave, and how I feel I was ill-treated. [end of side one, tape five] Fourth interview, November 23, 1990
PR: When we left off last time, we were talking about your teaching career at the University of Pennsylvania. You had described some of the classes you taught, and those you taught with Bob. And when we left off, you said to be sure to ask how it was that you came to leave the University of Pennsylvania. So maybe we should pick up there.
DSB: We also wanted to talk about Charles Seeger.
PR: Okay.
DSB: Now, coming back to the Penn situation. When I started to teach at Penn, it was because I saw a class that needed teaching and didn't have a teacher. And that was the introduction to urban design. It had a sort of junior person doing it. So when it came to be the end of my time at Penn -- I had taken that Kahn studio, and I'd done the last semester I needed to do -- I said to Dave Crane, who was my student advisor, "Could I teach that course?" And he and Bill Wheaton and Holmes Perkins cooked up for me that I would teach that course the one semester, and at the same time, do a little bit of sort of ordering and organizing of some landscape architectural material that McHarg needed done. And that the next semester, I would work with Dave Crane on the New City Studio. And for that I would be paid the princely sum of six thousand four hundred dollars. And I thought I was in heaven. This work didn't even seem like work. It just seemed wonderful. And I set up these courses. I think last time I described the course material that I taught. And then life went on like that, and as I say, I got to teach my own studio because of the fact that I really couldn't work with Dave Wallace. And then I, in 1960, formed a friendship with Bob. Did I tell you that story? I probably did. About the [Frank] Furness building.
PR: Yes.
DSB: Yes, I did tell you that one. We used to date, and we'd have dinner together. And by the end, I'd get him into my class to give a crit to my civic design students. But this was all earlier than that. I saw that the assistant that Bob had had to teach his seminar, along with his course, was leaving. And I said, "I'd like to do that, as well." I was doing the seminar and the course for the theories of architecture, city planning and landscape architecture. Why not do the seminars for the other? And I've described those to you. Those seminars. So then I was teaching introduction to urban design and the theories course in planning and architecture, and landscape architecture in the first semester. The New City Studio and the seminar for the theories course in architecture the next semester. Then they gave up teaching studio in planning. Paul Davidoff was one of the main protagonists of not teaching studio. Later he told me he thought studio was very important, and he's sorry he stopped it. But it meant that there was no introduction to urban design to teach the in-coming planning students. And I moved on to teaching the civic design students. So at that point, I gave them their introductory studio. This was when they had this great disappointment. They thought they were getting Lou Kahn, and they got me. So I had this little group of students to teach. By the way, when I started to teach the theories course, Bill Wheaton said, "There will be an extra thousand dollars for you." So now I was earning seven thousand four hundred dollars. Now, at a certain point, I began to think -- first of all, I think one of my students said, "You're not earning enough." And I began to do comparisons, and I asked Tony Tomazinis, who was the same year with me, and then when into teaching, as I did, how much he was earning, and he said, "Fourteen thousand dollars." Putting together a grant that they'd worked out for him -- research grant -- and his teaching, it was fourteen thousand dollars. And Bob Venturi was earning seven thousand dollars, but he was half-time. And I was full-time. I began to feel somewhat disaffected by this, and I decided that at this point, I didn't want to teach the theories course. It was only a thousand dollars, and I wanted to do some other things myself, instead. So I went to the Dean, and I said, "I don't want to teach this course," and he made a note of it. He apparently forgot.
PR: This is Holmes Perkins?
DSB: Holmes Perkins. Yes. I had been to the Dean about a few other things. I'd asked him if they could show the work of local artists in that central space that was in the old architecture building. His replies were, "Well, we just can't do that because of insurance," and "Oh, dear. Am I being a fuddy-duddy?" He'd had other talks with me. Strange talks, I thought, like telling me about the likely future of someone like Tim Vreeland. He said, "There are some rough spots with him, but they'll rub off." I later realized he was telling me that, not to share confidences about Tim Vreeland that I thought he shouldn't be sharing, but to warn me that I might not get re-appointed after three years. He thought I may not know about the system of tenure. But I wondered about that. And then I went to him to ask him if he could help Bob, who was starting his practice, get some work. And he said, no, he couldn't do that either. He said, "Bob shouldn't have started his practice yet. It's too soon for Bob to start." And, of course, we all knew that he had recommended Geddes for the Towne School [of Engineering Building]. Or we thought we knew. Later, Holmes made a big point of telling me it had been a sort of a fluke, that he hadn't really recommended him.
PR: Well, he certainly recommended Kahn for the Richards Building. Kahn was, of course, an older architect.
DSB: No. It was not quite like that. I think the situation was, "I come to teach at your university. I have to get a building, as well."
