Oral history interview with Denise Scott Brown, 1990 Oct. 25-1991 Nov. 9

Scott Brown, Denise , b. 1931
Educator, Author, Architect
Active in Philadelphia, Pa.

Size: Sound recordings: 10 sound cassettes
Transcript: 188 p.

Collection Summary: An interview of Denise Scott Brown conducted 1990 Oct. 25-1991 Nov. 9, by Peter Reed, for the Archives of American Art. Scott Brown discusses her family background and growing up in South Africa; her education at the University of Witwatersrand, the Architectural Association, London, a summer school in Venice, sponsored by Congres Internationale d'Architecture Moderne, and the University of Pennsylvania, recalling some of her teachers (including Arthur Korn and Louis Kahn); her first husband, Robert Scott Brown, and their travels throughout Europe and experiences in Pennsylvania; her teaching philosophy and experiences at the University of Pennsylvania, Yale, Harvard, UCLA, and Berkeley; the architecture program at Penn from her perspective as a student and as a member of the faculty; meeting Robert Venturi, their work together, the firm and the difficulties encountered in the 1970s and 1980s, some of their projects such as the National Gallery, London, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and planning work; publications such as "Complexity and Contradiction," "Urban concepts," "Worm's Eye View," and "Learning from Las Vegas;" postmodern architecture; critics; and her experiences as a woman in the field.

Biographical/Historical Note: Denise Scott Brown (1931- ) is an architect of Philadelphia, Pa.

This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.

Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.

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Interview Transcript

This transcript is in the public domain and may be used without permission. Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Denise Scott Brown, 1990 Oct. 25-1991 Nov. 9, 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: PETER REED
DSB: DENISE SCOTT BROWN

PR: Why don't we begin at the beginning. I understand you were born in Zambia which in 1931 was what, Northern Rhodesia?

DSB: That's right.

PR: Tell me about your family -- your background. How was it that you were born in Zambia?

DSB: Because basically, my parents were living there.

PR: What were they doing?

DSB: My father's family were from Johannesburg, South Africa. And he, as a young man, dropped out of college and went up North, as they said, to seek adventure and a living. Things were never quite that way. In actual fact, my family on both sides are from Eastern Europe. On my father's side from Lithuania, and on my mother's side from Latvia. And they left Eastern Europe to escape pogroms and my grandfather arrived, I think it was, in 1899 at Capetown, having done the standard immigrant thing that's so well-known in America. He worked to earn the fine his family would have to pay the Army. And then he left. I could say he'd been a businessman since the age of twelve. We grow up much later these days. He'd been a cattle merchant. And by the time he left -- at I think about fourteen -- he was established and he had the money to pay the fine. And he arrived -- they went steerage and he arrived with ten shillings in his pocket, which was not very much then. He worked on the docks until he had enough money to go inland. This was also the time the Boer War was starting. And he reached Johannesburg and started in business there. Now, that had to have been about 1900. My grandmother was a young woman living in Johannesburg -- also, I think, she was from Latvia. And her family -- her father -- ran a boarding house for the other young Jewish immigrants from Latvia or Lithuania. And so she was the boarding house keeper's daughter. They married in 1904. By that time, my grandfather was well off enough to have a rather smart wedding. We have this beautiful wedding photograph. This beautiful young woman -- I think she was seventeen. And by the time my father was born in 1905, their fortunes had already changed, and he was born in a poor district of Johannesburg called Vrededorp. So my grandfather was up and down in this way as a merchant. There was a time when he owned -- with eighteen partners -- a wholesale butcher shop. So my father was one of seven children growing up in Johannesburg. They were a middle class family, and the great aim my grandmother had was to send her children to college. Well, my father went to satisfy his mother for a year. He had done pretty well in high school, but his heart wasn't in it. I think that there is a strain of slight dyslexia that runs through our family. And he is a very brilliant man -- my father -- but when it comes to -- he reads a great deal. He has a very profound knowledge of history -- but he reads slowly. I think there was a good reason to drop out of college and learn at life's university, which is what he started to do up in Northern Rhodesia. Like I say, it's not as simple as going and seeking adventure. The way Jews went to different countries was the first generation may have gone alone, and I have a theory that the first generation were slightly deviant. That's why they had the guts to get up and go. I once had a professor who said, "Psychotic. You know, like all our grandfathers." And he was speaking about the immigrants. It was Chester Rapkin at Penn. Well, I don't think that -- you can't say the whole first generation was psychotic. But they probably didn't do too well in their own countries. My feeling is that the whole of America is a deviant culture because everyone from the Pilgrim fathers onward, didn't sit well with their own culture. And that's why America is so vastly different from Europe to my way of thinking. But, in any case, my grandfather and a brother went to Africa. And then my father again went to where he had a cousin in, what was then, Northern Rhodesia. And they owned little stores. There were Jewish merchants in each little town. And the customers were the white settlers and the Africans on the mines. So, in a way, throughout Africa, in economic development terms, you can say that the Jews were there to kind of build infrastructure. It's of course the role they had in Russia, too. There were the upper classes, landed nobility and the serfs. And very often the Jews were the merchants. They did the same thing when they got to Africa. So my father went up to this wilderness, which was still lion country, and started working for different storekeepers in different little towns, learning a little more with each case. His stories are amazing. And I did an oral history for him. We sat him down in his early eighties, with all his grandchildren around him, and we all asked questions. And I have that taped.

PR: Wonderful. What was his name?

DSB: Shim Lakofski. I have even the transcription, but I have to correct the tape. And he's still alive. He's eighty-five.

PR: Where does he live today?

DSB: He lives in England. And my mother's family came from Kurland, which is a part of Latvia. And my grandmother was -- she had foster parents, because their family -- the grandfather had gone to Africa and died in Africa. These early Jewish immigrants died of yellow fever, black water fever -- all sorts of things. Unnatural early deaths, leaving destitute the children and mothers they were hoping to bring with them when the had found a footing. So for that reason, my grandmother was brought up by a rich family of relatives in Latvia, and the photograph that we have of her as a young girl, at the turn of the century, she was exquisite. And she's incredibly beautifully dressed. My mother said she was brought up like a princess. So she was sent out to marry my grandfather, which was again, a custom. Sight unseen you got your bride, and love came later. And work was hard, and you worked together, and love was not the romantic thing that was seen here. But it seems that when my grandfather met her, he fell very much in love with her. She was a very beautiful, wonderful woman. And she had all these aspirations from this grand life she had led. And if you've ever seen The Flame Trees of Thika, which is a "Masterpiece Theater" of the life of Elspeth Huxley, I sat and laughed through that whole thing, because it's exactly the story of my parents. And those were upper class English families going to Kenya, and they were supposed to be the "right stuff" to send out to the colonies. Well, my family were also the right stuff. In other words, they had the guts. My grandfather was a handsome young man, who had also been a cattle dealer. And he went to Africa and was a cattle dealer and a miner. And he was a great horseman. He was very handsome. And he was also a ne'er-do-well. Everything he tried didn't work out, so he shifted from work to work. But in the early years, my mother and her family grew up -- and she has written the story of her early life, because I pushed her to do it. Not on tape, because she writes very well, so she sat and typed hers. She grew up with four brothers. And they lived out on a six thousand acre farm, outside of the city of Bulawayo -- the town of Bulawayo. And Africans still remember that place as my grandfather's place. They had this life in the wilderness. I have these early photographs of this beautiful farm. And my mother always dressed like a little boy, and she was just a tomboy all her life. They used to shoot for the pot. The whole life was a wilderness life. Then my grandfather, for a while, took them to South Africa, and he tried to be an auctioneer -- a cattle auctioneer -- in South Africa. These are very archaic old stories, but there were business dealings that didn't work out, and there were family feuds about things like that, and the whole family returned to Rhodesia, to the farm. The farm was called Cowdray Park, but my grandfather's name was Willy Hepker. There's a large family of Hepkers from Southern Rhodesia. We're all related. Most South African Jews are, through one or two jumps by marriage, related to each other, because it was such a very small community. Very historic one. And now decimated. We're all over the world -- this generation -- my generation and the next. In fact, I have a cousin who just came to visit. She lives in New York.

PR: They've come calling. [laughs]

DSB: Yes. My mother, while she was in South Africa, was sent to boarding school, because my grandmother felt she wasn't growing up right with all these brothers. She was very mischievous. She was sent to Natal, to a convent boarding school. Convents took Jews in South Africa. I don't think they do in America. The nuns were very sympathetic with this wild young woman. And she seems to have spent a large amount of her time doing her homework up in an old avocado pear tree. She has nice stories to tell of that. She was extremely brilliant and very young, and she finished high school at the age of fourteen, then went back to Rhodesia, and by then her father was operating mines. Now these are very small little mines with a five stamp mill, and a group of Africans working with you out in the wilderness. And they lived in mud huts like the Africans did. And, again, she has very sentimental memories of this time. But it was just a complete wilderness life. And the books she loves are the books like Girl of the Limberlost -- things like that. We play records of wild animal and bird songs of Africa, and she's so nostalgic for all of that. When she started to work, she worked for an engineer. And she used to have to carry a gun to go to work because of lions. Even when I was born -- in Zambia you had that problem, travelling in these country roads, that it was still lion country. Maybe I'm going into a bit too much detail, but it's very picturesque, all of this, and it's left me with the same kind of love of wilderness and feeling for Africa that I got from my mother. And a lot from my father, too. I'll take that story a little further in my own childhood. What it comes out to is I think I have an African's view of Las Vegas, and I'll try to explain that as we go along.

PR: Okay.

DSB: When my father was visiting a friend of his whose name was Buster Serfer -- an American. (Mr. Serfer, now in his mid-eighties, is living at the Philadelphian, opposite the Art Museum -- it's very funny -- and my mother who is staying with me now, has recently gone to visit him. They are the two oldest friends in the world, I think.) Anyway, Buster Serfer said, "If you're going up to a place called Bwana Mkuba" -- and that means "big boss," probably in Sindebele, African language of the Matabile -- or in the African Esperanto, which is called Fanecolo -- "If you're going to Bwana Mkuba, there's the hotel there, and a friend of mine lives there. Say hello to her." Well, it was my mother, and her father and mother were then running a hotel in this little town. And next time he saw Buster Serfer, my dad said, "I looked up your old friend and I married her." And so, I was born in Zambia, and again it was a very primitive country. My father, by that time, owned what was called the Nkana Trading Store. Nkana was the mine where I was born. Later the town was called Kitwe, and that's still a big town. And the Nkana Trading Store was a big store there, that my father started. He has very amusing stories about how all that started, but not too pertinent for you. But when I was about a year and something, I got very ill, and they thought it was malaria, and they decided this was no place to bring up children. So they moved back to South Africa. In fact, my mother told me recently that my dad was all set to go to Canada. That he got back to Johannesburg, and one thing led to another, and we stayed. So I grew up in Johannesburg, and I spent from the age of two until the age of twenty, growing up in Johannesburg.

