DREAMS & THEMES with ROBERT VENTURI and DENISE SCOTT BROWN, November 19, 2005
SHOEMAKER: Good afternoon and welcome to this first in a biannual series of Master Builder Dialogues. I'm Jay Shoemaker, president of The Carpenters' Company of the City and County of Philadelphia, and I'm welcoming you here to this wonderful event this afternoon. The building you're in was built by, designed by and is maintained by members of The Carpenters' Company. If you want to learn a little more of the details, on the back of your brochure you will find more information on the Company. What I want to dwell on very briefly before I make introductions is the Company, very alive and very healthy since its founding in 1724. With 190 members of the different industries that make up the process of building buildings from design through to construction, we have played and continue to play a significant role in the Delaware Valley and nationally in the creation of fine structures, both architectural and engineering. Our fundamental mission is to preserve the whole and to tell the history of the Company, but over the recent years, we've returned to the original purpose for which the Company was set up, and you see it quoted in the back of your brochure, and that is, "for the purpose of obtaining instruction in the science of architecture," and that is part of what we're doing here today as allowing opportunities for us to communicate with our coworkers in this industry and to learn from each other and to advance our knowledge and our skill and our appreciation of the works that we are doing. At this time, I would like to introduce the person who will be doing the introductions. Julia Moore Converse is the assistant to the dean of the Graduate School of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania and the curator of the Louis Kahn Architectural Archives. Julia.
CONVERSE: Good afternoon. I am so honored to be presenting two of the most famous architects in the world and I love the name of the award, Master Builders. It's better than an Oscar, isn't it? My first introduction to Bob and Denise's work came in 1965, long before I met them, during the Art History Survey course at Smith College. The house in Chestnut Hill designed by Bob for his mother was brand new then. It was the first time I had seen Bob's work, and I fell in love with it, as we all did, with the iconic building. But I never dreamed that one day I would live down the street from it, or even more that Bob and Denise and their work would become a major focus of my own work. I arrived in Philadelphia in 1982 to curate the architectural collections of Penn. With a background in old master prints and drawings, this was fairly daunting. At that time, there were few professional standards for the collection and management of architectural collections, and few of my peers were actively involved in this area. However, I was helped out by almost everybody in the front row here and we made our way. I soon found that collecting architectural drawings presents a very different challenge than old master prints and drawings but yields many of the same pleasures. Architectural design drawings, like preparatory drawings for all works of art, whether from sculptures or from major canvasses, afford the viewer an inside look at the evolution of the design from its very beginning. They are fascinating as they document the choices designers make in their search for the final design. Actually, I'd like to take this same approach with the architects themselves.
3. SYMBOLISM - ICONOGRAPHY
4. URBAN DESIGN / CONTEXT
5. COMMUNICATION all our buildings look different manifest in...
Here we are with a couple of early sketches. Bob was born in Philadelphia in 1925. His mother Vanna enrolled him in a Friends School to expose him to the Quaker values that she admired. Denise was born six years later in Northern Rhodesia, which is now Zambia.
They went to private schools, separated by half the world. Bob attended the Episcopal Academy in Merion, and Denise, Kingsmead College in Johannesburg.
2. MANNERISM deriving from late architecture throughout... Renaissance and English ancient Egyptian onwards Expressionist aesthetic of the
Bob graduated summa cum laude from Princeton's undergraduate architecture program and entered the graduate program there. His thesis was titled Context in Architectural Composition. His thesis critics were Louis Kahn and George Howe. Denise studied architecture at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, where her mother Phyllis Lakofski had also studied architecture. She completed her professional training in architecture at the Architectural Association in London.
3. SYMBOLISM - ICONOGRAPHY Throughout history -- (except the Abstract 20th century)
Travel is a constant in Bob and Denise's life, and now more than ever. In the 1950s, Denise spent four years studying and traveling in England, and Europe, worked in South Africa, and came to the United States with Robert Scott Brown in 1958. Bob won the Rome prize fellowship to the American Academy of Rome in 1954 and lived in Europe for two years, traveling throughout Italy and to Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Austria, and Scandanavia.
4. manifest in... URBAN DESIGN / CONTEXT acknowledged in
Bob and Denise both came to Penn in the late 1950s, Bob to teach, starting as an instructor and leaving as an associate professor in 1967. Denise earned her Master's degree in city planning in 1960 and in 1961 became an assistant professor there. While on the faculty, Denise completed her Penn Master's degree in architecture.
5. COMMUNICATION High and Pop Cultures...
Bob and Denise connected in 1960 during a faculty meeting. Denise argued passionately against the proposed demolition of Frank Furness's University Library. The demolition had been approved by Penn's Board of Trustees. We have the signed plans to prove that. Venturi strongly sympathized with her plan to save it.
5a. ARCHITECTURE AS COMMUNICATION: elaborate definition
|COMMUNICATION||rather than SPACE|
|for the Information Age||rather than the Industrial Age|
|ICONOGRAPHY||rather than Abstract Expressionism|
|CONVENTION||rather than Heroic & Original acknowledging the everday/ordinary rather than Dramatique|
|GENERIC/VERNACULAR||rather than Exotic|
|EVOLUTIONARY-PRAGMATIC||rather than Revolutionary / ideological|
|MANNERIST||rather than Expressionistic|
|ELECTRONIC TECHNOLOGY||rather than Electric Games for the Electric Age|
|CHANGING MESSAGES/ORNAMENT||rather than Abstract Purity for Multi-Culturalism|
|DIGITAL SPLENDOR||rather than Gloomy Glow|
Over 30 years later, Bob and Denise brilliantly restored and renovated this library, reestablishing the magnificent reading room and creating galleries, a seminar room, and storage for the architectural archives. The archives' home in Furness is the envy of our peers. While at Penn, Denise organized a course on theories of architecture, landscape architecture, and planning, and Bob taught a course on theories of architecture. Denise ran the seminars for both courses. In 1965, Denise became co-chair of the Urban Design Program at UCLA and in 1966 recruited Bob as a visiting critic. On this trip, they visited Las Vegas. They traveled the Strip from casino to casino appalled and fascinated by what they saw. [SLIDE 8.] They were married in Santa Monica, California in 1967. Together at Yale, they developed and taught three important studios, including the Las Vegas studio, which resulted in the landmark book, Learning from Las Vegas, written with Steve Izenour. [SLIDE 9.] Four years after they were married, while living in Society Hill Towers, there was another change in the master plan. Bob and Denise adopted their son, Jimmie, born in 1971. The family needed a house of their own and they found it on a beautiful site in West Mount Airy. [SLIDE 10.] Designed in 1909 by Philadelphia architect, Milton Medary, this Art Nouveau house serves not only as a refuge for the Venturi family and a place for their collections, but the stenciled ornament on the dining room walls honors the individuals who have inspired them, from Beethoven to Michelangelo, from Toscanini to Adolph Loos. The influence that Bob and Denise wield is evermore international. [SLIDE 11.] But we like to think they are really ours, they're faithful to us, to Philadelphia, to their storefront office in Manayunk, and to the family that is VSBA. There will be, I am sure, alterations and additions as Bob and Denise continue their extraordinary careers. [SLIDE 12.] But in the meantime, here's the view I love of them best. What they are now, surrounded by what they have created and built. This wonderful double portrait has been purchased for Penn's architectural archives. The artist is Mel Leipzig and the painting is currently on display in New York City at Gallery Hennoch. Thank you very much.