PR: Okay.
DSB: I think that's probably what the situation was. Because he would otherwise have got a building at Yale or something like that. So, I'd had several times of trying to deal with Holmes and finding him very much kind of a closed person who wouldn't give. And yet he'd written to tell my professor, Arthur Korn -- he had to get a letter of recommendation for me to go on to the faculty -- and he said, "She's doing a lively job." And apparently, he was very impressed with me when I was a student, and I asked a question at a lecture that he thought was a very incisive question. But when he saw me teaching there at Penn, I think he got into his mind sort of "too verbal, not a designer." Which, I think, is a difficult thing to say about me because there are many ways in which I have been the one who finds the "parti" in some of our projects here. Not many, but some. And I'm very much involved with design. And if I'm not drawing at a drawing board, it has to do with a lot of accidents of history.
PR: Do you want to take an aside to talk about any of those projects, or not yet? Those projects in the office, about which you were particularly involved in.
DSB: I want to do that, but let's get to the office before I do that.
PR: Okay.
DSB: This Berlin [plan for Berlin when the wall comes down] that I see up here -- it's very difficult to say -- I ran this whole project. At the same time, there are ideas here which are Bob's. I carried through his ideas. Of course, he did too. But I spent much more time. And I was in there supervising it. It's a very complex story, and of course, it's a highly emotional one, because design is the only thing you stand or fall by in architecture. This is the architect's view. And I get typecast as not a designer, and I think that's not exactly true. But my identity is a very strange one. It's very difficult to define what I do, and that's part of it. You can see it in these tapes, you can see how I dawdle over -- If an overall picture emerges, it's a very complex one. Not easy to pigeon-hole. So Holmes, I think, pigeon-holed me, in a certain way. Then, eventually, Gerry Carrothers, a very difficult, closed person who was then head of the City Planning Department, called me into his office. And he and I had crossed swords. I thought he was very harsh with the students. And he very nicely said to me, "Have you thought about the future? Have you thought about what would be happening next year or the year after?" And I said, "Well, I love being here, but I realize that for my sake, it's not good for me to stay here much longer." I said that because I meant it. But I also said it because I could see what he was going to say next. We made an arrangement that at the end of my three years -- which is the time when tenure must be discussed -- I would have a contract for one more year. But not more than that. Now, something else was happening. The school was beginning to re-think the place of urban design in the curriculum. It so happened I was the only person teaching an urban design studio at all. But they began talking with Dave Crane about coming back. And they did that in conjunction with thinking about the future of urban design. And they had people meet on Saturday mornings for sessions, for discussion of urban design -- the architecture faculty and Dave and not me. Dave Crane made a habit of coming in on Friday afternoon, and meeting with me on Friday evening. And then meeting with them on Saturday mornings. I'd tell him what was happening and where civic design was going, and all that. Then he'd go on Saturday mornings.
PR: So you briefed him, in a sense.
DSB: I briefed him. And I was very hurt to be left out that way. To be just shown that my ideas didn't count. Also, a couple of other things happened. Bill Wheaton, who had been my supporter, at that stage, started not supporting me. It seemed to me very political, as if I was out of favor, and he wasn't going to support me, either. And I really was sad about that. The planners started -- they were abolishing studio, and they started to be very argumentative with me, and I found I couldn't even get an idea out before it was broken down by people like Paul, who was my friend, but he was trying to make his way too, I guess. And I found it very cutting that the ideas I was trying to develop -- "How can you say that, Denise? How can you say that?" And then even the students. I remember there was a time when I was saying, "You can't do everything by sign in the city. You need to have a locational reliability, and then the signs just augment that." Now, we weren't talking about Las Vegas signs. We were talking about parking signs. You shouldn't have to find your way to a parking space only by looking for signs. There should be an order to how you know -- that some activities would be side streets and others would be main streets, which was Dave Crane's idea, basically. And you find it in an article I wrote called "Meaningful City" -- some of that notion. At a certain point, in one jury, I said, "But how are you going to know that the parking is there?" And about six students turned to me and said, "There would be a sign!" It's very ironic, in view of what happened later with us, with signs.
PR: Right.
DSB: But I still think that kind of marking sign, you need locational consistency, as well as the signage. So that was sad for me. And I could sense an undertow of things being against me. The students in civic design were suddenly mad at me. I'd been inconsiderate enough as to talk about directive and non-directive teaching. And they thought I was talking about child-rearing, and I got told by a very angry student, "We are not children." And then one of the students there who's wife was an architect -- this was the sad part -- said to me, "Well, you've done very well for a woman." It really horrified me. So it was a kind of a sad atmosphere around me at that time, too. And then another very sad thing happened -- By the way I should tell you something about Aldo [Giurgola] and Lou -- Another very sad thing happened. I was trying to get funding for my book, and Bob Mitchell had helped me work out a proposal and showed me how to do it, and how you do the arithmetic of it, and allow the overhead, and all of that. And we were not getting success.