PR: Do you have brothers and sisters?

DSB: Yes. I have two sisters and one brother. And they, in turn, have among them -- let me see -- six children. And then we have a child. So there's seven grandchildren.

PR: In Johannesburg, would you say your family was comfortably well off? Were times difficult?

DSB: My dad is the quintessential entrepreneur. And he started out working with his cousin in partnership in a stock broking firm, and did very well. But that wasn't enough for him. And he became, as well, a movie distributor. And he had a couple of movie houses, and that was when a lot of Americans came into my childhood, because the people we saw would be the representative in South Africa of the United Artists or Metro Goldwyn Mayer. So it seemed our family had a very cosmopolitan group of friends. This was during the war, and my family was very bitter, and my mother and father both said, "Look at Hitler. Never trust Christians." And I was brought up to believe that, and yet to our house came a wild medley of different refugee types -- different foreign representative types. But my mother and father both are extremely broad and very interested. So the example they gave us was being very interested in different types of people. Sometimes when I teach foreign students, and I think I know a bit about every single one of them from their own country, I think I got that from my parents. My mother was with us when we met -- we had for dinner -- Mr. Akio Izutsu, who is head of Knoll International, Japan, just a couple of weeks ago. And at the end of the dinner, he said to her, "Are you a retired university professor?" She had managed to bring forth from her experience so many things of interest to him, that he just couldn't think she couldn't be some kind of exalted intellect. And I think that that's been very important in my background. Notwithstanding moving for greater safety for the children, my youngest sister, who is two years younger than me, got polio in South Africa. And as a result of that, we went to Europe when I was four years old. A great many of my early memories are to do with that first trip. I think you remember trauma before you remember joy. I have very early memories from about two years old. I have little bits of memory from before we left Northern Rhodesia. And sometimes I try to test myself by looking at early photographs, which, of course, are black and white, seeing if I can remember the colors of the clothes I was wearing. Because other things people can tell you. But I seem to have memories of being not quite two. But otherwise, that trip to Europe to see doctors in England for my sister, was kind of the first moving out of the family circle. And I remember at the age of four, my father -- we went on an Italian boat. And so, apart from uncles and aunts who were very important in my childhood (and I've tried to do the same for Jimi [Venturi] -- get these kind of mythic figures, who are much more open to you -- because parents have to protect themselves from kids -- so aunts and uncles lives are more of an open book to learn from). But apart from that, the first figures outside of the family that I can remember were stewards and stewardesses on the boat. And Italians are wonderful with little children. I tried to simulate that for Jimi, too, later. It's funny how you want for your children, what you had yourself.

PR: Does your son travel with you?

DSB: Yes. And the first place we took him was Italy. And we let him wander around when he was six and seven and in love with elevators. We let him wander around this Italian hotel, and everyone was marvelous to him, as the stewards on the boat were with us. I remember they used to take the napkin and make a swing, and swing the children sitting on the napkin. And my father said to me, "Italian is a lovely language. You ought to learn it." Well, I did learn Italian in my early twenties, and I'm sure it's partly because of that. I felt very happy about learning French because growing up on the farm in Africa, my mother had had a French governess. So she spoke a lot of French to us. There weren't schools in those days, and these intrepid young women from Europe used to come to be governesses to the children on the farms. So my mother had kind of childhood French to share with us as little children. And so it was rather easy for me to say I could -- anything that she was easy with, I could -- feel possessive about. So I'm lucky she had this very wide range of interests. When we got back from Europe, I went to nursery school. And then, after that, rather early, I went to grade school. I was a year too early, but -- when I was ready to go into kindergarten, there was no room for me in kindergarten. And meanwhile, being in a little Victorian school in a church -- Mrs. Fraser's -- and they taught in a Victorian way. You had to learn to say your multiplication tables. "One times one is one. Two times two is two," and so on. Sort of singing it. And you had to be able to work your way through the two times, the three times, the four times, by adding little dots round numbers. So you worked it out for yourself. And then you recited it. And if you made a mistake -- you were in a group of six -- you went to the bottom of the line, and they went on reciting. So by the time I got to the school that I was to be at for the rest of my school life, I was six. But I was in the first grade already. Well, it seemed to be about third grade in American terms. And I could read already and do a lot of arithmetic. I was even in advance of those kids, but I was a year younger than most of them, and two years younger than many. So I think I, too, had a little dyslexia, which meant that I read well, but slowly. I could do arithmetic, but was careless quite often. I lisped. And I was terrible at games, in this English girls private school where to be clever was to be unpopular; to be good at games was everything. In fact, if you were both, your friends excused you about being clever. You couldn't help that.

PR: It sounds like America. [laughs]

DSB: Yes. It sounds like an American boys school, as far as I can make out. So I was roundly bullied all my childhood, so I was looked upon as that clever one. Everyone else there was WASP. So there was anti-semitism in the place, as well. And yet it was a wonderful school. It operated a system, which they called the Dalton System, and in the high school, it was what the Americans call the Dalton System. But in the lower school, it was that you stressed hand work, along with mind work. And you taught through projects. One year our project was the book Treasure Island, and we converted it into a play. We acted the play, we made all the stage sets, we made all our costumes. And we tried to relate other classwork to it, as well. Not only English and handwork, but other things, as well. Another one was to make a model of a Medieval monastery. That was another year. For one term you would have that. Other terms we made Egyptian houses, Zulu kraals, and we learned kind of the way they teach kids cultural anthropology before they teach them history -- in readiness for history. So we learned all of those things while making things with our hands. And I realized part way into my teaching career that the studios I've taught as an architect are very much a copy of what I was taught in grade school -- how I was taught in grade school. A sort of learning by doing technique, where you're designing and learning intellectual subject matter through the vehicle of what you're designing: something that's very interesting to you as an architect. So you asked about how childhood experiences influenced things -- in these ways. I, at the age of about ten, was sent to art classes by my mother. And these were run by a Dutch woman called Rosa Van Gelderen, and you went after school and you painted "whatever you wanted." She gave you big pieces of paper and thick poster paints. But of course the guidance was rather strongly there. You shall voluntarily want to paint African street scenes. Basically what she said to us was, "It's plain ridiculous for little kids in Johannesburg to be painting Christmas cards of snow scenes, when it's in the middle of summer in Johannesberg. So what do you kids know about snow? If you want to be creative, you'll paint from what's around you." And our themes were kind of sort of semi-socialist. She probably was left-wing. I'm just presuming now, from how I remember. So I remember painting workers sowing grain -- sort of biblical, or was it socialist? Or what was it? And lots of African street scenes. And again, I now think she was only half right. That is, there's a lovely passage in an introduction to [Olive Schreiner's] The Story of an African Farm by an author whose name I never remember, but I've quoted him. He said, "How strange it was growing up in South Africa. The books you read described the landscape of England." And when he was a boy, to read The Story of an African Farm, which was actually describing the landscape around him -- no lawns, no snow, but the karoo and the bushveld -- he couldn't believe he was seeing it in a book. This was the colonial experience. It's also an American one. And you can have colonial domination of the culture long after you've had political independence. So she said to us, "Paint what's around you. Learn from what's around you, and you'll be creative artists." And I very strongly believe that, and I came to England and to America believing that. And in the 1980s, I wrote an article called "Invention and Tradition in the Making of American Place," and in that, I began to realize that she was only half right. And I began to think every immigrant group has artistically recreated a landscape. And that Olive Schreiner in An African Farm, by writing about that landscape in language understandable in London, and to the avant-garde, made the landscape visible for the first time, and made it useable artistically. If you don't find a way to use the metropolitan culture's terms to analyze the everyday -- what's around you -- it can't be absorbed into the tradition of that culture. I think she did that for the African landscape, and many people have done that for America. They've put descriptions in ways that scholarly and artistic people can see them and understand them as part of a culture. We did it for Las Vegas. Just that. So as I realized that, I realized that you take what is indigenous, you take the whole of your heritage that you've learned in history of art and history of architecture, you apply the tools that you've learned to the analysis of this new and exciting emanation -- phenomenon. And that's why I think she was not right in that when she told us those things, the language she told us in was English. And I was an immigrant. My family had been in Africa less than one hundred years. Our cultural heritage we had to bring to apply to our landscape and to our work there. And you'll find that the clash in Africa -- people who've dealt with: "Here I am and here is the African culture, and they're both important to me, and there's a clash between them -- a terrible political clash, but an artistically creative clash" -- the people who do that have produced the best art. And that's why I told you about her. Because I think it's kind of an interesting way of describing what I think we've done for Las Vegas, and how we've helped to bring the popular environment within the sphere of what can be handled architecturally.

PR: So this is the African view of Las Vegas.

DSB: Exactly.

PR: Just to back up a little bit, you went to art school. Were you particularly talented? I mean, when you were making these projects in your regular college or regular school -- the houses and the --

DSB: I was always looked upon as someone who could draw well. When Rosa Van Gelderen held an exhibition of her children's art, mine was one of the ones listed as having special promise. But I was also very interested in language. I was doing very well in French, I loved writing, I did extremely well in my final -- we had these very, very big, heavy exams at the end of high school in South Africa, where I had a distinction in English. And I did not take art in high school. It seemed to me that the art teacher wasn't good enough. And anyway, I was in the verbal tradition of that school by then. In the same way, Bob did not take art in his high school. But part way through my -- you see, I didn't know what I wanted to be. First of all I wanted to be an architect. Then I went to grade school and I wanted to be a teacher -- that's a very common phenomenon, particularly with little girls. They replace the mother with the grade school teacher, and then they have the same aims. If I loved my teacher, I wanted to be a teacher. And then later on I said I wanted to write and I wanted to study languages. About twenty years ago, I looked at my career and I realized I had done all those things, and a few more, because I had also become an urban planner. I had become very interested in the social sciences, as well. But they said to me at high school, that my talents were very broad, and I'd have to learn to focus. And the truth is, I've always had an oscillation between breadth and focus. And it's been a good one for me professionally, although it means it's very difficult to define me, professionally, and I suffer from that. It's very easy to define Bob. I say he is a very focused professional, who is also broad. And I'm a very broad professional who is also focused. We're both "both/and," but you could put it that way round. But we both use architecture as our window on to the world. We survey slightly different worlds through that window. But that does form a framework: although I'm also a planner and although, as a planner, I would criticize many architects for thinking they're planners when they're doing large scale architecture. So I'm extremely aware of the necessity to discount what you might say as an architect in certain situations in planning. I still feel partly I can understand this issue through my architectural training, and architecture is my window on the world. Now, where are we?

PR: I was going to ask you about -- you said you were in the school -- it was a very WASPy school, you were one of the few Jewish families in the area who were attending that school.