VENTURI: Well, thank you, and especially thank you, Julia, for that most gracious and generous introduction — and also thank you to Jay Shoemaker and to The Carpenters' Company for the whole of this beautiful occasion. Maybe the name should be changed from The Carpenters' Company to The Gracious Company.
It's also fun for me to be in this Friends Meeting House. When I was young, my parents and I would attend Yearly Meeting here. And then it is lovely to see so many loyal friends here and also strangers and people I'd love to meet.
I shall read what I am going to say next because I want to be quick and concise, and I will try to stick to my lecturing you for only twenty minutes which was the time allotted me, but I'm afraid I shall — like a typical architect — spend some of that time lecturing you on our architecture — that of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates' architecture and ideas.
But I shall start by expressing Denise's and my gratitude again to The Carpenters' Company for coming up with the idea for and the subject of this gathering and then for including VSBA within it. That's a great honor. And then there is The Carpenters' Company's Master Builder Award which Denise and I are most grateful for, and will cherish.
And then there is the idea for this gathering: the significance of technology within architecture as an art and as a profession, and the significance of the working together of architects, engineers, and builders, in the construction industry.
I think most of us would agree that the famous definition of architecture by Vitruvius — translated by Sir Henry Wotton as Firmness, Commodity and Delight, or to use a contemporary vocabulary, Architecture as Structure, Program and Expression — is still valid. And the role of the element of structure has always been significant, as it has connected with the expressive, or esthetic elements of architecture — in, for example, the columns and pilasters of Classical and Renaissance architecture; or the orders, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian; or the flying buttresses of Gothic cathedrals. And, of course, Modern architecture of the 20th century incorporates structure as a distinctly, explicitly esthetic element, as in the exposed frame essential to the architecture of Mies van der Rohe or the exposed reinforced concrete architecture of Le Corbusier. At the same time, of course, Modernism ironically, almost contradictorily, engages an abstract-expressionist esthetic along with functional expression and generic industrial symbolism.
And another irony. It could be argued that in this modern era, the engaging of a technical emphasis within an architectural esthetic, has led, to some extent, to a decline in the technical quality of architecture — structural and mechanical. A good deal of architecture of the fifties and sixties, we are now finding, is deteriorating. I think some of these problems derive from issues like:
- Exposure of actual structural elements for esthetic expression can lead to deterioration of the surfaces of these elements.
- There is the danger that, when you employ new technologies and systems you are not benefiting from the development and refinement of such elements having occurred over time — not benefiting from having learned from experience.
- The employment of general contracts that cover everything ahead of construction diminishes the opportunity for architects and engineers and builders to work together pragmatically during construction as it evolves. Everything has to be settled in the drafting room rather than on the building site. Sir Christopher Wren did not have this problem.
- And then there is the general complexity and contradiction that dominates as dozens of consultants work together. And this kind of accommodation to technical complexity can ironically diminish quality.
And now I must quickly refer to, among our many friends and consultants here, Nick Gianopulos and others at Keast & Hood whose firm we have worked with beautifully for over forty years, and then to Tom Unkefer of Unkefer Brothers with whom we have worked with great satisfaction on important projects.
And then I refer of course to the distinguished architects of our firm who are here who constitute our firm and make it what it is.
And then, another then, we must recognize, as I've said, the beautiful example of architecture which is our context today, that of this Philadelphia Friends Meeting House.
So let us all work together in our complex and contradictory era — and proclaim on this occasion a new kind of Declaration of Interdependence!
And now what follows in the last part of the allotted 20 minutes is a quick review of our main ideas as architects and planners evolving over forty-five years, indicated in our work and our writing, but most importantly in our work.
And I can focus on our ideas in these last minutes because of the potpourri of images of our work that you have focused on — been subjected to — via the evolving projections during my talk on the screen behind me. But again, our work is what is more important to us — which the ideas have led up to. So here are ideas within the context of work.
Here has been what we say to confirm what we do to inform our work. I might mention someone said after a recent lecture that I gave in Philadelphia: "He hasn't had a new idea in forty years." Of course, my response was, at least we've had an idea. But let us remember the ideas are secondary. As I have been saying, the work is primary. What we do is more important than what we say.
So here on the screen will be a quick review of our main ideas in sequence. [SLIDE 1.] I have considered among the main ideas, No. 1, — that of context, which my graduate thesis was on the subject of way back. No one talked about context then. I really was the first guy who did that in terms of architecture. No. 2, Mannerism. No. 3, Symbolism, or iconography. No. 4, Urban Design/Context — very important, especially in terms of Denise's work. No. 5, Communication — leading up to a final definition of Architecture as Communication, which we've talked and written about a lot.
So, returning to context [SLIDE 2]: in two books on our work by the great Swiss historian, our dear friend Stanislaus von Moos, you will see how all our buildings look different. We like to say this is because they connect with their setting, with context — context being physical, natural, architectural, urban, but also cultural and institutional. It's wonderful to work within the contexts of different countries. We're going to China in two days for three weeks and we have a wonderful project there — our first high-rise complex! So context is very important. Although architecture's structural-mechanical element is more or less universal today, its symbolisms and iconographies should not be universal but should derive from different cultures, and connect with immediate context.
And No. 2 [SLIDE 3.]: there's the idea of Mannerism, covered in my book, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. There is Mannerism deriving from late Renaissance and from almost all of English historical architecture, which I have emphasized as relevant for our time, a time of complexity and contradiction. And I used the word Mannerism a lot in the book, but maybe it should have been in the title — but certainly the illustration on the cover of the Porta Pia in Rome is an example of Michelangelo's architecture and Mannerism.
No. 3 [SLIDE 4.]: Symbolism and Iconography we talked about in our next book, Learning from Las Vegas, where we emphasize symbolism as something that Modernism did not acknowledge while it did employ a kind of symbolism by making buildings look industrial, by acknowledging the American industrial vernacular architecture of the time, but at the same time engaging abstract expressionism!. But if you go from ancient Egypt on through history, of course, architecture is teeming with the element of symbolism, of reference, in each period and as each style — as in Roman, Gothic, Renaissance, 19th century Eclectic, etc. — engaged different symbolic content.