PR: Did you apply to places like the Graham Foundation? Is that the kind of venue? Or publishers?
DSB: Yes. And they said they didn't have enough money. I was sent by Bill Wheaton to a very interesting interview with -- he was a Mellon. What was his name who did the Urban Foundation? Before that it was called the Taconic Foundation. Steven Currier, his name was. And I went to this group of people I didn't know, and in there was McKim Norton, who I later did know. And I was making the case to them for writing a book on the determinants of urban form. And I noticed the deference patterns were to this very young man. And when I said I was from South Africa, he perked up, too. He was very charming and polite. McKim Norton made my case for me better than I did, as if he'd always wanted this book to happen. And then I got the letter saying they'd decided to postpone decisions on funding for a while. And then Steven Currier was killed. He was a Mellon heir who was setting up this foundation. Later McKim Norton said, "You know, they should just have gone ahead and funded you." The social sciences foundations said, "This isn't our field," and architecture said, "Fascinating, but we haven't got that kind of money." And I later saw that in the 1960s, almost no women ever got money. So I never got any foundation funding. I needed fifteen thousand dollars. That's what Bob Mitchell and I had worked out. At that point, a discussion came up in the faculty meeting, and somehow again, I was having a bad time with the faculty. People thought I was being contentious about things. And the other thing was I realized that Dave Crane was thinking, while I was leaving, of hiring new people. He interviewed Rai Okamoto, Norman Day and I can't remember the third. And I got a note from him saying, "Denise, I realize that none of these people can hold a candle to you." And they hired Norman Day, and they were set with him from then on. Like a heavy brick hanging around their neck. I'm sorry to put it in those terms, but I don't think he really did much for the school. It's funny because recently Norman Day was hired by that parking entrepreneur, Easy Park, to make the case about why our building could be designed in a different way, so that he could keep his parking lot on the same site.
PR: This is at the Orchestra Hall?
DSB: Yes. And it was Norman Day, an urban designer, whom they hired, to produce a scheme that was, as Ian Adamson put it, "Sure you could build it. You can build anything. But it's a question of how much it will cost." They had very impractical things they were recommending. Why Norman would do this for that rather self-interested, to say the least, person, I don't know. Anyway, I've had a difficult time with Norman over the years. But at that point, the faculty were discussing the fact that they could put in for fifteen thousand dollars, if they would do it quickly, because there was a grant going that Penn could probably get. And Dave Wallace said, "You need to find an author pregnant with a book." And someone said, "Denise has done a proposal for a book." And I said, "Yes." And they said, "Have you got the proposal?" And I said, "Yes. I'll go and get it," and I left the meeting and I went and got the proposal all written out, seen by Holmes. And when I came back into that room, I could see from their faces that they weren't going to suggest it. And they suggested a book -- a study [by Himi Jammal]. [end of side two, tape five]
PR: We were talking about your book, seven chapters, or so, on determinants of urban form, or at least the proposal for it had been ready while you were at Penn.
DSB: Yes.
PR: But it wasn't funded.
DSB: And the part that Penn played in that, because we're talking about my complaints against Penn. So, with this strange, unsupportive atmosphere around at Penn -- at the time, there had been a great many raids on the Penn campus. Bill Wheaton left and went to California. He'd had a divorce and a remarriage. He married my student, Peggy Fry. There were so many inter-relationships around all of this. Bill Wheaton's wife thought I might be pulling Bill away from her. I had to fend her off. She said, "Oh, we must get together. It's been so long since I saw you. Let's have a cup of coffee together." I had a suspicion what all that was about. Of course, I hadn't -- these women were usually worried about the wrong woman. [laughs] But there it was. And it's not part of the story, but it sort of, in a way, is. But for all that, I felt -- I then started to find out how much other people were paid, like Tony Tomazinis. And I felt that this was not right, that I was being paid seven thousand four hundred dollars a year, and Tony was being paid fourteen thousand, and Bob seven thousand, etcetera, etcetera. And so I told Holmes I didn't want to teach that course the next semester. The other thing I discovered was that the minimum for a course anywhere was supposed to be one thousand five hundred. And here I was, for four years I'd been paid one thousand. And then the salary scales came out. Penn, unlike UCLA, didn't publish salary scales, but the college at large did. And it said that the average pay for an assistant professor -- and here's one thing, with the support of Bill Wheaton, I became assistant professor at twenty-nine, which was very, very young. And Bob was an instructor and I was an assistant professor. I had been an assistant professor for four years, and my salary was at the very, very lowest that an assistant professor incoming could be paid. And I felt this wasn't fair. So I said to Holmes, "I want to give up this course." Holmes promptly forgot all summer. At the end of the summer, he dragged me in and tried to make me feel disloyal by not supporting him.