DSB: Well, there were a lot of Jews in Johannesburg, and there were about ten percent in the school. I think they had a quota. They were a very liberal school. They were very brave. They went against the law and admitted Chinese students. It sounds fantastic to have to say that. No way that they could admit blacks or Indians, but it was even illegal to admit Chinese, but they did it anyway. The head mistress there was one of those great head mistresses who have initials, not first names. In fact, there was an amazing experience I had. I'd been at Penn two years, and a friend said, "Come to a party. The former roommate of my wife is having a party. She is an Indian student, and her present roommate is there." Her present roommate was Chinese. We got talking, and she said, "Where are you from?" And I said, "South Africa. Johannesburg." She said, "Oh, I lived there for a year and a half." And my hair began to stand on end. And I looked at her intently, and I said, "Which were you? Sanja or Urja [Shi]?" And then her hair began to stand on end. We'd been at school together.

PR: What was the school?

DSB: It was called Kingsmead. Kingsmead College. It's funny. Adele Santos went to the same school.

PR: It's a small world.

DSB: And they've sent people all over the world, and they've sent them to very interesting careers, as well. And it was partly this great idealism of the head mistress, D.V. Thompson. And her vision about education, as well as about race. [Pause] In the last round in the mid-70s, the Catholic schools integrated. And they could afford to. They had the backing of world Catholicism behind them. But quite soon the prep schools like my school, integrated too. And I was very proud of them. Now, it's a rich persons school -- it has some scholarships, but not big endowments like the schools here have. But in that time -- there are by now enough rich, black people, so there are lots of blacks in the school that I went to. And before it was legal, they just did it anyway, so I was very proud of them. The other thing I was going to tell you was that Urja Shi, who was this Chinese student -- she is now in Canada running a museum there, I think. She, at that point, was at Bryn Mawr, and she told me that her mother had sent her to schools just like Kingsmead all over the world, and that Bryn Mawr was exactly the same. I like those experiences that bring my life together.

PR: Was the school all girls?

DSB: All girls. Yes. Very, very prim and proper. But also intellectually, very exciting. We had an old-fashioned communist from London School of Economics, who taught us history. She taught us South African history from the point of view of the Boers, not the British. And I've always felt sympathetic toward the Boer's case. Of course, liberal Britain was, too. They were very much pro-Boer, and I feel that the Afrikaners get a bad rap in America and in England. The English speaking South Africans are just as racist, if not more. The Rhodesians also are more racist, maybe, than the Afrikaners. Jews were much less so. Much more liberal, although slowly you saw their acculturation happening. They used to do racial attitudes tests on incoming freshmen at my university. And they slowly saw the groups acculturating, but the most racist were the Afrikaners. The second most were the English-speaking white WASPS, and the third were the Jews. The Jews were by far the most liberal. The rank and file of the liberal party in South Africa was Jewish, and my university, as opposed to my school, was over half Jewish, and by far the most liberal university. Of course, you know that the universities in South Africa, unlike the ones in Nazi Germany, were a scourge to the government all the way through Apartheid. They were very, very brave.

PR: Was there any real religious upbringing in your family? Was that stressed at all?

DSB: Oh, yes. In fact, my parents also stressed that we should marry Jews, and none of us did. It was a great disappointment to them. But when Jimi was a child, I found a Jewish co-op school -- Sunday school -- that was not religious. In fact, it was atheist. They didn't mind what you felt about religion, but they taught culture. They were an emanation of a group in Russia -- somewhat, I think, after my grandfather left, there was a lot of socialist uprising in the stetl among the young people -- among young Jews. It's when the Enlightenment reached Russia. I think that was after my grandfather left, because I never heard any of this from him. It's interesting. My grandfather knew he arrived in a little town, at the age of seven. He didn't know where he came from. I asked if his parents spoke with the same accent he did, and he said, "Yes." So they came from somewhere near -- now, I have since read that in the 1880s, 1881 was an act which mandated that Jews left rural districts, and re-settled them in towns. It must have been then when my grandfather moved to this little town where he grew up. It's interesting to get world history related to your family history.

PR: It comes alive.

DSB: Yes. What were we saying?

PR: Was there a religious upbringing in your family?

DSB: Yes. In fact, my sister and I -- you'll find photographs of us as bridesmaids to the Rabbi and his wife. We brought the Rabbi and his wife together. She was a young woman -- daughter of one of my father's friends -- as old entrepreneurs in Rhodesia. And she had gone to Oxford, and then she came to stay with us in South Africa. And the Rabbi was a reformed Rabbi out of -- I think he was from Poland. M.C. Weiler, his name was. And he trained at that rabbinical school in Cincinnati -- the very famous one. He came as a young man to South Africa. They married and they had five kids, and he and she then left and went to Israel, where they brought up this family, and they're a famous family because they lost not one, but two children in the wars. So they are kind of a hero family in Israel. So we were -- yes and no. My mother was not part of the local Jewish community. She wasn't from Johannesburg. And she was different. I think she was more educated than Jewish women of her own age from Johannesburg, and from Lithuania. And in the same way, my grandmother hadn't really been quite part of the Jewish community because the family who brought her up must have been somewhat assimilated. She just hadn't learned all that much, although she made all the standard Jewish foods. And when I went to Finland a couple of years ago, there were all those same foods my grandmother made. It was very nostalgic. Because they were, in fact, Latvian peasant foods, a lot of them. And that's just across the sea from Finland. So it's pretty near where my family was. It was a bit sad not to be able to go and see it. So we did get a religious upbringing, but it was always in tension with the one at school. And the value systems were very different, and I really absorbed an Anglican value system, and Anglican religion from my school because we went to scripture classes and Anglicanism was taught extremely well by this head mistress.

PR: How would you characterize that value system?

DSB: Well, I can tell you a couple of differences, but let me just say one thing. The same head mistress packed us all off to synagogue. When I was a boarder, I was taken by the school to synagogue, and that was very nice, and she made sure that happened. We didn't have to go to scripture, and we didn't have to go to prayers, but we did because they were very good. So from my early childhood, I learned all these stories about baby Jesus, and Anglicans are kind of somewhat near to Catholics, and some of that. That was terrifically exciting for children. And Christmas. So I was always torn between those things, and Baby Moses just can't compare with Baby Jesus, although Passover is about as nice as Christmas. So it was very torn in that way. But I can give you a very good example. The school taught the sanctity of private property, and you may never borrow something from another girl, saying, "Oh, I'll give it back." That's her private property, and you have to ask her and get her permission. It's very sacred that. That's a trust that you have. And they also taught -- when someone misbehaved in front of a substitute teacher -- we were given a lesson on the value of tradition, and there was a Kingsmead tradition. If you're going to misbehave at all, you better do it with some of the full-time faculty, not to give a bad name to Kingsmead through the substitute faculty. And we then began to feel very proud of tradition. Well, my parents had left an old country and had broken with the tradition. And they didn't talk to me about the stetl and what happened. I had to find all that out for myself. I felt I had a tradition back to Baby Moses, but there wasn't much in between. So we were taught to be very proud of race, but we didn't know too much about the kind of history my friends at school knew about. And then, also, regarding property, my father felt he owned everything for all of us, so he could take my sister's bicycle and give it to my brother, because he really owned it. He decided it's too small for her now; it's the right size for him. And, of course, that autocratic view of life, we didn't like at all. We had many differences of opinion with my father about things like that. He was a very harsh, strong father, with a great deal of love, and he'd give his life for us, and yet also was not able to show it. And I one day told my father the basic outlines of Freudianism, and his reaction was, "Well, this isn't true of the Jewish people of Eastern Europe." And I didn't say to him, "You know, Freud based his cases on many Jews." But it was a very strange and wonderful comment. So, where are we? I left high school and I went to university, the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. My mother was sixteen when she -- no, she didn't go to university until much later, but she was fifteen when she left high school, and I was just sixteen when I went to university. I had just turned sixteen. I was therefore several years younger than most people. And I didn't go straight into architecture. I was -- there's only undergraduate architecture in South Africa. There was nothing like graduate courses in architecture as you have here. And I wasn't ready yet to leave things like French, English, history of music, so I spent a year doing liberal arts, which was unusual. And also, I was a year or two young, compared with everyone else. So when I got to first year architecture, I had already been a year, and I got out of my system maybe quite a few things. But it's funny. I really goofed off in that year a whole lot. But when people say to me, "How did you ever know about such-and-such?" like the Weber-Fechner law of stimulus -- now it's very familiar here, but I bet you don't know it by that name. It's the simile about the frog jumping out of the bucket. The politicians use it a whole lot, about how the bucket is slowly heated, and the frog never ever can tell the difference in the increase of heat, enough to get out of the bucket in time, and slowly boils. And I've heard it several times, on things like Channel 77. Politicians use that as a way of saying, "We have to stop arming ourselves, or whatever it is we're doing wrong." Well, that's the Weber-Fechner law. Someone said to me once, "How did you ever know that?" It was in my first year B.A. in Psychology I. So I've always wanted to have more knowledge to bring to architecture than I think many architects need. It's also made me a certain kind of architect. I went into first year architecture. Partly I had had friends who were architects, but I also thought architecture was women's work, because the friends I had were women and my mother was a woman. And then I got into architecture, and there were all these men around, and I thought, "What are they doing here?"

PR: I have one question. You said you thought architecture was women's work. Why?

DSB: Because my mother -- after she worked for an engineer, their family was too poor for her to go to college, and then suddenly an uncle said he'd pay for her. So she went to architecture school.

PR: Oh, she did?

DSB: At the same place where I started. I'm sorry. I left that out. [end of side one, tape one]

PR: We were talking about your mother.