Then there's No. 4 [SLIDE 5.]: the importance of the urban design element in our work — a dimension that does connect also with context and which Denise will refer to.
And then there's No. 5 [SLIDE 6.]: the idea of communication, which we talk about in our latest book — and communication — acknowledged in high and Pop cultures! This we refer to as architecture as signs rather than as space. Modern architecture emphasized space and that element was loved because it worked with abstraction. But it is architecture of signs and systems that is for now — is for a Mannerist era, that of now.
And then the last slide [SLIDE 7.], I think I'm within my twenty minutes, describes architecture as communication: we call it communication rather than space — for the Information Age rather than the Industrial Age — involving iconography rather than abstract expressionism — architecture as conventional rather than original. This kind of conventional architecture acknowledges architecture of the everyday — as ordinary rather than heroic and dramatique; as generic, vernacular — rather than exotic; as evolutionary, pragmatic — rather than revolutionary, ideological; as mannerist — rather than expressionistic. Viva electronic technology rather than electric games for the Electronic Age! Viva changing messages and ornament rather than abstract purity! Viva Multiculturalism! We can engage change now via electronic-LED pixels. Viva digital splendor rather than gloomy glow!
SCOTT BROWN: At the beginning, let me say how wonderful I think it is that the money collected here will go for scholarships. Construction people and architects may have started the Charter High School for Architecture and Design, but it's been taken up by many others. This school trains in our field, but it also gives a general education. It teaches through studio and through design, which I've always thought was a wonderful way to teach, particularly for doers, for activists, but I'll come back to that later.
For now, I want to talk about the construction industry — the construction industry widely defined. Because I'm a planner as well as an architect, I have had to study urban economics and sociology. I was taught that the economy is a social group. This seemed an interesting idea — that people at work in a corporation or an industry are a social group; that many different kinds of people get together and make a product; and that their product affects the level of livelihood of all of them and of their society. And it strikes me that the construction industry can be thought of as a social group too, and that we're all, all of us here, involved in it. It's this social group that I think we're trying, in these forums, to get the world and Philadelphia to understand.
I got involved in learning more about the construction industry through my student advisor at Penn, David Crane. Dave has just died. He was an architect and planner who tried to help us to keep these fields together, to understand architecture in social and technical terms and in many other ways. He had come out of Harvard where Modern architecture was first introduced in the U.S. from Europe. Harvard was the main place for its dissemination in America.
One of the themes of Modern architects in the 1930s had been that the construction industry should be industrialized, but, in the 1960s planners had a field day taking down the architects on that subject. They called them romantics for saying that a house should be built the way a Ford automobile was built. The planners believed mass production doesn't apply to the construction industry, and I think they were basically right. You can't compare the construction industry to the auto industry. But Dave Crane was very interested in the notion of industrializing city building. He felt that, if the construction of buildings could be industrialized, so could the construction of the city. And the reason would be to reduce costs and bring about efficiency. So he had me investigate merchant home builders, because in the aftermath of WWII, they were building mass housing and perhaps heading toward industrializing housing. I read a great deal about merchant builders. I also visited the Korman Company and met the grandfather, an old man, breathing heavily, the father, and the son, a young man in muddy boots and coveralls, over which he had placed an architect's tweed jacket. This group had built the $10,000 rowhouse all over Northeast Philadelphia and, if anyone was industrializing housing, they were. Then, of course, Levitt. The Levitts' vertical organization of the construction industry was fascinating. They had acquired distributors of building materials and components, so that they could reduce costs and, more important, get the stuff delivered when they needed it. So I tried to understand the structure of the merchant builder industry. Then, in the early 1970s we ran a studio at Yale called Learning from Levittown, or Remedial Housing for Architects. The second title meant, "Architects get away from your pipe dreams of prefabrication and the auto industry and look at housing as it really is." During the study we learned that there may be considerable industrialization in the housing industry but we architects don't recognize it because it's largely to do with components, and these still look traditional. For example, interior trims and moldings may be made of plastic, even though they look Colonial.
But if the construction industry can be seen as both a social and an economic entity, it is also a family. And we've all had our family experiences. To elaborate: If we're a family, there are always those mother-in-law jokes. I don't like mother-in-law jokes very much. One day I'll be a mother-in-law and then I'll dislike them even more. But perhaps people in families save themselves by making jokes, by laughing when otherwise they might cry. So of course there are lots of jokes about contractors in the architecture business and there are probably even more about architects in construction. I know that from relatives I've had in construction and from builders I've sat next to on planes or buses while traveling.
So Bob and I have a store of jokes from being around architecture and construction. My experience has to do, as well, with construction in different countries. For example, in Africa, construction labor is often unskilled. We South African architects would laugh at the construction details proposed by English architects, which were way out of keeping with what could be produced by builders in Africa and also inappropriate for the climate. I began my career learning some down-to-earth construction methods suitable for countries where concrete was used more than steel, and where systems had to be designed for construction by local labor.
In 1952 I moved to continue my architectural education in Post World War II England. At my school in London, the students, I felt, took their construction information from books. They didn't have an on-the-site sense of how a detail should be built up following a logical order of construction. Upon graduation, I worked for the architect, Erno Goldfinger, in London, which was a Dickensian experience. Part of the Dickensian quality was having to take notes on site visits. The site, which was just around the corner from our office, had been bombed, and there was a great wooden shoring element holding up the building next door. On this support someone had scrawled a vulgar term in large white chalk letters, and I, a very young woman, looked every which way in order not to be perceived as looking at it. This made site observation difficult.
In the office Erno drummed into me construction details that I'd never seen before. He made me detail every knuckle of every waste pipe in all the chases of a multi-story building, from basement to rooftop. I didn't think this was logical, and it made me question my ability or desire to practice architecture. But when I discovered that the construction foreman, who could walk round the corner to the office when he had a question, couldn't really read drawings, that helped me, and I felt a little more confident in my role.
Later, when we worked in the UK on the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery, there was a strong social hierarchy on the site. When we invited some construction workers to a pub for a drink after a meeting, we found they couldn't talk to us. They could only address us through their foreman. He had worked in Canada so he had another kind of experience. Our construction documents, too, caused anxiety. In particular, our having shown and marked every face brick in this important building caused bricklayers to leave the job. And, whereas the masonry that came from Europe was done well, that from England was abysmal. One sad experience stood out. We had designed a detail that contractors here probably wouldn't have liked either: an L-shaped stone cladding element. This allowed the return at the corner of the wall to be six inches wide, not two inches wide — to look more sturdy. It was a difficult detail, but it was for a building that housed some of the most precious paintings in the world. We thought it was appropriate. Well every time the shop drawing came back from the contractor that detail had been changed. We'd X out the change and send it back. This happened several times; then one day, on that same sheet, they circled another edited shop drawing for approval, and our person fixed the detail they were referring to and omitted to change the first one yet again. And when the masons received this mailing, they immediately built up the wall the way they wanted it and we were faced with a fait accomplit. It's a shame. The scale looks commercial, not institutional. That's not a joke, it's a horror story. But mostly, we have a good time with contractors.