PR: In that you were not going to teach. This is the theories on planning course?
DSB: Yes. It turned out that he had dealt with the other students -- all the ones in architecture, but in that theories course, where a group of students who were taking just the theories course, but were not going into architecture -- they might have started out intending to go into architecture, and then diverted to the Wharton School. They were the C students. And Holmes now announced to me that I would be graced with this bunch of students -- about nine or ten that I had to give this course to. I said, no, I wasn't going to do it.
PR: That's not very inspiring.
DSB: And then he made me feel as if I had let him down. I said, "I told you at the beginning of the summer that I wasn't going to do it." He was furious. I have seen his eyes flash with anger at me, twice. And that was one time. The other time was when I was talking to my students in the main court in the architecture building about having a jury, and there was a professor -- a visiting lecturer -- going to give a lecture. And I said, "We could either make the jury very short and go to the lecture, or we could keep the jury on, and we'll have to miss the lecture." It was a quickly announced lecture. I said we would vote, and they all voted to keep the jury on and miss the lecture. And there was Holmes standing behind me, and his eyes were flashing, because there was the lecturer next to him. [laughs] And the lecturer was Jim Stirling.
PR: That's embarrassing.
DSB: Yes, it is. The other time that I really gave Holmes a lot of trouble was when I started teaching the first theories of planning architecture and landscape architecture. He was the first lecturer. And they hadn't organized it, and it was my very first lecture. The very first thing I did, even before the first studio of urban design. No one had told me about how the projector worked, and they'd omitted to send a projectionist. So I had to run the projector for Holmes. And I got it all mixed up. Not only that. He'd say, "That slide is the wrong way round," and as he started to point to it, I'd start to move it and he'd have to point as the slide started to go up, and I saw his eyes flashing then, too. But he blamed everyone else, not me. Because I didn't know about it. But this last time was when I said I wasn't going to do that studio -- that course. Then he told them to cut my salary in half. I said, "This is absolutely not fair. You paid me a measly thousand dollars for the course. Now you're taking off three thousand six hundred dollars." I really objected to that. So what happened was I never heard anything more about it, and they paid me my salary until the end of the semester. And that was the last. That was when I was leaving.
PR: So, largely, it's --
DSB: But that's not -- then going on from there. Ever since, around Penn, this has happened to me. Another thing is I discovered when they replaced me, they replaced me with Larry Goldfarb. I also found one of my C grade students came in, and he had a job, and I was then earning seven thousand four hundred dollars, and he was earning nine thousand dollars. A C grade student. So, when Larry Goldfarb replaced me, they paid him nine thousand four hundred dollars. Two thousand dollars more than me, as he came in to teach the same course I was teaching. And I thought, "This is profoundly unfair." But when I got back here, I found that any time the Philadelphia School was mentioned, my name was not in it. And any time they talked about the great old days, of all the people that we had, I was left out. At the same time, Holmes got hold of me and said, "It's the duty of you and Bob to teach at Penn. It's your duty." And I said to him, "You didn't help us. Why do we have to help you?" And then various other things started to happen around Lou, which we can come to later. But meanwhile, I once wrote an angry letter to -- first of all, this happened a few years ago -- there was continuing the sense Penn doesn't even recognize I was around. They've just sent me a letter which moved me very much. It came from Darrel Conybeare. He was my student in the urban design program. He's Australian. I later helped him get a job with the Californian, Charles Eames. Charles Eames found my students very suitable for his programs. Any student I had taught, he was happy to look at. He found them very mature. They were useful for other things. Well, Darrel Conybeare wrote a letter, now, when he got the book of the hundred years of the Penn centennial, and he said how well he remembered Lou Kahn. He said, "But it was especially Denise Scott Brown that helped me find my way in architecture and in my future career." And Felice Naide sent me that letter. But, you see, Penn hasn't noticed that I had any important role there, at all, in anything they mention any of the times they speak about who were the great people there, where have they gone. When Holmes Perkins writes to say, "It's been a great pride to him to realize that all of his people went off to great schools," he never mentions me in that.
PR: But you did speak there last spring.
DSB: Well, you see, I'll tell you what's happened since.
PR: Okay.