DSB: Let me go back a little bit. Well, I'll tell you about that. She then could go to university. Being my mother, she brought her pet monkey with her, and kept it on the roof at the university. And I once asked my professor -- the first dean of the school was her professor and mine. Her dean and mine. And it was sort of nice when I came to interview with him, and he said, "Oh, Phyllis Hepker. Yes, I remember her." And I had her old drawings around me, and I started out using her drawing instruments. And I asked my professor, Professor Fassler, if he remembered my mother, and he stopped a moment and he said, "Yes. I remember her. I remember her at the bottom of the classroom, in front of the drawing board -- in front of the blackboard -- throwing chalk at all of us, very angrily." I said, "Why." He said, "I can't remember how we teased her to get her angry, but she was probably quite a sharp shot with the chalk." But at the end of her second year, she went home to her family, and she could see that there was no way that she could go back to college. She had to start work and help support the family because her father was not doing so well. And that's how my father met her there. She dropped out after her second year. In fact, shortly after I was born, her father died, and then her mother came into some insurance money and went travelling in the 1930s to see her family in Europe. We have photographs of them on the beach in Riga. And then, of course, they were all killed in World War II by Hitler. And some of her sisters -- her sister and her husband ran a dental clinic -- I think in Kovno. And she had other sisters. And she had a sister -- her husband's sister living in Israel -- I visited them when I was a student in England. And that's a funny story to tell, too, but we'll come to that. So my mother dropped out. And then in high school, I joined an archeological society, and I met people there who very much influenced my life. They were university students. And one of them was an architect, and persuaded me that it would be a good thing for me to do. So I went back to an original aim to be an architect. Because I was influenced by some very exciting people. So I started architecture school on that basis; not with too very much knowledge, except that every archeological expedition needed an architect. And of course, the archeology that was in South Africa took us way into the "bundu," into country that was just wilderness. We used to camp there every July, which was our school vacation. We'd have a winter vacation in July. It's funny -- winter in July. And we'd go out into this wilderness and camp, and live in a very spartan way, and look now for fossils. I became interested in paleontology, and the great interest in Africa was finding early human species together with tools. And the species was called Australopithecus. And Australopithecus was what we were looking for in a place called Makapan, which was a fantastic -- it was like a natural preserve. It was almost like one of the American national parks, except no one was allowed there. It had too much historical material, and too much archeological and paleontological material. Chalk caves, which had fossilized everything. And so we excavated there, and I've had a very long interest in African archeology, from that time. And once I hadn't -- in my third year -- I hadn't finished my drawings in time, and I took them with me, and there was this little hut where we were living. Sometimes we camped out if the hut was being occupied. Or we could use the hut, which was luxury indeed. If not -- it even had a little water attached to it. Otherwise, you had to go clean up in the stream. I remember once there was a snake gliding across the stream. This place was full of wild animals. So everyone would go off to the dig in the morning and leave me in the hut, finishing off my architectural drawings. It was a most exquisite experience, because the animals starting coming down. So we were afraid there might be leopards, but we never saw a leopard. But there had been leopards in that area. There are too many stories to tell about how I know about the leopards, but I just can't tell it all. So I would be sitting at my drawing board in the hut, and I'd hear all these sounds and calls, and I'd see a baboon out there. Not any big game, but deer and baboons, and so on. It was really sort of very wonderful thing to have in your background. You could watch the baboons. There was a hill, and you could watch the trees shaking, and if you looked carefully, you could see baboons in the trees. I took Bob there when we went back to South Africa in 1970. He was amazed because we had to get the key to get into Makapan. It had a key to lock it. And we couldn't find the key, and walking along was an African woman, who Bob describes as looking as if she came out of National Geographic, because she had this big mud hat on, and all the beads. And she and another African woman were carrying a large log on their heads -- on this head pack that they had. And I spoke to her in the little Fanecolo that I have, mixed with a little Afrikaans, and asked her where the key was, and we went and got the key. She spoke no English whatsoever, of course. And Bob was amazed that I could communicate with this person. Meanwhile, when I started my second year at Wits [University of the Witwatersrand], which was my first year in architecture school, there in the class were a group of people -- one is now in San Francisco, and my good friend. Another visited recently twice from Israel. And the other was Robert Scott Brown. And he had been in boarding school in Natal, and he was exactly the same age as me -- three days older. But instead of starting at university for that first year, when he was so young, he stayed on and did what they call Sixth Form, in his school, which may have been a way to get a better education. I'm not sure. A more intense education. But then we met in first year in architecture school. And the first year, I didn't get to know him very well -- or the second year. But I had noticed him, and kind of liked him, but he was again a prep school person, and he had a very upper class lawyer father -- a very bright, sharp lawyer, and very anti-semitic. So I just didn't have very much to do with Robert, because I had seen his father, and I just sort of thought, "Well, that's what he's like, too." Meanwhile, my friend, Diana, who now lives in San Francisco -- she was even younger than I was, and she was a very brilliant young woman. And also Jewish. She had grown up also with strange circumstances, and she was very bitter. She dated a different guy every night for all the years I was ever at school with her. [laughs] She was a real vamp. And yet very young underneath. She once said to me, "You look like a little boy, but underneath, you're a femme fatale, and I look like a femme fatale, and underneath, I'm a little boy." [laughs] So we were very different, but we were very good friends. She said to me, "He's not anything like what you think." And so I started to get to know him, and I discovered he had a half-Jewish mother, and he was very much more on his mother's side, and the fight between them -- of course, they were divorced -- And he had grown up on a farm, not too different in a way from how my mother had grown up. In the third year -- by that time -- I started out to be extremely shy. In fact, a friend from high school who came to visit me -- my good friend from high school has a brother teaching at RPI [Rennsalaer Polytechnic Institute] -- she came to visit, and I said, "Could you see me how you knew me?" She wasn't only in high school. We started school at six together. "Could you see me as I am now, in how you knew me then?" She said, "You were so quiet and so small, maybe I could have thought of it, but I wouldn't have expected it." So Robert said to me, "I didn't notice you much because you were a mouse." But by that time, I had joined some of the student societies, and I had formed some -- I always did have strong opinions, I just didn't know it. I was put in charge of the Student Exhibition Sub-Committee, and then I set up my own committee. And we spent most of our third year doing very little schoolwork indeed, and making a very big exhibition. It was called "Man-made Johannesburg." I co-opted Robert onto my committee, and we two worked mostly together, because he had a motorbike. We had to go collect the photographs on this motorbike from all the architects in town. We made lists of the buildings we wanted, helped by our professors. And then we had to collect them. There was another very good and close friend -- Robin Middleton. Now, he was on this committee, too, and we were all the same age. Robin and Robert were exactly the same age. And I should have told you a bit more.

PR: This is the author of recent books on the Beaux Arts, for example -- Robin Middleton?

DSB: Yes. Robin was -- it turned out -- the child of a school friend of my mother, but I didn't know this. He was at the same university with me. He had gone straight into architecture, so he was one year ahead of us. So Robin became like a child in our household. It turned out his mother was divorced several times, and he had this facility of being very at home in your household, in a way that was nice for you. He got to know where the things were. [He'd say,] "Oh, I'll do that." And he worked out how the kitchen worked, and he became like an extra child. Obviously, he needed that. He'd done it with other families, and for the time that we were in university together, he did it with us. And he became like a brother, in a way. And we loved him very dearly. And I say 'like a brother' because he has, for many, many years, lived with my sister. So he is like a brother-in-law in many respects. But that all happened much later. So, meanwhile, Robin was about the most brilliant person who ever went through that school. And he was a very brilliant designer. It's a great shame that he didn't stay an architect. So there we were, with Robin really a household person, and my getting more and more friendly with Robert. And then, at the end -- Robert and I never dated. I was dating Jewish boys because my mother said I should. But some of them were in the class, and then later they said to Robert, "Do you know we find her rather stiff." And the truth was, I just didn't have -- they and I didn't have that very much in common, because I had been brought up differently. My mother and father gave me a big conflict. It was their conflict. "Follow within the life of the community that you are born into, but do different things from they do, as we do." And it was their own conflict that was in me. So I had a dating pattern, and then a school socializing pattern, taking friends from school -- different friends -- some Jewish and some not -- with us, up to Makapan, or with us camping, and things like that. And then Robert and I just worked flat out getting this exhibition done. Robin was on that committee. He designed the exhibition. It was really great, but it was a huge amount of work for us. I used to ride the back of the motorbike, carrying these photographs -- some of them big, like this -- on the back. And that was our exhibition vehicle. My parents never stopped me. I'd never let Jimi do that. That's our son. But of course, traffic is more dangerous now than it was then.

PR: Right. I have two quick questions. When you said -- just to back up again -- you said when you began school, you thought of architecture as a natural avocation for women.

DSB: Yes.

PR: And it was certainly acceptable there.

DSB: It was acceptable in my family, and probably more so there, than here. America may be quite one of the most backward countries, I've found, as far as sexism, although South Africa is terrible legally. It has Roman Dutch law, and the situation of women is that they are minors. On the other hand, there was more acceptance. And, of course, I'd been in a girls' school, and we all know it's much better for girls' worldly ambitions to be in a girls school than in a boys and girls school. But going on, by the end of the term, Robert and I had neither of us done any work. In fact, you had to get something called your "due performance certificate," and we were given it, not because we had gone to lectures, but because we'd made this exhibition. People were very kind to us on that. We'd also not dated, although it had happened on occasion that we would go to a movie because we both wanted to see the movie, and we had a few hours before we had to pick up another drawing, or something like that. "Do you want to see that?" "Yes, I do." "Well, we could stop off here and we could do that while we're waiting." And once we were caught in a rain storm when we had to sit in a bus stop and talk, and Robert started talking about his family. And his family lived on this little farm, and they had a subsistence environment -- his mother and step-father. They bred cows, and they called them the Dear Cows. And what Robert wanted to talk about was the cows. And I thought, "Is this all he's ever going to talk to me about?" His step-father had been an airline executive with Imperial Airways, it was then called, before it became BOAC, and then it became British Air. And he was stuck during the war in South Africa, and married this young divorcee with this little boy, and then set up -- he had earned a lot of money and saved it all in a very frugal way -- and set up as a small scale farmer. And they grew what they ate, and they sold butter, and just bought a little meat. And that's how they lived, with their savings back of them. And that's where he went to spend his vacations from school, although his father had custody of him. So he had this great love of this environment -- [this] little boy would go and lean up against a cow and think, he told me. So I heard all about this farm. Then there was a time when he said to me he was having this date with this woman he very much admired, and she was very beautiful and very sophisticated, and how would I recommend that he deal with it. That is, where should he take her for dinner, and what should they go and see? And then he said, "I'm asking you questions I would ask my mother if she was here." And I've always had this problem that I call to mind people's mothers, I'm afraid, and it gives me joy and sadness both. But I felt, again, "Is he going to tell me about cows and think of me as his mother?" But by the time we'd reached our exams -- we had to start studying together, because we had minutes left before the exam. So we did all our studying together in the last week. Everyone had been studying for a month, and there we were in the last week, racing through everything. By the end of that, we were in love. And that was at the end of my third year. First of all, he wasn't Jewish. Secondly, we were nineteen years old. And for lots of reasons it seemed to me I should leave and go and spend my fourth year in England. Now, your fourth year, you were required to work in an architect's office. And before the war, people had got a special dispensation to go and study the antiquities of Greece and Rome, rather than working in an architect's office. And straight after the war -- I think one other person before me, went to London and got a job in an architect's officethere. So I said, "I'm going to do that."

PR: How would you characterize the three years of architectural training you had in Johannesburg?

DSB: There was almost no theory. Very, very nitty gritty. A lot of stress on detailing -- working drawing detailing. Not enough -- another reason I left was I suffered from a lot of agony around the subject that I just didn't know how to design. And there was no one who would help me with a philosophy or a method. When I see the course that Bob gave, and then Bob and I gave on theory of architecture, there was nothing like that. There was not even very much on modern architecture. And lacking the American structure of courses that you took, and then you folded that material into studio, there was not enough for me to build on. I didn't know whether what I was doing was good or bad, or why it was good or bad. And this gave me -- and in our second year and third year, we had some very bad teachers, who just had no way to help young architects with this terribly difficult problem of learning how to design. So I felt a lot of worry about that.