My first husband, Robert Scott Brown, and I worked briefly in Rome for an architect, Giuseppe Vaccaro. He and his "gruppo" were amazed at the kind of construction detailing we did. For example, they didn't do cavity wall construction in Rome. On one occasion, Robert misread the catalog and showed a steel I-beam that didn't exist. He was terribly apologetic, but Vaccaro said, "Don't worry, don't worry. It doesn't exist? It should exist. We will make one." You couldn't do that here.
Our Hôtel du Département, in Toulouse, France, was a large administrative building for a regional government — the French equivalent of a State Capitol. Our client, M.le President, was like the president of the state. He did not develop an interest in the building until after the schematic design was approved. Then he summoned us to a meeting to announce, "I am the king because I pay." That's pretty good for a socialist, we thought, and the taxi driver commented, "He is playing the seigneur with the taxes of the people." When M. le President discovered columns at the entrance to the building, he disapproved and threatened to dynamite them. But luckily French intellectual property law prevented him. There was no general contractor, so the subs (there were perhaps 30 trades) met regularly to correlate as best they could, and it's amazing how well they did. This was partly, I think, because they were highly trained. The people at the coordination meetings looked like engineers.
But some aspects of the coordination were less efficient. The concrete work was crude and clumsy. This affected all subsequent construction. The stonework, in particularly, had to be adapted to mistakes in the concrete. And at the end, the final step in the deputies' ceremonial walk to the legislative chambers was built the wrong size. The contractors had promised, all the way through, that they would cut it down but they never did and, at the end, M. le President said, "You can't do that now." So the last step is covered with cheesy-looking carpet and a cheap metal strip, and it's highly unmonumental. Also, lack of coordination produced mechanical ducts in unexpected places. And the fire safety people moved in and had the power to install their equipment wherever they wanted. There was none of the cordial agency collaboration over fire safety that you get in America. So that was France for you. But workers on the site were kind and charming toward us, the lighting and painting contractors were wonderful to work with, and so were our local architects.
On our building site in Japan, there were, at one time, 2,000 workers, all robed in silk. There were women too, and they wore their construction helmets over their traditional sunbonnets. We found a marvelous level of skill in construction. The only misstep was between the contractors and the electrical consultants. They were used to building hotels together and they seemed to have agreed, "Despite what the architect said, we know what you want, you know what we want." We found a totally different lighting system from the one we had designed. So I went for a walk with an English-speaking member of the client group and told him what had been happening, and they held a ritual slaying of those responsible. They also fixed the lighting.
There was a Shinto building opening ceremony, held in a large fabric tent. About 200 Japanese construction people were present but a man from Bechtel, the translator, and VSBA were the only people who spoke English. The translator and I were the only women. It was a marvelous ceremony. The 200 men in black suits stood out against the white tent and fabric-draped altar. Robed Shinto priests told us what to do. Bob and I had to say, "Hey! Hey! Hey!" and dig up some earth. Then we had to talk. I observed that, although there were only two women at the ceremony, there were many women students in the schools of architecture, and that I hoped by the time the building opened there would be more women on the building site. The man from Bechtel said it was a very interesting speech, but when I asked our clients how much of it had been translated, they changed the subject. So I think I may have said things that were not consonant with Japanese culture, and that, although people were very polite to us about it, they protected the client and left my feminist remarks untranslated.
Since then we've been in China. Though you've heard it from everyone, we couldn't believe the construction we saw in Shanghai. Pudong, the new city you see across the river from the Bund, looks like a fairyland but, when you get there, you're in the middle of an urban nightmare, I hope they will do something about Pudong at ground level. We don't have any mother-in-law jokes from China because we haven't built there yet.
How do we all in the construction industry work together? Not only are there the specifics of construction I've described, but the whole structure of our working together is complex. We architects are the lunatic fringe. While the economy for the rest of the construction industry is falling off, we're still finishing the working drawings; or we start before they do. Construction cycles form smooth waves, ours are jagged mountains and valleys. Our lives are deadline driven. If the client changes the schedule, our young architects and we may work all weekend, day and night, to meet the new deadline. Why is it that way for us? I think there are two reasons. We are involved in a complex interdependency of a very large number of people. Let me broaden the construction industry to include lending agencies and client groups. These people dictate schedules, to make the next trustees' meeting or to limit the cost of the construction loan; and dates are not negotiable because of the numbers of people involved — it's hard to get them together. So it's not that we architects are horrible task drivers: the exigencies of the industry cause our lives and probably yours too, to be like that.
Bob talked at length about our troika way of working, which is that we look, theorize, and design. We also, in the process, write and construct. There are rewards in all of these, and they stretch the span of what we do. Then there is the interdisciplinary span. I call myself a circus horse rider because I try to bring architecture and planning together in my work. I try to meld social and physical issues. My task is often one of a coordinator, not in construction but of all these disciplines. I'm also some kind of bridge between English, European and American thinking and, further back, African as well.
I'm very much interested in deriving architectural ideas from planning, and you'll see a lot of that in our work on display. It also comes back to doing. You are doers, we are doers. We're different from academics. Academics do studies — urban studies, social studies. We do. I don't only mean we construct; we design; we recommend decisions to decision makers about things physical, and we document our recommendations for doing in our drawings. So, we're innately professionals. I would be rather bored to be just thinking; I need something to come out of my thought. And the results of our thinking are part of what we teach. Other people use our ideas. We lectured recently at Delft University, a great and feisty school of architecture, with about 1,000 kids from all over the world. As we walked through the main doorway and onto the big street-like way that runs through the building, there was a large sign overhead. It said, "We are your future." The students saw themselves as our future, and they were right. Also, over the men's room was a portrait of Bob and over the women's room a portrait of me. So, as I started my lecture, I explained to them the meaning of the Yiddish word hutzpah and added that they had it in abundance and would need all they had in their careers as architects. "Don't lose it."
MOSS: Thank you, Denise, Bob. The program has three phases and we're now going from the first to the second, and I wonder if we couldn't have the lights on now because we're going to call the elders to the front of the room and ask them to take a position on the benches. I'm Roger Moss, by the way, director of The Athenaeum of Philadelphia, and I'm also historian of The Carpenters' Company. And in the latter role I should say that this building was designed and built by Owen Biddle, who was a member of the Company, a birthright member at that.