DSB: This is what happened. About four or five years ago, Bob was asked to receive an honorary degree at Penn. This was under Martin Meyerson. There's been a sore point between us, because sometimes Bob is given an honorary degree and I'm not, and sometimes it's for the work we've done together. That certainly was the case at Yale. This is another long story that's coming. But Vince Scully -- when Bob and I first taught at Yale -- wrote something about, "Bob is wonderful until he joins his wife, Denise Scott Brown, in praising certain suburban practices." Then for the honorary degree Bob got, Vince wrote the citation, saluting Bob as the discoverer of the everyday landscape. And, of course, I was left out completely. Now it isn't "certain suburban practices," it's "this great big" -- because since that time, everyone has said it's marvelous. Now, because it's marvelous, I'm left out. So this time, at Penn, Bob wrote a letter saying "It should go to Denise and me, both." They didn't do anything and they didn't do anything, and they didn't do anything, and they called Bob to say, "Please send us your resume." And about a week before the granting of the program, a woman called and she said, "Oh, this is so embarrassing. We know that you asked for Denise Scott Brown, as well as yourself, but, you know, there are so many other people in line that we can't really push them back in line for Denise, can we?" Now Bob had not asked for an honorary degree for me. He'd asked for a joint degree. So that's what happened. I went to that, the dinner beforehand, feeling, as you can imagine, very angry. And a few things happened. I sat next to Jerry Mangione, and we formed a friendship at that dinner, and I told him what was happening. He said, "If it's any comfort to you, now that I'm sixty-five, it's as if I'm dead."
PR: Who is Jerry Mangione?
DSB: Jerry Mangione is a good friend of ours now. He was head of Creative Writing in the English Department at Penn. He is Italian and American, and he writes in English, but he has written The Life of Danilo Dolci. He's written An Ethnic at Large, which is the story of his early life. He's written a very famous book called Montallegro [?], which has had the most publications of any book in America. Sometimes published as English literature, sometimes it's humanistic studies, sometimes it's sociology. It's again a fictionalized version of his early life. And many others. Someone's called him a national treasure. He was there, and he sort of sympathized. Well, sympathy kind of put me off base a little. And when Lee Copeland came up to me at the end of that dinner, and I'd been saying and Bob had been saying, "We couldn't teach there." The first thing Lee said to me was, "Now you owe it to us to teach there," and I lost my temper and I said, "I owe you nothing." Oh, yes. Also, building up to all of that had been that many women came up to me and said, "You must be so proud. You must be so proud." And I realized all of those women there were getting reflected glory from their husbands, and they were horrified that I wasn't. That I was angry because it didn't include me. And when they said, "Oh, congratulations," I finally said, "I thank you on Bob's behalf. And when you give me one, I'll thank you on my behalf." And what that made them do was just walk right away. Walk right away. And then Lee Copeland came up and said, "Now you owe it to me to teach." And we started a shouting match right then. Lee started shouting when I said that. And I said to him, "Why did you do it this way?" And, of course, Lee didn't know it was happening that way. He had not been part of it. But it was a very raw, evil moment there. And quite a few people heard us. I don't know whether Vartan Gregorian knew what was happening. I think Martin certainly did, and I feel Martin let me down as a friend in that. And Martin was a friend of mine. I had known him for many years. So after that, Lee started trying to do better. And then one of those things came from Lee about the Philadelphia School -- the great old days -- leaving me out. And I sent him a note with the thing saying, "Are you going to do this once again? Are you going to do this every time?" Since then, he has tried very hard not to. And since then, he asked me to teach, and I did teach.
PR: That was the Fairmount Park Studio?
DSB: Yes. And again, I didn't get thanks from them. I didn't get a show of the material from them. I wasn't told, "This is very interesting." But the students do their annual rating, and they gave me the highest that had apparently been given in a long time. The average ratings are two and one, and I got threes and fours, which is as high as you can go. And I don't think this endeared me to any of them. [laughs] So that's the kind of story. Now, since then, if you go to that exhibition --
PR: The Centennial Exhibition?
DSB: Yes. Bob is there with great fanfare. And I am sort of tucked around the corner somewhere. But Julia Converse did call up, and they did put my essay in the book. My friends there are Julia Converse and George Thomas. And those people do understand my roll, I feel. And one day maybe someone else will. Al Levy has said anytime I will teach there, he will be very, very happy to have me. But they know that this thing has happened, and I haven't seen any attempts really to do something more than that. So my situation is this: I am very happy when I'm asked to be on those things. Ann Strong -- she sent me a note saying, "You are obviously a great teacher." So I'm happy to do those things when they ask. And as a firm, we have been employed by Penn, and I'm happy about that, and I'm happy for my piece in that. And as a firm, we will donate. But I don't give to annual giving, because I feel I have been, in many ways, not well treated. That's on the record. I don't know if other people have as bad a story to tell, or not. It could be that you'll find Ann Tyng's stories every bit as bad. I discovered that, too recently to believe, she was being paid five thousand dollars a year for the teaching she did there. That was maybe six years ago.