PR: What architects would have been discussed? Was this a Beaux Arts method?

DSB: No. That's another thing. My mother's year in that university had famous early Modern architects. Hanson Tomkin & Finkelstein, and a man called Cook. Fassler himself. And these were people who had failed architecture because they insisted on doing Modern. And Rex Martiensson. Now if you read The Oeuvres Completes of Le Corbusier -- the volume for 1936 has a letter to Rex Martiensson, a young disciple of Le Corbusier in South Africa. And he says, "Could you find a South African Croesus who can bring me out there and I can work with you?" Well, Rex Martiensson was killed in the war. But we had Modern architecture from the 1930s in Johannesburg -- more than you'd find in America. And, in fact, my mother, when she married this up-and-coming young businessman, hired her old friends, Hanson Tomkin & Finkelstein, and in 1933, we moved into probably the second International Style house in Johannesburg. So that's another piece of the influences of architecture on my childhood. I don't have the sentimental memories of the attic and the steps up to the attic, and the oak panelling. What I have is strip windows, which have walls that don't quite come up to the window, and there's a little piece between that you can peep through and listen through. I have mild steel columns that are piloti, that you can climb up, and a fantastic deck, which came out like a deck of a ship, with a spiral stair coming down to the ground floor, where I could play ships. And we could climb up on the roof and play on this flat roof of this house. So that house was very much part of my childhood.

PR: Do you remember who designed it?

DSB: Yes. Norman Hanson. He has just died in England now. In fact, his daughter wrote me a letter recently. In fact, when I was in England, I went back to South Africa, because by then I was very interested in the International Style, and I talked with Hanson's wife, and I talked with Hanson, and I borrowed a whole lot of photographs from him, and had a little show of his work in the AA [Architectural Association, London]. That was about 1953. So anyway, I went to England to work, and I, in fact, got myself a job with Frederick Gibberd, and that's where I discovered South Africans were trained very well to draft. I drew much better than English people. That's in drafting. My free hand drawing is not all that talented, and now, after years and years of not working at a board, it's very rusty. But I drafted extremely well. And I can still -- I can train people, and I can tell people what I want, and I can criticize, which is what's needed for the kind of work that I do. And I'm not at all sorry to have had that background. A lot of free hand drawing, I was just getting the hang of it when I left South Africa.

PR: Did you go to England alone, or did Robert Scott Brown go with you?

DSB: No. We had a fond farewell, and I went on my own. It was a great big adventure. Like my dad going to Rhodesia. Like my son going to New York. It's funny seeing the three generations doing the same thing. So I went there. My parents found me a place to stay. And I got a job with Frederick Gibberd. He wanted me drawing publication drawings. He knew South Africans drew well. So I drew drawings for the publication Architectural Review of some of his housing projects. We were in a building that had been bombed, and you had to wait to see who was going to walk around before you drew a line, because your line would get a big wobble in it. [laughs] I was very relieved when they finally put me down on the ground floor, which had a concrete floor, and it was much more even, and I could do the drafting they wanted me to do. But, at the same time, I went to the AA, which I had heard about, and I'd read a lot of their journals in one of the offices I had worked at in Johannesburg, because I had worked for three architects before I left Johannesberg. So I went to them and I said, "Well, I had been thinking of coming here," but I thought they produced a lot of hot air and a picnic and a pantomime a year, and that was it. The AA had its famous pantomime. Pantomime is a kind of a performance -- a very English ritual-type performance. Well, they produced sort of AA plays once a year at the party, and that's what they were famous for, more than their architecture. Well, they said, "There's an entrance exam happening next week. Why don't you take it?" And I took it. I had never had to do that -- I had to produce a design in, I think, an hour and a half. And on the basis of it I got in. Then it seemed that fate was pushing me. So having worked for six weeks for Frederick Gibberd, I said yes to the AA, and I said I wanted to go on the student tour that they were having of Sweden, before school started. I had already gone to Paris on my own. That was a wonderful thing to do. I went to Paris for two weeks, and then I worked for Gibberd for six weeks. Then I started traveling on my own to reach Sweden, and I went to France, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, and then Sweden. Travelling on my own.

PR: Were you supported by your family through all of this?

DSB: Yes.

PR: You had their whole-hearted support?

DSB: Well, they sent me financial support, and I had to learn how to use a checkbook. The bank that I set up then, I still have in England, from 1952. I sometimes remind them as they cut back service and service and service. I've been with them for nearly forty years. I had myself a boat ticket and a train ticket, and I started traveling. And on the train, I sent them a letter saying, "I didn't tell you, but I'm on my way to Europe." And they said sort of, "God bless you." So another strange thing happened to me. I had a pretty nice time in Geneva, and I met fascinating people in youth hostels. Some of whom have stayed in my mind, who I never saw again -- a German refugee who'd grown up in England, and she'd gone back. She obviously hated England. Her name was Margaret Bunzel, and she started talking to me in a youth hostel. And she had a German accent, but she spoke excellent English. I had had a lot of German refugees growing up in my life. They were important to me, too. And at Wits, the professor of structures was a German refugee, Manfred Marcus, and I loved him dearly. He had a soft spot for all the women in architecture. I used to go and have sandwich lunch in his office with him, and talk to him about the need for structure in my life, and why don't I like Brahms? And he'd say, "Wait. You will like Brahms," then try to help me understand structures. I met this German woman, and she'd gone back to Austria, and she was living alone in what had been her family's summer house, and I often wondered what happened to her. She was such an independent type -- bicycling through Europe on her own. When I got to Germany, all I could think of was the forced marches of my relatives. The countryside was very beautiful, and I saw long lines of dropping Jews all the way. And I arrived in Heidelberg one morning at four, based on the trains I'd been taking. I set about to see Heidelberg, with the sun making it pink, and the police stopped me and said, "What are you doing out on the streets at this time?" He obviously thought I was a prostitute. I showed them my passport, and it said "student." Then I was propositioned in a very crude way by a German man, who said, "You don't have to stay at the youth hostel. You can stay with me." I was very, very upset by that. And then I got on a bus, and I gave the money to the bus conductor, and I said, "To the Jugendherberge." I could understand a fair amount of German eventually because of Afrikaans, and because, again, as my grandmother was German-speaking, I felt I could possess it. Not as much as I can French and Italian, but sort of enough, in a way. So he looked at me, and he said in English, "You've given me Swiss money." I had no wish to have any contact with him, and I was also very frustrated after what just happened to me, so I held out a handful of coins and said, "Here," and he took the money, and said, "You need this piece and this piece and this piece, and that's what you need." And then he said, "You know, I'm not really a bus conductor. I'm a law student." And I said to myself, "I've heard that one before. What else am I going to hear in Germany?" I learned anyone who spoke English with an American accent, you had to be very careful of. That's because of all the Army there. He said, "I would love to show you Bonn. I have an afternoon free. Would you like to do it after you get into the youth hostel?" And I looked at him, and I thought, "This really is a law student." So I said, "Yes." And he took me to lunch. We spent two days looking at Bonn. He showed me where Beethoven was born, and where a church had been, and its plan was in the road; and things like that. German students had so much knowledge. He knew much more about medieval painting than I did, and medieval sculpture. Things like that. Once he said something about religion, and I wasn't prepared to talk about religion with any German. And then, when I got back to England, I got a letter saying, "How would you like to be a pen pal?" And I wrote back saying, "There's nothing that I, as a Jew, can have to say to you, as a German." And then I got a thirty page letter, and it was an amazing letter. It said so many things that were very, very moving. My parents came to live in England in 1953, and I lived with them. They came to be at the coronation. They took kind of a year's leave of absence. I think my dad was thinking about moving at that stage, but he didn't say anything. I got this letter from Kurt, his name was, saying he was going to go to Spain. And I said to my dad, "I'd love to go to Spain with Kurt." He said, "Well why don't you?" I was amazed that he was telling me to go and spend a vacation alone with a man and a German! Well, I wrote to Kurt and he said, "Yes. That would be wonderful. By the way, I'm going with a friend called [Hans-] Martin [Gremse], and you would like Martin. We'll meet in Barcelona." We had a meeting day and place. They were hitchhiking. Part the way through, I got a postcard saying, "We've met Len. [Fried]. He's an American. You'd like him, too." So I arrived, and there we were. We each had a killometrico, which is a ticket that allowed you from something like a thousand kilometers, for very little money, on the trains where the families and the chickens and the hens and the nursing babies go. And you go, too. So we all set out to do this. And for five weeks I talked with two Germans about why they changed from being dedicated junior Hitler youth -- because they were thirteen, like me, when the war ended -- to being liberals. And we got in with strange situations, where the Spanish thought that, being Germans, they were still Nazis, and they were quick to tell us about the Falange, you see, and all of that. And Len didn't say much about anything. If Len was Jewish, he didn't say so. And he would solemnly shake hands and click his heels with the Germans every night. And they never saw the joke. His name is Len Fried, and he is now a rather famous photographer in New York, and I haven't seen much of him. We all met once, many years later, in Hamburg. I haven't seen Kurt, either, but Martin Gremse, I have stayed in contact with. He was a seminary student. He had written to Martin Buber, and had corresponded with him, again on the same subject. And it was very moving to me that we found some Life magazines in a shop in Spain dated 1941. They said, "The great fight for freedom." I said, "Look what we were fighting for." They said, "You think we weren't fighting for the same thing?" And by the time I was finished talking with them, I said to myself, "If I hadn't been a Jew, I would have been a Nazi." If they had been caught into it, I could have been too." I went back to South Africa and I talked to Manfred Marcus, and I said, "If I hadn't been a Jew, I would have been a Nazi." And he said, "You're so right. There were people braver than me, passing out leaflets, which said, 'Buy shoes' on the outside, and 'Fight the Nazis' on the inside. There was this Christian friend of mine who was a great sportsman, and he was invited to join the Nazi party and coach -- if you wanted to play football, you had to join the Nazi youth -- coach the Nazi youth. And he said, 'Of course I'm not going to do that.' And I said, 'You are a fool. The moment you write and say to them, "my health does not permit me to join the Nazi party," you are a marked man. You will have to leave the country.'" So I saw a very different side of what Nazism meant. These children said, "We did not know. Our parents might have suspected. They didn't want to ask. We didn't dare ask, and we didn't know." And I think there were many Germans who were like that. If something is too horrible to contemplate, in the place that you know is home, you want to put it out of your mind. And I've had Jewish friends since who say that the Germans couldn't recognize it because they had no vocabulary for understanding it -- the presence of total evil. And I feel that. I feel that.