The way we're going to proceed at this point is we have four commentators. I'll introduce them as they make their initial comments, and then they're going to be encouraged to comment on each other's remarks and if Denise and Bob feel moved to have something to say at any point during the proceedings, they're certainly going to be free to jump in.
Our first commentator is Dr. Jeffrey Cohen who is a senior lecturer in the Growth & Structure of Cities Program at Bryn Mawr College. He also teaches in the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Pennsylvania. You may also know him as the co-author of three important books: The Architectural Drawings of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, The Drawing Toward Building exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and his book with others, Frank Furness: The Complete Works. So we'll first call on Dr. Cohen for comment.
COHEN: I'm flattered to be here, and it's an incredibly rich topic that one can talk about for hours, but I won't. I'll try to be very short and just put a few ideas into play, if I may. I have a few mnemonics in my head to remind me what those are. Actually, the first mnemonic is "DAB," not "BAD." It may sound overly familiar but we've agreed, as a panel, to refer to our honorees as Denise and Bob, not B.A.D. But the other, topical cues were C, H, and E.
The first one, C, is for craft. Craft and modernism are words that you don't often find in the same sentence, and it's really one of the challenges of our day, whether it's modernism with a big M or with a small M. Since so much of modernism, especially in its most iconic formulation, was about finding a language for an industrial age, that language almost seemed to be definitionally in tension with the seemingly old-fashioned idea of craft. Yet the overarching idea for this event, as Bob has just said, has to do with the interdependence of architects and builders and engineers, which has an awful lot to do with the craft of putting buildings together. Craft often implies something done by hand, done as a "one-of," not as a replicated thing, while an age of modernism implies building with steel and glass and reinforced concrete, with the new industrial materials that bear less imprint of the hand.
The question of craft is really a very embattled one, yet a critical one, for a kind of modern architecture that can evolve as a language, perhaps even developing shared details that work physically and speak aesthetically, persisting over time to some degree as recognizable syntactical elements rather than being matters of constant self-consciously original reinvention. A lot of firms now seem to be looking more at the persistence and joining of materials, and it's really a question that modernism grapples with constantly. This interdependence of building and designing that Bob mentions is a process of feedback and evolution, and two-way communication between conceiving and making is critical in such trajectory of interdependence.
Some of the experiences that Denise has been describing likewise concern cases where the actual creation of buildings has an awful lot to do with that intersection of craft and modernism — especially where modernism puts so much stress on invention. And if architects look almost exclusively at the continual big-picture redefinition of modernism rather than the experience of building processes and building performance over time, it will be difficult for a set of details and procedures of building to evolve in a continual and effective way.
The H is for history, and I don't mean history in the most superficial sense of grabbing details from the past and using them on contemporary buildings. It's much more a debt I think we feel to Denise and Bob that goes back forty years, to re-opening of history as a relevant topic for architects. Modernism established itself in a way that many things that are new establish themselves, by overemphasizing their distinctness from what came before, and modernism in some ways created a reductive sense of architecture in iconic Modernism, with a big M. That Modernism made the building more of a physical object, predicated and explained by arguments of physical requirements than it had been over generations and centuries before. It made architecture that claimed to be more about the nature of the materials it was built from, and about the spaces and the openings that serve a particular purpose, and a system of cultural values that validated the primacy of such physical forms.
It was Complexity and Contradiction, the book from 1966, that offered a remarkable reopening of a wider definition of architecture, one that had more possibility of identification with the particularities of place and identity and communication and the past, and I think those connections have been of enormous importance in Denise and Bob's work.
The third letter was E, for expression. There was a point in Bob's introduction where he talked about the old Vitruvian triad of firmness, commodity and delight. The third element, "Venustas" in Latin, has usually been interpreted as beauty, and I thought Bob's modern version of that, making the last term "expression," presented an interesting territory for exploration.
Beauty and expression don't always get taken in the same way. One can think of beauty as an attempt to get at one kind of thing, at an ideal of rather universal validity. There's a converging notion there, as if there were principles of composition, balance, symmetry of the parts and the whole that all converged in a singular aesthetic goal. Expression can be more of an expansive concept. It can go off into many, many, different directions. Finding expression can be much more open as an aesthetic goal, less singular, less universal and more particularized.
We're entering an intriguing area here, with the notion of expression as communication more than expression as a kind of convergent beauty, one that also introduces a shifting, temporal notion. The values embodied in architecture in stone posited a different scale of persistence than those embodied in more two-dimensional graphic forms, and ultimately, the much more evanescent and changeable time-scale of expression in digital technologies. There, architectural expression can be instantaneous and momentary, a far cry from the older notions implicit in monumental architecture — although it places those, too, in the light of projections of communicative messages in less malleable media. In that sense, expression may always have been with us, if at higher cost and a longer term. It has overlaid beauty as a larger category, with unbeautiful communication, but at architectural scales of size and permanence, there was more overlap than there is today, when technologies can make this a more momentary medium.
Expression and technology intersect in their own logic, another favorite topic of our speakers. It makes one wonder if the older role of architectural expression as a more lasting act of cultural, social, and political conviction will not choose technological anachronism and return to lithic media to embody a more enduring expressive potency.
VENTURI: I love what you were saying and we have this phrase: heroic and original. You can buy caps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art — one has on it "Ugly and Ordinary," and the other, "Heroic and Original." And we connect with "Ugly and Ordinary." When someone called our work that, we kind of liked it.
I think it should be acknowledged that we are in a period of Modernism with a capital M. It's sort of late Modernism or Neo-Modernism or Modernist-Revival. And then in order to be good, you have to be original. But in a lot of architectural periods, there has been acknowledged convention and evolution over originality and revolutionary. The everyday can be relevant — can have great power. So I think you were saying things that we love and do very much connect with.
SCOTT BROWN: You were picking up on the tension between expression and beauty which is very central to us. When we first saw Las Vegas, we asked ourselves: Do we hate it or do we love it? We didn't know, but we found it important. I go along with early Modernism's view of the neue sachlichkeit -– the new objectivity. I interpret it as an admonition to architects to look very hard and straight at the problem, and to find the solution that is right. Then if, at first, you feel it's ugly, you may eventually come to find it's beautiful, because it's right. That's the very tension you were talking about, I think.
VENTURI: It is kind of weird that as a child I came to a Friends meeting on First Day but I later also got to appreciate Las Vegas — the classic Las Vegas of the Strip period.
MOSS: Sitting to Dr. Cohen's right is Dr. George Thomas who for many years has been researching and writing about cutting edge Philadelphia architects from Frank Furness and William Price to Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi. He's currently finishing the Eastern Pennsylvania volume for the Buildings of the United States services sponsored by the Society of Architectural Historian, and he is presently helping to shape a big piece of Las Vegas through his consulting practice.