PR: Back in the 60s, who were the other women faculty members?
DSB: Siasia Nowicki. That was it.
PR: That was it?
DSB: Now, the students were wonderful, and they were great to teach. Penn students have always been marvelous to teach. Receptive, serious and hard-working.
PR: You said you wanted to mention two things, I think, in this era. You said you had something to say about Aldo, Giurgola I assume, and Lou Kahn.
DSB: Yes. I was at a faculty meeting where Aldo had been asked to design the exhibit for a faculty exhibition. It was going to be in the main -- I forget what it was called, that space -- main jury space.
PR: Is this in Hayden Hall?
DSB: Yes. In Hayden Hall, as it's now called. It wasn't called that then. It was called the Architecture Building. In the main jury space, that open court space. Aldo had produced this design. He presented it to the faculty, and Lou was just damning about it's, sort of, being too bitty, not a big idea, not well thought through -- too fumbling, fiddling. And also, other people's ideas, he was also damning about. I thought of something else I should tell you as well, and now I've just forgotten it. I better go on with this one. So Lou made everyone feel very, very bad. And after the meeting -- oh, yes. It's about the Architecture Building. After the meeting, I went up to Lou and I said, "Why did you have to be so cruel? Look, you've made them all feel inadequate. Look at all of their faces." Everyone was like that. [makes a face, laughs] "Just look at all of their faces. Why did you have to speak that way?" And he said, "I don't know, Denise. I'll tell you what. I just won't come to faculty meetings," and sure enough after that, he didn't come to faculty meetings. [laughs] It was funny because I had written somewhere -- I wrote it after -- the difference between Lou's kind of rebelliousness and the Smithsons' was that the Smithsons would never have come to faculty meetings. Lou did. Lou came and argued. That was the difference between them. I think I have some funny insights about the Architecture Building and how it came to be built. And that is, when the question became one of leaving our building -- and we didn't want to leave. I had this wonderful office there, at the back, looking out over the lawn at lawn height.
PR: This is leaving the building for the new Meyerson Hall?
DSB: Well, it wasn't built yet. The question was were we going to get a new building? And there were the people -- the SOSs and the SOBs -- Save Our Space and Save Our Building. And there was a revolt. The students had a revolt. We were in the faculty meeting and you could hear the sound of a procession coming down Smith Walk. There was a little red MG coming down Smith Walk, with all the students behind, and I knew what it felt like to be in the Bastille with the crowds all around. The faculty were too scared to come out, and didn't come out and talk to the crowds. But anyway, the university prevailed. Then the students said that it had to be a building done by Kahn. Well, Holmes came with the news that Martin, Noble and someone had been appointed.
PR: Martin, Stewart & Noble? Or whatever it was in those days.
DSB: Martin, Stewart & Noble. Yes. And, you know, that was a time when there was a pipeline to the GSA for five different architects who were the Penn architects, and it was all very political. It was probably based on contributions, and because the GSA was involved, you got their architects. So Holmes came with the information that Martin of Martin, Stewart & Noble, had offered to stand down in favor of Lou. And Holmes said that Martin was a gentleman, but it was no use, because whatever happened, they weren't going to hire Lou because of the difficulties with Richards Medical Building. But meanwhile, several people -- Leon Loschetter and Tom Godfrey -- were doing designs for the site. I think asked to by Holmes. And Lou also was doing a design for the site. I went to Holmes, one of my times, again, of bearding the lion in the den, and said, "Won't you fight for Lou?" I came away with the impression that he wasn't going to fight for Lou. But not only that. Holmes asked me what Lou was thinking of doing on the site. So Lou and Holmes weren't talking about it. I talked with Lou and he wanted an arcade and various other things. I could see Lou was beside himself with grief and anger about all of that. And I was, for a little bit, a go-between there. It was very astounding to me to see them. They just weren't talking. Then, finally, that building was built, and I formed the opinion -- I'd also been to Holmes to talk with him about the superblock, saying it shouldn't happen. And I'd given him ideas about what I thought should happen, which, ironically, is very much what they're trying to put back with the superblock now. And Holmes had been so defensive about it, that I thought he was in some way involved with the design. And sure enough, he was.
PR: He and Romanach were together involved in that.