PR: I was curious -- these are extraordinary experiences -- but in your travels, particularly I'm thinking of the tour you did on your own, where you met some of these people -- would you describe it as an architectural tour, or --

DSB: It was my learning about life. And in doing that, I toured cities avidly. And I went up every church steeple. But I looked out on the city, and I had all the city plans, which I put up on my wall when I got back. And I went through every cathedral, and all the sights that you should do, and all the Modern architecture I could find. I looked through all the towns as I went. So I came up with a vocabulary of Medieval and modern European towns, having seen a great deal of kind of 1940s and 1950s Modern architecture. And then when I went to Sweden, we were on an architectural tour particularly, and I was with a lot of young architects, when I met up with the AA. And then I began getting their view on architecture. You see, I had come with this African xenophobia about learning from your environment -- which is a very important piece of my life -- and a love of International Style architecture. But then I began talking AA student talk with these other people. There was also an Israeli on that tour, who became a good friend -- Ram Karmi. Between us, we went to synagogue one night, and we found a German Jewish refugee, like Manfred Marcus. I said he has a dry biscuit mind and a rich red wine intellect, and I've always loved that combination. We talked all of one night. Ram got bored by the end, and I was still going on with this German Jewish rabbi. What does it mean to be Jewish? And he was also a composer. He was a rather famous composer. It was one of those -- when you're travelling like that, you get these little cameo situations, where you must talk way into the night because you're on such a similar wavelength, and you'll never have another chance. I've done that in many places over the years. But that was about learning what the essence of being Jewish was. And he said, "It's to have a prophetic mission." And that's stayed with me. Of course, that's very much what reformed Judaism says. But that's stayed with me as a thought about, "What does that mean professionally to have a prophetic mission?" And that might be one of the reasons why my span is broad, why my concerns are to mix social and architectural questions. And yet, I have a great love of the nitty gritty, physical side of architecture. And from my previous experience in South Africa, I love detailing. I know a lot more about detailing than a person in my position who's an urbanist, would know. We work now -- for example, these chairs. That profile -- I worked to the millimeter with Bob on that profile. I loved doing that.

PR: Do you want to point out which chair that is?

DSB: The Chippendale chair. He spent months of his life on the furniture -- he spent years -- but I spent months. It's never attributed that way. But the refinement of detail in that, I've loved. I love working with fabrics, we're designing fabrics now. And all phases, from a teaspoon to a region, I'm interested in. And I'm very aware that you have to change hats. I had a good friend, Barbara Capitman, and she had one of these very, very broad experiences from her parents and her work life. Then she went to Miami Beach, and every single thing that she knew, she needed to help save the Deco District. From an understanding of Jewish gerontology, which she did have, to a knowledge of the great hotels of Europe, to journalism and a knowledge of trademarks. And she put all the skills she had into protecting this tender environment. And I feel that's what I do in my profession. I try to bring the Weber Fechner law, and the prophetic mission, and what blacks in low income areas need today, and outreach, as far as museums are concerned, and the delicacy of a wall that you need to put a thirteenth century painting in front of it, and the science of lighting and methods of implementation, which involve hierarchies in the city -- there's a way for me to bring the whole lot together. And I have another problem. I have got three countries that I had three different educations in, and how do I bring all that together? It's very meaningful to me when one piece of my former life confronts with another piece. And I once did that once too often. I put Norma Evenson arguing with Aldo Van Eyck, and it was a volcano explosion at Berkeley on Telegraph Avenue in a Chinese restaurant. [laughs] But I caused that. Because of my need to see how people --

PR: Juxtapose?

DSB: Yes.

PR: That raises a couple of quick questions that have come to my mind. This may be too broad, but you said you need to change hats. It's important for you to be able to think about the teaspoon and think about the region.

DSB: Yes.

PR: I'm wondering how you change hats -- how you view this possibility to design both teaspoon and region. And an idea that comes to my mind is Louis Kahn, who would say his idea was that an architect could design a house and a city in the same breath. It's the same principle.

DSB: Yes. Well, Paul Davidoff reacted to that by saying, "Architects who think they can design everything from a teaspoon to a region, have delusions of grandeur." I agree with Paul. So I've pondered a lot about why I love to do it. And I think I've learned about what I can't design, and what I can't do, and where I must get help. Let me give you an example: recently, I've been working for a certain campus, and I've told them they needed a transportation plan. And separate from me -- because one of the trustees had his favorite transportation planner -- they did a transportation planning study, and it's almost useless. The transportation planner has done -- they gave him a base map like this -- so the road they wanted to close, he told them they couldn't close it. He was right in that. But the diversions that he showed them of traffic, so you could close this road, were all within the base map that they gave him: which means four or five blocks on either side of the road. I took one look at this thing, and I said, "The way to solve this problem is this. You have to go to the whole region, and here is a bridge, and here is a bridge. In this city, locations of work are changing. To the north are new work locations. You need to get my transportation engineer, who will tell you about how, by small scale changes at intersections all the way along, and at the other bridge and beyond, you can help this portion of the residential community use this route instead to go to this part of the city; and this portion will use this route -- this other bridge, to go to this part of the city. [Drawing while speaking] Then you have to talk with this transportation engineer, and work out what is an acceptable level of traffic that can go through this campus, that will make it just nicely accessible -- a good address. And go and negotiate with the city to get that level of traffic on that road, and no more, by these diversions, and by other methods. And you're probably going to have to accept buses on this road. You should be happy to accept buses. They'll bring your students. Use my transportation engineer, who has a lot of political know-how. And he wrote the textbooks that the city people have been using. Now, that was my strategy.

PR: What project was this?

DSB: Well, I better not tell you because I carefully didn't tell you any names.

PR: Okay.

DSB: But you see how I can work as a planner -- the other thing I said is the cross-over that they're recommending to get pedestrians over at this intersection, is going to ruin your plan for the Student Union building that you're going to put there. The very corner where you need access, they've put a multi-level cross-over that wouldn't work with the access. So I feel that with my breadth -- if I work with an economist, I force them to think of the region before they think of the street where they're working. They don't like to do this, but I make them, because my experience is a little main street like this will never have a hinterland which is just local. It now must appeal to a region or not at all. Do you see the kind of -- when I work as an urban designer . . . Sometime I have to go and look at some drawings downstairs. You could come with me, if you'd like. It's very interesting, because they've asked us to do a view of Penn, which is visionary, in the future. And this, by the way, is also somewhat of a confidential project, but I can tell you this much. And the architect said, "How can we possibly draw a Penn which is visionary, when we don't know what the program is?" And I said, "As a planner, you can't say that. As an architect, I must say that. As an urban designer, I'm doing indicative designs." I must distinguish between something I think will happen, and something that I want. And I must show that, in this case, what we're talking about is maybe not things people have thought of but maybe, to be visionary, things they should think of; but not so visionary as to be beyond the range of feasibility. So it's the visionary end of a feasible spectrum, or at least we hope it is. And then we have to draw buildings that we haven't designed, but which are of an order which looks feasible -- which could be, in certain cases: increments that a developer could handle; or the type of classroom buildings in the kinds of stages that they would probably, feasibly implement, if they were going to make this big decision that we made. And so as an urban designer, you do that. And also, you make the drawings of the buildings a little prettier than you would as an architect. But we had to do a lot of analysis to work out what it meant "visionary," because they showed us a lot of plans that showed this whole street we were thinking of, and this whole campus we were thinking of, and they'd shown everything, but it wasn't visionary. So I said, "Why is this not visionary?" First of all, it's rather finite. The views that they show are from pedestrian level, and very finite. Then we went to the book of the plan for Chicago, done by Daniel Burnham. I said, "Now that's visionary planning." Now, what's visionary? It goes far into the distance. It shows great continuity, it shows structure, structure shown by the open space. So we're going to have no buildings shown touching the ground. That's all going to be in this cottonball type of thing that looks like a continuity of open space, going all the way through. And those drawings are growing now, and it's quite exciting. There's no one saying we're being irresponsible for doing it, and yet it does have that quality that I think they'll call visionary. Does that help you about changing hats?

PR: I think so. Yes. We're talking about also what I would say the social responsibility, the prophetic mission, and so forth, which always seems to be a kind of key and chief component of your interest. The broad social spectrum.

DSB: Except that I resent the fact that I get -- [end of side two, tape one]

PR: We were talking about the social responsibility of the firm of Venturi Scott Brown & Associates, and some of the criticism that you've perceived or has been leveled at the firm for lacking a social conscience, which struck me as odd, and you were responding to that.

DSB: People have said that Post-modernism lacks social concern, and social conscience, and I think that that's a valid criticism, but not of us. We've been accused of having no social concern in England, where they tend to simplify things considerably. But before I talk about that, and I have a lot to say on that subject, I can be pigeonholed in the other area, as well, which I resent as much, which is Denise does all the social work, and she's not interested in design, or any good at it. And I resent that, too. And keeping these two together has been an aim of my life, from long before I came to America, but very much by being involved with the genesis of the social planning movement in America at Penn. And my friends like Paul Davidoff and Herbert Gans have no trouble in seeing how learning from Las Vegas can be part of social concern. Simple minded people say it's to do with gambling, and therefore -- but Chartres Cathedral was to do with Medieval christianity. A less socially concerned, and more coercive religion would be hard to imagine. So, I think there are many ways -- but people like Delores Hayden are very, very rigidly against us for being -- I forget what we do, but we do something terribly bad, socially, as far as she's concerned. And she will only see -- the people who are going to say that always show a picture of Las Vegas with dark, at night, with the lights. And they never show anything else. If you're looking to see someone who's going to call you socially irresponsible, you'll first see that they use night scenes of Las Vegas. It's very interesting. But she puts everything into black and white.

PR: Is there one project you might bring out that you're particularly proud of, that somehow embodies some of the social conscience? Is there any way you might illustrate, other than saying it's our entire philosophy?

DSB: You could look at our South Street project, which we were doing at the same time as we did Las Vegas. The social planner who asked us to join them in this volunteer activity -- advocacy planning -- said, "If you can like Las Vegas, we trust you not to try to neaten up South Street at the expense of the people living there." I was very happy at that connection. It's the architects who have difficulty making it. But if you read Bob's analysis of the National Gallery program and how to respond to it, in the article he wrote for The Royal Society of the Arts, you'll see a social analysis of the new functions of an art museum for today. And it's very much a question of urban outreach. Making a museum available to four million people a year, of many, many different taste cultures, and how that should be done at the same time as being aware that one is an elitist, and one cannot escape from that box, but one has to be aware of other people's values, and modest in the negotiation between them. We thought a lot about multi-layered values. City Hall should have something for everyone's values, and it should on one level be elitist, but that doesn't mean it should also not -- it doesn't mean it should hurt other people because it is. You can have architectural in jokes in a building. There's no reason why you shouldn't also get your fun. But it shouldn't be at the expense of someone else. So there should be, and there can be, many layers of communication. There are in certain artists, and there aren't in other artists. People used to say Shakespeare was a multi-layered artist in that respect. Scholars now feel that that was probably romanticism. He probably wasn't. But Verdi certainly was. And we think architectural art -- the more it becomes public art, should strive for that combination. We're jumping around, we got me just to the AA and we're still talking about --

PR: The threads are there. [laughs]

DSB: Yes. Should we go downstairs now?