THOMAS: I have looked out over this wonderful Quaker meeting room many times and shared remarkable events in it. However, this is the first time that I have been in it with Denise and Bob who are two of the people who have taught me more than almost anyone in my world. Thus the experience of the today's meeting is made extraordinary because it collides together the qualities that make local places in a global age. In thinking about the role of Bob and Denise, I see them somehow finding the collision point between all the forces of our time. I think that their talent to be at the center is what makes them so remarkable.
My own practice with my partner Susan Snyder works at understanding how places evolve. We live in an age when every potential change in our cities causes some past-centered, pathetic nostalgist to whine. Everywhere there is fear that a Walmart will knock out some poor Mom and Pop store "that has been here forever" or some new building will replace some old structure that is part of someone's personal memory. What we've learned as we've been working across the country is that the local places that get in trouble are the ones that are most local because they've kept the contemporary world out.
As I think about Denise and Bob, it is clear that as they bring their ideas and work to play across the entire world. They engage the global while appreciating and learning from the local. After World War II when modern architects theorized that context was to be contrasted with and reviled, Bob's architectural school thesis began reconnecting the present with its roots to understand how contemporary design might work with context. Denise expanded the issue of context for it was she who figured out that the foundations of understanding weren't just about the architecture or the planning, it was really about the sociology, the economics, the cultural frames, the things that really were the driving forces of the larger world. And when those two got together, this quintessential connecting force that shapes our present came into focus. As I think about Denise and Bob's writings and as I scroll through my mind their first hymn in praise of complexity and then learned with them from Las Vegas and all the other writings that have engaged the present, it occurs to me that what's so profound about Bob and Denise, Denise and Bob, is that they've become one; they've become this sort of mega left-right merged brain that assimilates in a way that no single brain really can. This is of course part of the fun for those of us who get to work with them — but it is also a bit terrifying.
Another part that engages me as I think about them — we have been wandering around this region for nearly two generations looking at the architecture that makes this place, makes Philadelphia; as I think about what we have learned from Frank Furness and Will Price and the sort of cutting edge people that I've worked on, it becomes clear that the designers who really manage to engage their art with the new forces of their time are the titans who change their world.
Because they aren't afraid of it, they respect it and value it. What Denise and Bob have figured out is that architecture is alive only if it is engaged with the world that is happening not just hitching a ride on history.
Learning from Denise and Bob, I can see that what was so critical about Frank Furness was not just the wild forms that he made, but that he make them because he really understood that to be successful in his time, he had to respond to and engage with the rising forces of the industrial culture in which he lived. His great library at Penn is as much a factory as a library and as such is functionally logical in the way that it is used even as it is also a system of expression. Will Price, Furness's pupil, managed to take reinforced concrete and turn it into an architecture that evoked the celebration of the mass culture in a fun setting in the beginnings of the leisure age at the Atlantic City beach. And in railroad stations across America he captured the sense of the dynamics of the modern age.
What Bob and Denise have managed to do is to take the quintessentially Philadelphia idea that you have to engage the place, and they've managed now to engage the globe. In today's parochial and closed Philadelphia, I think this is maybe as remarkable an achievement as one can imagine. What was so interesting about the industrial-age Philadelphia masters such as Furness, the Wilson Brothers, or Will Price, was that critics from other cities either ignored them or reviled them. The Boston critics looked at Frank Furness and referred to the "Furnessic reign of architectural terror" and suggested that his architecture was like something that would be found on the frontier and not in a place of culture. Will Price disappeared from the books in the face of Euro-modernism. We now see these earlier architects through the lens of the success of Bob and Denise.
Bob and Denise have also been harshly criticized as for example when they explored Las Vegas and claimed that it was sometimes necessary to study and even in Denise's word to "love" the ugly and ordinary. One cause of the hostility is clear. To those for whom architecture is a closed system, they don't understand why it is necessary to look outside of its boundaries.
But we now look at them in a way that I think Frank Furness was never acknowledged. We look at them as people who have helped us see the world anew.
And the world sees them and recognizes them and appreciates them and sometimes hires them. The other thing of course that I have learned from them is that after about 1900, it has been pretty clear that if you were a great Philadelphia architect, one of the ways that you knew it was that you didn't get to really build in your city; Will Price was the first great example of that. Once he invented art deco in the early 1910s, he had to have a second office in Indianapolis and was working mainly in the Midwest or at the New Jersey Shore, but he did little here in Philadelphia because Philadelphia had gotten sort of stodgy and dead, and so Will had to work elsewhere. Lou Kahn managed a couple of buildings at Penn and Bryn Mawr but basically he did his best work on the far side of the world. And what's been wonderful about Bob and Denise is that they too have had the chance now to work in basically all corners of the globe while not working in the heart of their city. They haven't yet dropped over to the southern hemisphere; that's next. But in the sense, they're great Philadelphians coming up with the creative ideas that mold our time, but doing it in other places because contemporary Philadelphia, caught up in ancestor worship doesn't understand that its real force was in inventing the future.
William Penn would have been proud of Denise and Bob; Frank Furness and Will Price would have understood Bob and Denise. We are lucky to be able to learn from them.
VENTURI: What you have said is just so rich and so complimentary. Thank you. And two things particularly fascinate me that I learn from you, George. One is the connection of Frank Furness and Will Price to the industrial technology and culture which they acknowledged as relevant in their work. And thereby they were unique American architects because it was the Europeans who later came here and acknowledged and appreciated the American industrial vernacular –- like Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier and then Marcel Breuer: they came and kind of brought it to Europe and then back to America — but that interest and recognition did exist in this earlier period via a late Victorian architect, Furness, and an Edwardian architect, Price — and I just so much admire your rediscovering them and acknowledging their extreme significance, and then the significance of Philadelphia as an industrial center.
SCOTT BROWN: I'm very grateful to you for having shown us the importance of Philadelphia, industrially and architecturally, during its industrial heyday, and for pointing out that what was looked upon by the world as American know-how should be acknowledged, really, as Philadelphia know-how. And, thinking of this city in those terms — not of Society Hill or the Colonial city, but of the vast and rich industrial system that spread across the Nineteenth Century city — I wonder what we should do about the breakdown of this system today. We could never have afforded to build it today. For example, when we were driving in from our office this afternoon, the Parkway was closed but we could still get here. There were other ways to go. That redundancy in the system exists because Philadelphia was so rich at that time. But try looking for that in the New Urbanism, for example.