DSB: Yes. And he was so defensive about the things I was saying, like, "Keep the buildings low, and wind them in and out around the existing buildings, and keep Locust Street going all the way through as a walk, and have academic and administrative uses at ground level there. And make courts." All the things they are thinking of now. And half of it would have been left from what was there now -- what was there then. But in the same way, I formed the opinion that Holmes was probably going into Martin, Stewart & Noble's office and telling them what to do in the Architecture Building. And it was actually going to be Holmes' building. And my theory is that it is really Holmes' design. And, in fact, the way those stairs don't work as you go upstairs, my theory is -- and it's just a fantasy, nothing more -- that the draftsman in charge said, "He's told me once too many times. He wants the stairs that way, he's going to get them that way," and didn't argue and just did it. And that's my feeling about what happened with that building. Now, I have no evidence for that. I just have a suspicion. [Tape Off/On] What did I learn from Kahn, or what did I and my students learn from Kahn? Kahn became woven into my life, and very easily. Coming from the Smithsons and the Brutalists, at that stage, it just sounded like continuing with those ideas. And then, because at that stage, he was also showing his students plans of Rome, of Roman buildings, and also Scottish castles -- it was a continuation of the excitement that I'd found in Europe, as well. The mixture between Dave Crane's kind of urbanism and then seeing those plans, and seeing them urbanistically, he helped me make a bridge -- as Summerson had done -- to developing an urban fabric, which was both made up of individually crafted parts, and a general order of space. And Lou helped with that. I think myself, too, that I found the Richards Medical Building, when I first went there, Miesian. And I had a big argument with Holmes about this. He said, "Not at all. One's in steel, and the other's in brick." And I said, "There's something about the Constructivism that Lou has used in his details, which reminded me of Carlo Scarpa in some ways, and also of Mies." It was much stronger than Scarpa, and, of course, it was in concrete, glass and brick, not in steel. But it was almost like jewelry. And then the notion of generic space, which I'd been finding interesting in Mies, and here it was again. And it applied to urbanism. Lou is so seeped into my blood in that way -- the way I look at drawing the order of the fabric of a city, for example -- that it's very difficult to, kind of, take it all out again. Paul Davidoff said something like, "I see what you see in Lou, Denise. He really does go back to basic beginnings. When he talks about man" -- I had this big argument with Lou about "man," long before feminism. I said, "At least in America you should learn to say 'men,' because America's a pluralist place." And Lou thought, and then he said, "Well, yes, I see what you mean. And that's very important. But then you lose something about the general about the individual." And Paul noticed these important back-to-the-beginnings of seeing an individual as an embryonic beginnings -- the excitement of embryonic beginnings. And, of course, I'd formed a great love of Paestum. Lou had that great love of that kind of primitive beginning, in that temple and in much else. And later Bob would say, "That's too easy to like." But I feel I shared that. It's not the superficial things, and it's not the pretentious things. The notion of form was very, very important, but it became pretentious, too. So, I think it's gone very deep in me, but it comes out in all of these things. And I think -- for example, we were looking at the Toulouse competition, which we're working on now, and the basic zoning of that plan that we've evolved -- which Lou would have called it's basic form -- came to me [looking at drawings] by looking carefully at the pressures that were coming from the city -- partly from the access points, and partly from the structure -- the tissue around it. I think that as I said it, Bob was also thinking it. We both thought the same thing. We both very quickly said, "No. This is what you really ought to try." The other architects were talking about putting blocks across the site in certain places. You'd have two blocks here, and they could be linked there. They dealt with objects. We dealt with a spine through the whole thing, to which objects of different shapes would accrete. And the basic stress diagram -- just what I'm talking about in Berlin -- we formulated pretty much together, although I verbalized it. Bob quickly said, "Yes. That is the way it should be. It's obvious that the bridge is here and this is here. Try this first, at any rate." I think some of that came from Lou. But it's not exactly. It's our minds and his were all very sympathetic to that, but I think Lou might have done the same thing. Sort of worked his way into the problem that way. Not by saying, "Here's a block of administration, here's a block of this."