PR: Sure. Let's do that. [Tape Off/On] We're back after a lunch break, and when we left off, we were talking about -- chronologically, anyway, we were talking about London and your career at the AA. I wanted to ask you about Arthur Korn. I think you once mentioned that he imbued the students with a social responsibility.

DSB: Yes.

PR: I was intrigued with that, partly based on your own background, what you said today that your upbringing suggested already a kind of responsibility, perhaps.

DSB: Yes. Very strongly at my Anglican school, and as well with my family background. As I said, Jewish immigrants to South Africa tended to be much more liberal than the population around. But there was also the Godly purpose of the head mistress of our school, who saw the same responsibility. So that's where the two traditions were very strongly alive with each other. And so, by the way, was Robert Scott Brown's tradition -- the same. At the AA I went through a certain amount of turmoil, because here I was having to face the issue of how do you design, and again with very little help. In the first semester, we were given a park to design by a young American visiting professor, whose name is Harland McClure. He is rather well-known as an important personage around the American Institute of Architects, these days. But he was a young professor then, and he ran this problem in the design of Primrose Hill, which was a park in the north of London. And I had an existential crisis, and came out with a design that people liked pretty well. It, among other things, screened the cars, but left enough of the busy arterial showing that bordered the park, to give a sense of tension between the screening and the showing. And that seemed very important to me. And the ideas about how to landscape this park came probably from the history of architecture lectures that I was attending, which were very influential on me, and moving. And they were -- I believe there was a series on landscape by Peter Shephard, but probably more important, a series on classicism by [John] Summerson. And I sat through Summerson's lectures several times at the AA. At the same time as the students at the AA, very imbued with the socialism of the day, and strong -- because they were the remains of the ex-servicemen's generation -- and when I speak about England, I say ex-servicemen; when I speak about America, I say veterans. We used the word ex-servicemen. A group of much older students had come to the AA, who had been in the war. And these were strongly left-wing. Hugh Morris had just left. He was a communist. And he became very well-known as one of those architects who went into the London County Council, and engineered a revolt in favor of Modern architecture with a lot of social concern, around the schools and the housing programs in the London County Council. At that stage, one of the best places to be hired by, as a young architect, was the London County Council. They were progressive, forward looking in the way the AA was, and they also paid better than most. This is the time when the millions in architecture were being spent in the public agencies, not in the private sector. So the school matched in spirit, in a kind of rather sadly bland way, a kind of Modernism of CIAM, and also they were producing Roehampton at that time, which looks like Ville Radieuse and also like American urban renewal. It was all the same vocabulary, although very different social groups involved for those two. So into that place I came, and was nicely received and well treated. In every school I had been in as a student, the ratio of men to women was one-to-twelve. And this colonial with her strange background -- I got a lot of attention. A lot of men would come and sit around my desk. And I am a feminist, but at that stage, I loved that ratio, and I loved the attention it gave me. It took me many years to realize that I shouldn't be of the sort who says, "I'm in, but I don't want anymore like me," that this was basically immoral. At that stage, I loved the one-to-twelve ratio. I got a lot of help in my work, and at a time when I was feeling very lost, a certain Ron Jones gave me careful, considerate help. He sat next to me in the studio. And I mention him -- he later became known as Orlando Jones, and he's a very, very brilliant person. A very picturesque character. We don't have time to go into everything about Orlando Jones now. He came and visited us a few years ago at the house here, in Philadelphia, and it was lovely to see him again. And he didn't disappointment me in how he developed. So when I needed a little help and care, and this big problem about how do you do design, I got a lot from him. Whereas some of the other people who came and talked at my board, were merely rehearsing what they were going to say at their jury the next day. So I had to learn to distinguish between those. The projects I produced were liked but not loved at the AA, and I still had my existential question going on. And at a certain point, there was a certain Mr. Richard Eve, who was a studio master at the AA. I remember hearing him saying, "You have to, as a teacher, spot when there is a good person slipping." And the words "a good person slipping" seemed to resonate through my mind and describe me, and I went into some kind of a tailspin, which I suppose you could call -- what do they call it here? What is the second year in college called? Sophomore. Sophomore blues.

PR: Crisis.

DSB: Yes. Well, I think I got that rather older, you see, because I was in my fourth year. But I had left home, and leaving home was a much bigger thing than I realized. I used to long to see one familiar face on the street in London. And for one reason or another, I felt I was a good person slipping, and then Arthur Korn came and discovered me. Arthur Korn was my studio critic at that time, and I had produced a building that -- I thought I'd had a bad crit, which taught me how paranoic students are. I could remember from my own experiences, and I've always remembered that as a critic. The good words you say, they can't hear. The bad words that you didn't say, they hear. Not only that, the good words you said of the person before them, they didn't hear and apply it to their case. So you have to be very, very careful how you criticize students, because it's a terribly vulnerable situation for them. So although the faculty, in fact, had liked what I had designed for this office building, I didn't hear that, and I thought it was terrible, and I was untalented. And then I had to do some details for it. Then Arthur Korn was my critic, and he was very good, and he really had good methods for helping people. He would say, "Now here on your project -- here's a question mark here on the sheet. A question mark here, another question mark here. By the time I come back in an hour, I want you Madam, please, to have resolved all these questions."

PR: He sounds German.

DSB: Yes. But it was very kindly. I could hear him over other people's boards. He'd say things like -- he'd look at a scheme, and he'd say, "God bless you, my boy," if he liked something. He'd often say, "Do this." And I'd say, "Why. What would be the reason for doing this? Why wouldn't you do that?" And then he wouldn't say, "Well, do what I say." He'd say, "Stick to your guns, Madam." [laughs] There was a lot of emotion in that, and some of the other students there scorned him because he was too old-fashioned. At that time, it was an office building project we were working on, and the students who took the project at the level they were given it and put a building on the site that they were given -- on a street in London -- were later at the jury, called "dentists" by the faculty. Cavity fillers. You were supposed to step back and re-plan London. And when Arthur Korn started his series of lectures, which were basically on "history builds the city" from a communist point of view, he would start with Western Europe; and there would be a deputation of the students asking him to start with the world. There was infinite regression to larger and larger scales going on there at the time.

PR: Would you say there was a fair amount of history? You mentioned Summerson and Korn's lectures on the history of European cities. Was that balancing the essentially Modern view that was --

DSB: We were doing the Modern part ourselves. We got very intrigued with Ville Radieuse and with Milyutin's linear city, and all of those things. But as young radicals, as the Brutalists came in -- and when I was at the AA, the Brutalists didn't teach there. But in the midst of all this existential crisis, I went to Spain, as I said, with Kurt and Martin and Len. And I came back three weeks late, and the AA were very worried about me. They seemed to think they were in loco parentis, which I hadn't thought of. I said, "Oh, what were you worried about?" And then they said, "Well, you know, you're not going to finish in time." I said, "I don't care about when I finish." So I got out of their disciplinary constraints. I could do that because I didn't have a scholarship, and I could say, "It's going to be up to me." So we were at a bit of a stand-off -- the AA and I -- at that point. And they were right, because I was very worried about what I was doing and how I was doing it. At that point, I came back to the studio one day, and someone said, "Brian Smith has been looking for you." So I said, "Who is Brian Smith?" Brian Smith, by the way, now practices in Long Island somewhere. They said, "Well, don't you know? He's good." One of the ways you could tell if he was a person -- "He's good." And, "He's part of that group. And he's thinking would you like to work on doing your thesis with him?" He saw that I hadn't worked out a thesis topic yet, and I think he wanted extra labor on his. Who knows what he wanted. He turned out to be interested in me and interested in my sister, and if you look at his later life, he seemed to like the kind of people who weren't English. He had a Polish girlfriend for years after that. I don't know what's happened to Brian since then. But coming back and not knowing what I was going to do, I started talking with Brian, and he wanted to do a thesis on a Welsh miner's village. It's so easy to say Polish miner's, but it was Welsh miner's village called Tremadoc, in the Rhondda Valley. And he had already collected a lot of the background data for it, including maps and site plans and all of that. We had the task of finishing a thesis in six weeks. The faculty were horrified. They said, "You shouldn't be doing this." They weren't happy at all, at first. I said, "I'm not going to do anything else. I'm going to go to this great rush and get it all done in six weeks." But now, you need to go back into the AA: Brian's brother left school before World War II, at the age of fourteen, and went to work in the City Treasury's Department, and after the war went back to work there. And Brian, having the highest I.Q. in Luton, got a major scholarship to this major art school, not to his local art school. And that was a huge social cleavage in England at the time. And people changed class by the drop of a scholarship. And that's the "look back in anger" generation. And when we saw the play by John Osborne called "Look Back in Anger," and the curtains opened, and you saw this apartment, and the two people up there reading The Observer newspaper, the whole student population of that theater burst out laughing, because it absolutely was our kind of student lives. And that group that Brian was with was the "look back in anger" group. The group who had --do you remember the character in there says, "My university wasn't a red brick university. It was a yellow brick university." Because red brick was already lower class, and yellow brick was sort of city college. And out of this came this intelligentsia, violently anti-establishment, very left-wing. The student group that I joined by working with Brian had the rebels from the independent schools -- what English call the public schools. And it had these very, very bright scholarship people, who had changed class by getting this major scholarship, but were very bitter. They made strictures which were churlish in the way that I later saw parallels with the way sociologists and social planners criticized architects. If you had some camembert cheese, they would ask you what was wrong with good working class cheddar cheese. And if you -- there was a certain way of dressing, which was the public school way in England. The public school people discovered the Army surplus stores, and bought for a very low price, suede riding boots, and cut them down. So they got these very cheap strange looking shoes, which were then quite chic. But the people who arguably really needed the savings of money, wouldn't buy the shoes because they bought them. The dress was status. That was the same group that later went sideways and became Italian in their style. So they didn't have to do upper class things, and they didn't stay with the lower class. They moved sideways to a sort of European culture. It was very interesting to see those moves. So that was a kind of a very fluid and exciting social time, in which the Brutalists suddenly appeared. And when I saw the Beatles, it was like a second sight -- déjà vu -- because the [Peter & Alison] Smithsons were like the Beatles. In the first place, they came from, not Liverpool, but Newcastle. They brought working class dynamism, and new thinking.

PR: How did you relate to this group?

DSB: Through Brian Smith and Steve Rosenberg, and there was an Indian named Namulchandra Bhaklie -- Spud Bhaklie he got called -- John Gentle, and various others, who had the kind of working class ethic, even if they weren't working class, and were very interested in early Modern architecture. And in this yeasty time, they, by internal spontaneous combustion, evolved ideas in parallel to the Brutalists. They strongly maintained that they didn't copy the Brutalists, but they were all thinking the same way at the same time. But we went to visit Peter and Alison Smithson -- or I did -- before they were ever at the school. And I took them our designs for Maerdy, this town --

PR: So this would have been around 1954 or 1955?