MOSS: One of the things that has always struck me whenever I've heard Denise and Bob speak is how critically important education is — especially education at the earlier levels — in architecture and design. You've heard it this afternoon as well. And therefore, we're pleased to have Paul Schultz here with us who is a twelfth grade design teacher at the Charter High School for Architecture and Design (CHAD) in Philadelphia. Prior to teaching, he gained nine years of "hands on" experience working with various architectural firms, the latest being Eshrick, Holmsley, Dodge & Davis where he was in the Chicago office. So here is a different perspective entirely, but one very close to the hearts of our honorees today.
SCHULTZ: Thank you. First I'd like to thank The Carpenters' Company for inviting my students and me to this occasion. And I'd also like to thank Denise and Bob for their contributions to design education over the years. I left architecture about six months ago to become a teacher at CHAD. Denise and Bob's architecture and urban design projects, lectures, and written works have helped me teach my 12th graders the design process and a thought process that they will hopefully employ as they move on to the world.
I am not a seasoned teacher yet, but I have learned that to teach the design process is to teach communication, creativity and confidence. I try to get the students to decide the best ways to communicate ideas. I try to get them to think without the box, and I try to build their confidence throughout the process. Many of these skills I developed myself through studying the works of Denise and Bob.
At CHAD we focus on taking projects through the whole design process to make ideas real. At the twelfth grade level the students really get to explore the design projects that they want, whether it's architecture, fashion design, graphics, making comic books. We have all types of designers that want to do all types of designs. I remind them that I'm there to show them design process and that it is a process regardless of the outcome. So I'd like to just touch upon a couple of things that I've learned from Denise and Bob and things that I would like to pass on to my students if possible.
In studying their projects their process and their publications, I've learned to think without the box when analyzing the world. I've learned the importance of studying overall systems and making linkages through their complex components and their contradictions. I've learned that it's important to bring out contextual and cultural connections in any given environment. I've learned analytical tools to evaluate information and graphic tools to communicate information. I've learned it's good to get people to realize what they take for granted. And finally, I've learned that the present day realities require that we develop new ways of looking at the world. It is important for students studying design to learn that good designers empathize and communicate. Architects, designers, construction professionals, engineers, consultants, and clients do this effectively when making their ideas real.
I think that most of all I try to remind them to celebrate the uncelebrated. This is my classroom mantra. I grew up in Naperville, Illinois, which is the biggest suburb of Chicago. It is the perfect example of poor urban design. My parents built a house for their 11 kids and moved us there from Chicago. Where we moved it was farmlands, and over the course of growing up, it became suburban. I missed the city and I had a negative attitude about living in the suburbs. When I went to architecture school at the University of Illinois, I left the suburbs behind and decided I would never live there again. But when I studied Denise and Bob's projects and publications, I learned to celebrate the uncelebrated. So when I came back after college and started working at architecture firms, I started to see the interesting things about suburbia that I had missed and I looked at it with fresh eyes. That's what I hope to teach my students before they move on. How to look at life with fresh eyes and without judgments.
Thank you for inviting me.
SCOTT BROWN: I think that, in studio — which is our method of teaching — architecture has a very precious tool to offer the world. I taught at Berkley during the foul speech movement. At that time, people in the College there were saying, "Our students are action-oriented kids, yet we're training them to be little professors, and they're revolting partly because their education seems irrelevant to them. If we taught them as they teach in the professional schools, maybe they'd see the value of learning for them, because not everyone is going to be a professor." Now CHAD is using that studio technique for teaching high school. In my elementary school they used the Dalton system, which is nothing more than studio. They didn't teach math that way, but history and English and various other subjects. They taught via projects, and the project covered several subjects. For example, we did Treasure Island as a project. From it we learned geography. In English we converted it to a play. We made the costumes, the sets and then we acted it. That was a semester-long project that could cover many things. There's a lot to be said for this kind of education. I hope CHAD finds a way to use it — but to maintain standards as well. There are many ways to do it. Paul, I suspect that because you had ten siblings, you can teach anything.
SCHULTZ: I don't know.
VENTURI: I might mention one thing. I find when I'm occasionally advising students — I'm not a teacher anymore but I occasionally advise — I say to them, you should be sensitive to and acknowledge what turns you on: that often can be significant. In other words, don't necessarily like what you're supposed to like, and I think what you have been saying connects to that idea and I think it is relevant and interesting, and can lead to true originality and vitality.
MOSS: And I should point out that The Carpenters' Company has a long history of involvement in teaching. The modern members of the Company are the successors to their predecessors who started the first instruction in architecture in the city of Philadelphia at Carpenters' Hall, at a time when there were no schools of architecture, certainly nothing like CHAD or the great programs at our universities.
The hardest panel position to have is the last one because all those things you thought you were going to say that would startle everyone have been slipped in by your colleagues. Nonetheless, I think Harris Steinberg is unlikely to be daunted by that. He is the executive director of the Penn Praxis and a member of the faculty of the Department of Architecture and the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. He sits on the Philadelphia Historical Commission and he's also a member of the Design Advocacy Group.