PR: What about what I might call Lou's "rhetoric." His speeches -- one reads them, and they're full of sort of inspiring language about beginnings about things like --
DSB: You should ask Bob what he feels about that. I want to tell you what I feel, too. My feeling is that Lou talked and talked and talked and talked. And if you were with him for six months in his studio, you, in the end, understood most of it. And you could also learn to distinguish -- what is Lou off the top of his head, and trying his hand, unformulated -- not completely formulated thought; and what is something that's been winnowed to an essence and has truth and beauty. You could tell the difference between those. And some of it was pretentiousness. And some of it was sloppy thinking. And some of it just caught the spirit. I've written about this great debate that Lou and Tony Tomazinis had in a faculty meeting. They were shouting at each other. It was about research. Lou pooh-poohed research, and in the end, it had this wonderful situation where Tony yelled, "You can't do research by committee." And Lou yelled, "You can't do design by committee." [laughs] What was most precious to them. In the end, Lou said, "He has reverence for the book, and I for the building." It was very perceptive. It was winnowed thought again, after all. So, some of it was pretentious. Some of it was very, very thoughtful. And getting to essence is important. I don't know if Lou's rhetoric really helped get to essence. Maybe it helped him. Maybe it helped to hide some of his rather nearer at hand sources. And that is Bob's great problem with Lou. When Lou realized that Bob had fallen out with him, he was disturbed, and he came to me. As Holmes Perkins also sent a message to Bob through me, he'd never given Geddes, Brecher [Qualls and Cunningham] the Towne School [Univ. of PA]. Lou sent a message to Bob. I would not tell Lou why Bob was angry. I did say, "You've never helped him to get work." But that wasn't the only reason. But he said, "You know, I've never known where my next job was coming from." But we were told by people in New Haven that when Lou went to visit a city agency there, he said "Of course I would never put a television aerial on a building," and we thought that was not fair to say that. I said, "You haven't helped him find work," and Lou said, "Well, I've never known where my next building was coming from, so I never felt I could do that." And I can see that, particularly in retrospect, with all the problems we've had with getting buildings. Though we do help disciples to get work, when we can. We try to be -- we've tried to help in ways that Lou didn't help us. No one has helped us. No one has helped Bob, until Bill Bowen. But Lou sent this message through me to Bob. Lou said to Bob, "There is truth in Las Vegas." But we knew Lou could not follow us. Las Vegas was not primitive enough, and you don't always have to go back to first principles. And Lou produced a set of articulated buildings that probably over did the articulations. But I feel that Lou derived his grids subtlety from within. And I feel he didn't have the resources to know very well what to do about breaking the grid until Bob started to teach him. So that his later buildings, under the influence of Bob, do know where to have a system, and when to break the system, and how to break the system with inspiration. But he learned that from Bob, and he camouflaged that under rhetoric. At the same time, while I was studying with him -- if you look at the Richards Medical Labs, the entrance space is glorious, but it's part of the system. It's a space that Vince [Scully] called "truly tragic space." And I think that that's a wonderful description of it. But it is part of the system. And the only thing that's out of the system is the ventilation of the animal labs. And I feel that he was building an urban order there for a building that was too small for it. But, okay. That's been done before. You take too small a problem, because it's the one you have to hand. And that's some of the reasons why there have been functional problems with that building. But on an aesthetic level, his problem was that he wasn't able to find a way to break the system. And the breaks within the system is what makes glorious architecture -- the one and the other. But again, his system is much more derived from within, than his followers', who imposed theirs from on top. And you see, a lot of people have gone out into the field with the Lou Kahn vocabulary, who've had to change as they hit budgets. And, of course, budgets were not something that Lou hit very often.
PR: Right.
DSB: It would be a very interesting study to follow the best students from Lou's studio, and see what they've done over the last thirty-five years. So, maybe that's all we should do for the moment.
PR: Okay. [Tape Off/On]
DSB: The other thing -- it's very difficult to define -- I just said it's like -- it's very difficult to define what it was that one learned from Lou. I said it's almost like one learned breathing. Except that I feel I was breathing pretty well before I got here, and since. But the other important lesson was probably just how important architecture is. For him, it was like breathing, and it was life and death. And it was like a God -- a Goddess -- that he served. And that by translation, therefore, that you should also be serving your Goddess. And serving, searching, looking for -- not imposing on, but looking for. And that this was really everything that was worth doing in life. And to learn that what you've chosen to do in life should have that kind of importance to you, was probably a very, very important lesson.
PR: It sounds somewhat parallel to the prophetic mission that you've talked about before.
DSB: I think Lou's prophetic mission was architecture.
PR: Okay. But the same seriousness.
DSB: Yes.
PR: The same almost devoutness that one assumes.
DSB: That's right. But for me, it's more difficult to define. And I think when I said that I admired Arthur Holden for writing an ode -- no, a sonnet -- to zoning, it really said a lot about what I'm looking for. end of side two, tape six Fifth interview, November 3, 1991
DSB: We left off about 1965. Now I have the job in three sessions to get from 1965 to 1991, which arguably is a major part of our career, at least as it's known to the public. And the question is how does one do that in three sessions? Does one go sailing on, telling how Bob and I met? Rather how Bob and I married; I told you how we met. How we married, and how our life of the mind developed from that time on, and just stop where the third sessions ends. Or do we try for some synoptic, abstracted overview? Or do we start at this end, and work back. There is some argument for trying to get the immediacy of what I feel today, and then to fill in, in some way, in the next session. And then try for a kind of overview in the third session. Does this seem what would be a good idea?



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