STEINBERG: Thank you. Roger is correct. Not only did the panel kind of usurp what I was going to say, but he did as well in terms of the line of coming last. So I will — I'm just going to read you what I got because it's the best way for me to kind of collect my thoughts, and my relationship with Bob and Denise over the years has grown in so many different and interesting ways that I really sort of want to focus them, so you'll bear with me. First, it's a pleasure and honor to be here today. Not only do I have the distinct pleasure of having worked with Denise and Bob as a young architect in their office, but I also spent a significant summer in graduate school with Nick Gianopulos who is here today. So kind of being here in this space with two of my — or three of my favorite employers — is very moving for me. It really underscores that the roots and connections in the Philadelphia architectural world, they run deep and they really, I think, create what makes Philadelphia a very special town for architecture. I came to architecture through history. Growing up outside of Chestnut Hill, my earliest sense of place was shaped by the relationship between the built and natural environments. I came to appreciate the careful balance between well crafted and thoughtfully designed buildings in the landscape. As I grew older and would ride my bike through the streets of Chestnut Hill and Wyndmoor, I loved the houses and gardens that I would eventually come to know as Furness, Powell, Eyre, Goodwin, Gilchrist, Durring, and others, ultimately Kahn and the Venturis as well. As a history major in college, Tony Garvin, chair of the now defunct American Civilization Department at Penn, opened my eyes to the link between history and the cultural artifacts that we create and leave behind as signposts to subsequent generations of our values and lives. Through Tony, I found my way to architecture and it was here that I discovered the Venturis. Their rise on the world stage coincided with my years as an architectural student, and I can remember devouring "Learning from Las Vegas" while working as a print boy — people probably don't know what that is today — and making up credits for the Master's program in architecture at Penn. I was taken with their penetrating intelligence, their profound understanding that architecture is a part of a sweeping continuum of time and place, their humor, their love for the ordinary, and their unflinching and honest intellectual curiosity. Above all, what drew me to their work was the humanity that was reflected in it. Through studying their work, I learned how to become a contemporary architect. As architects who dare to stand up to the stultifying architectural supremacy of American mid-century modernism and proclaim that the emperor had no clothes, their clarion cry was intoxicating. These were architects who cared deeply about history, social science, art, economics and politics, crafting a social architecture that was at once unlike anything else being done, and at the same time quite ordinary. As a young architect in their office in the mid 1980's, I witnessed the level of care they brought to their craft and to the profound respect that they had for each other's contributions. At the office, Denise and Bob collaborated on all projects, each bringing their own unique perspective and skills to create an architecture that was more than the sum total of its parts. As George said earlier, the right and left brain kind of acting in unison. Denise's intellect and analytical skills developed cogent theories of urbanism. To Denise, planning that could accommodate future generations allowed for the development of a more generic architecture that would age gracefully and fit naturally within the spectrum of time. Her study of systems, patterns and human activities led her to develop a robust school of urbanism, one that reflected, accommodated and commented upon the hard challenges, realities and complexities of modern life. Her urbanism is teeming with life and linkages between buildings, users, activities in the city, literally extending its external pathways through public buildings as internal streets. It is an urbanism that is both finely nuanced and regional in its acknowledgment of the arc of influence of intersecting systems. Bob brought the idea of evolutionary rather than revolutionary to the partnership. His deep knowledge of architectural history led him to the then revolutionary concept that architecture, both great and small, is part of a messy and evolutionary cultural context rather than singular expressions of artistic genius. Chafing against the heroic architecture of the mid 20th century, he urged us to embrace the vernacular, the ordinary and the every day, to create an architecture that communicates through sign, symbol and iconography. His architecture walks the fine line between high and low art, eschewing formalism while accommodating function. It is an architecture that is intelligent, irreverent and approachable. It is an architecture that communicates at multiple scales, city, car, street, sidewalk, person, a synthesis of the triumph of function over form and sign over space. Like Fred and Ginger, Hepburn and Tracy, and Rodgers & Hart, there's an artistic partnership that thrives on the intellectual and artistic dynamics of the team. Their work is sensitive, intelligent and thoughtful, and above all it is intensely human, born of an understanding of and a love for people. Together, Denise and Bob and Bob and Denise have given us a way of understanding the complex role that architecture and urbanism plays in our world. They warn us about taking ourselves and our work too seriously. Through emphasizing the ordinary, they arrive at greatness.
VENTURI: That was most — my God, most something or other! Thank you, dear friend and fellow architect.
I do like its being acknowledged that Denise was the one who corrupted me by recognizing and acknowledging the significance of everyday culture — and of Pop culture! And thereby enriched my life and my thinking and our architecture.
SCOTT BROWN: One way I became involved in all of that was by growing up in Africa. We lived in a certain landscape and culture, but we were a colony — a dominion — of another very distant country, with a different landscape. We were inundated with that other culture, with the norms of England. England's was the right culture and ours was wrong. As a child, I listened uncomfortably when English people, living in Johannesburg, would view our landscape and say "That could be a little piece of Surrey." The African high veld landscape is harsh and parched and incredibly beautiful, but to be beautiful for them, it had to look like Surrey. The best example I heard of such cultural hegemony was of a group of African students in French West Africa reciting lessons about "our ancestors, the Gauls." As a small child, I resented that and I think it's part of the reason I've evolved ideas about the everyday environment. Mine is an African view of Las Vegas.
MOSS: We are actually on schedule and as a consequence, there is some time for questions.(No questions were presented.) I want to thank the panel for joining us this afternoon. (APPLAUSE)
SHOEMAKER: Thank you, Roger, very much. I'd like just to take a few moments in bringing this to a conclusion, this amazing afternoon. I'd like to begin the closing by reinforcing what Denise mentioned during her presentation and Paul also referenced in the fact that for a number of years The Carpenters' Company has been building a scholarship fund and the funds from today will go to that fund which is distributed annually to students in various trades and various academic programs which support the design and building of buildings in Philadelphia, and in that regard, I'd like to thank the General Building Contractors Association for supporting the Philadelphia High School and CHAD students that are here. And you'll find in your program a whole list of companies, of firms, both construction firms and architectural and engineering firms, and a couple law firms, marvelously enough, who also have supported, sponsored this afternoon's event. Next I'd like to — actually, before I go on and thank our panelists, take care of one other piece of business. I'd like to ask all of the panelists, all the people here to remain afterwards briefly for photographs. The guys with the bowties get to be in the front. Second, we have out front for purchase if you are interested, the book that showed up in one of the photographs moments ago, and we'll put commercialism aside at that moment. And now I'd like to move on to thanking and presenting a small token of our thanks to our panelists and to two others, if I may. Firstly, what we are presenting to each of these as thanks for their time and their effort is — these are the commemorative stamps of American architecture. These are all framed. They are signed by Robert Venturi and they are all most importantly postmarked Las Vegas. I'd like to begin then in order, if I may. Julia, thank you very much. Secondly, Roger Moss. The next one, Jeff Cohen. Next, I'd like to present it to George Thomas, to Paul Schultz, and lastly to Harris Steinberg. The other thanks this evening goes to the committee that worked extremely hard to put this together and start what for us will be a biannual event, which is the Master Builder Dialogues. I won't go through all the members of the committee. I do want them to know that the whole Carpenters' Company thanks them enormously for their efforts, however, I do want to cite the work of two people who have been essential to it. One who has already been mentioned is Nick Gianopulos without whom this event would not have occurred and our photographer back there, Charlie Cook, whose energy in doing this type of thing is greatly appreciated by all the members of the Company and thanks to all of you very much.
SHOEMAKER: The Carpenters' Company of the City and County of Philadelphia has an award that it gives to individuals who have brought leadership to this area either directly or through their organization and their contributions are recognized broadly as being significant to the construction industry in its various capacities. In the past, we have included Millard Fuller, who is the founder of Habitat for Humanity; Edmond Bacon, who had a significant influence on the city; to one of our own members, Charlie Peterson, whose efforts led to the preservation of Society Hill and other significant preservation movements and activities in Philadelphia and whose influence is felt throughout the county. We've also honored Willard Rouse who has done a great deal in the area of development to shape the cities and many of the good qualities in them and to builder, Walter Palmer, who has been a significant leader in the construction industry. It is my honor and my pleasure to present to Denise Scott Brown and to Robert Venturi The Carpenters' Company Master Builder Award for this year.
VENTURI: Thank you very, very much.
SCOTT BROWN: Thank you very much. It's so beautiful.
SHOEMAKER: And at this point, I will bring this to a conclusion. Good evening.