DSB: '53 or '54. Already there was a critique of early Modern architectural urbanism, of CIAM. You don't want high-rise for low income families. People need to be on the ground. But we were also somewhat influenced by some of the thought that later became these large megastructures. If you see our scheme it sits on the hillside, outside this town, and it climbs up the hill with little cubist structures with rather technologically complex ramps going up at different levels from the hillside, and meets a kind of a spine of commercial -- which is the beginnings of a mega-structure. But the whole thing was very small scale, and advisedly so. It looks very much like [pause] --

PR: A linear city?

DSB: It was a linear city, but a small one. What's the name now, of that -- [Ludwig] Hilbersheimer. Now, I'd never seen the drawings of Hilbersheimer, and I suspect Brian hadn't either, but if you saw Hilbersheimer's drawings, our thing looked very much like that. That was 1953 or '54.

PR: Can I ask you about the Smithsons a little bit?

DSB: Yes.

PR: For example, your visit to them. Let's see. At that point, they had built one of the famous schools.

DSB: We went to see the Hunstanton School. Something else happened. Someone did a spoof of the Smithsons in, I think, Architectural Review, and they took an article written by Frank Lloyd Wright, describing Bear Run, and each time Bear Run was mentioned, they put the house in SoHo in its place, therefore making the house in SoHo absolutely un-understandable. And I don't know who did that, but it left me with a lot of worry. And then, I think it was at that time, that "Parallels of Life and Art" -- the exhibition at the ICA -- came out, and I went and saw that. And then the Smithsons came and talked at the AA. I talked to them then, and said, "Why do you have to be so incomprehensible?" They said, "We were bending over backwards to try to be understood." But I think there was a lot of very arcane stuff going on, but also, I had come straight from my undergraduate education in South Africa. You could say, at least, I had an empty mind. I found that the English students around me had much more education in certain respects than I did. But they also were very cluttered, and couldn't see their way through. And they had, apart from architecture, enormously paper-thin lives, I felt. They hadn't had some of the dimensions I had had. They didn't seem to have an outdoor life. They didn't seem to have social interests beyond architecture, and this narrow kind of socialism to do with Modern architecture. And they didn't have social graces at all. They didn't know how to smile at people. They only knew how to frown. They didn't have ways of behaving; they just had their very radical criticism of the establishment. So I felt that maybe I had the advantage over them, in that respect. Because their lives had been all concentrated on winning that scholarship.

PR: Were they friends? Would you consider them friends of yours, or just classmates? I mean, here you were, sort of a center of attention with the one-to-twelve ratio, but were they --

DSB: That group became my friends, but then, you see, Robert came shortly thereafter. I was always amazed at how cruelly they treated each other. And I thought that lifemanship and oneupmanship was invented by the author of those books, who's name, I think, was Steven Potter. When I got to England, I realized that Potter didn't invent lifemanship. He merely chronicled it. And lifemanship and gamesmanship was what was taking place in every jury at the AA. Very, very destructive. The faculty members would say, "Evidently you did not find dealing with the needs of mothers with children important." (I'm just using an example. It didn't happen this way.) And the student would say, "No. We felt that that was one of the rather less important aspects of this problem." And then the faculty would say, "Well, obviously one can see that," with huge sarcasm going on, you see. Nothing about, "Let's all try to learn together."

PR: Who would be on the jury? Do you remember?

DSB: Well, let me tell you a little bit about that. We wouldn't play that game, but the students who were even the Brutalists (and they called themselves "goths," and "gothic" was everything bad and everything good). So, the fellow goths did the same thing to each other. One day I had a crit from an old man, who I didn't know, and it was very damning of my project, and totally uplifting, and very educational. I wanted to go on and do better after that, unlike some of these terrible gamesmanship crits that went on. It turned out to be Ove Arup. They later had some lectures from him, and he was wonderful, too. He never finished a sentence. [laughs] Everything was left up in the air -- we'd go on to something else. But he really helped you get insight into what the issues were. So that was very exciting. Ove Arup also gave consulting services to AA students. So I made an appointment and went and interviewed a nice young South African engineer, not too very much older than me, at Ove Arup to get help with the basic structure for my office building. And that was Jack Zunz, South African, who now is the head of Arup. He and I remembered it when we met again. I said, "You used to wear a green sweater." He said, "I remember that green sweater." So we got that kind of help, and we had marvelous lectures from Felix Samuely on structures. He was wonderful. And again, I learned a great deal from him and from Arthur Korn.

PR: Did Arup and Samuely stress structures?

DSB: They taught architects how to think about structure, in an architectural way. They kind of taught them the essence, so that you got a feeling. We had to be able to do calculations, but we also needed to have more than that. Samuely would talk to us about the fact that windows placed in front of a structure might be a very good way to clad a structure, and that glass was a very good cladding. Well, that was 1952, so of course, it brought out a rash of glass-clad buildings from AA students for that office building, shortly before the Lever Building did the same thing. So, it's sort of interesting. My building looked rather like the Lever Building, but I hadn't seen the Lever Building either, but I had heard Samuely talking. I think Samuely may have --

PR: Seen it.

DSB: Yes. I can't remember who else was on juries. Lots of different people.

PR: Was the AA considered the most progressive architecture school, at the time?

DSB: Yes. We at the AA were very scornful of Cambridge. We felt them sort of weak and wimpy.

PR: Other than the history classes and the design classes, were there classes in planning?

DSB: Yes. Max Locke gave us classes in urban planning. Now, there was this funny guy in our group called Peter Land. He now teaches at IIT, I believe. And he had become a quantity surveyor before he went into architecture school. As, by the way, had Donald Appleyard, who used to teach at MIT. He and I were the first people to -- he was the first person I had lunch with at the AA the day I went to register there, and he was also registering. So, there's all these people with their subsequent careers all over. The other funny thing is that Adele Santos, who was at Kingsmead, was also at the AA, but she was always four years or so behind me, so I never met her until I came here. Peter Land knew everything there was to know about early Modern architecture. At this point, they were going to Paris and looking at every Le Corbusier house they could find. Donald Appleyard went to Holland and worked for Bakema and made a survey of early de Stijl work. So this was an exciting time. Peter Smithson later described it as "catching a whiff of the powder" of the Modern movement -- the early Modern movement. But Peter Land was a main resource for the Constructivists and the International Style, which, of course, we wouldn't call International Style then -- the de Stijl people. If you hadn't heard of Ove Bang, how could you not of heard of the greatest architect in the world? If you had heard of Ove Bang, someone else would be the greatest architect in the world -- someone else you hadn't heard of. So a lot of one-up-manship in that. So that was a kind of excited atmosphere -- a little bit force fed. And behind it, was a lot of very insecure people -- I wasn't the only one -- finding a way to find certainty. And we found it by becoming radicals for the early Modern movement. But already there was a critique building up of Modern style urbanism, based on the fact that the CIAM -- that the Athens Charter was too over-simplified, and you've heard that whole critique. It was later codified and written down by the Brutalists.

PR: Before we go in that direction, I wanted to ask you -- there was great interest in the early Moderns. What about America?

DSB: Okay. Let me tell you about that. America was the evil home of capitalism, you see.

PR: Of course.

DSB: And all the Americans wanted to do, and I quote Peter Land, was "Build swish spaces." [laughs] That's the way they put it. You wouldn't go there. I mean, it's ridiculous. Their view of architecture was just so formalist and even worse than the Architectural Review, which was sickly formalist. It's townscape had nothing to do with functions of buildings; only to do with aesthetics, and it was soft in the head, and the Americans were even worse.

PR: Even with the fact that Gropius was here, and Mies?

DSB: Well, you see, Le Corbusier was the idol, and Americans had gone back on that early stuff. They weren't thinking about the early stuff anymore. Those people had also gone soft in the head. Then, all of a sudden, in the middle of all this, Peter Land gets a scholarship to America. So now he has to kind of cut and fill. Well, of course, he's not going to learn anything about architecture. He's going to see industry and the industrial revolution. We helped Peter Land finish his thesis so he could get going quickly; it was a fantastic -- it was a Constructivist concert hall. And he did half a building, and then printed in reverse, the other half. It was totally symmetrical, à la certain Russian early Moderns. And it had great pylons of concrete with corbels sticking out on which were busts of the old masters going down it. Because, at that stage, Peter was at the Royal Academy, that's how he got his scholarship. We had to do this thing in Indian ink -- no, Chinese ink, with Chinese washes.

PR: Traditional material.

DSB: Yes. So we had to do all that, and finish it off for him, and send it so that he could go. But he had already left for America. Now, there was this whole vocabulary. They didn't say "marvelous." They said "morevelous." Gothic meant something terrible and something wonderful, and I can't remember -- "terrific" was a good word. Something good was "terrific." David Witham was another member of this group, and he was amused by all of this. He was a very scholarly type. Last I heard, he was working for the Oxford City Department of Architecture, I think. He'd been at Cambridge, and come to the AA. So, we got letters from Peter Land from America, talking about how he had travelled at eighty miles an hour in a steel and glass Cadillac, eighty feet up in the air. Now, I decided he must have been on the Pulaski Skyway. [laughs] But then, he added "morevelous." So they went there with this kind of industrial romanticism, that was very much part of this movement. I mean, they loved Garnier, and all of that stuff. What's the other guy's name? The one with the double barreled Spanish name, who does all those fantasy cities -- futurist cities? I'm getting old, and therefore, I don't remember names.

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: Was that with the intention to go back to Africa?

DSB: Yes. Probably. Although I thought we knew more about tropical architecture than they knew. It was funny, studying it in the middle of a snowy London, also. [laughs] I've always been very scornful of how the English built in Africa. They don't know how to detail for that kind of climate. The English don't know how to detail. They take details out of books. I still feel that, now that we're working there again. But going on, at the end of that semester when I turned my thesis in -- and the people at the AA were pretty mad that I had joined the Brutalists or the Brutalist students, and that we'd done the thesis so quickly, and the thesis was rather sort of pooh-poohed. Ingenious idea, but why build the whole thing like that? Why do you make it look so funny? It looked very cubist. I went to Israel, and travelled around in Israel, and met Robert Scott Brown, who was on his way coming to England. We met in Israel. And we toured Israel together. Before I met him -- I spent longer than he did there -- I went to visit my grandfather's sister in a place called Gedera, which is in the South. I went around by bus. I stayed with other cousins in Tel Aviv, and it was a very wonderful experience, and, of course, Tel Aviv looks like Bauhaus. Most of it is kind of cubist. The same architects who learned in the Bauhaus and learned in Germany, went there, and they produced this quite cubist city. Of course, you're not meant to like Tel Aviv, but I liked that very much. And I stayed with cousins, and they put me on a bus to go to Gedera. There are funny things in Israel. People help you find where you have to go next, and the bus driver would say, "Follow him," and whoever the "him" was, he'd get a lift, so I'd get a lift. I'd end up by stages, where I was meant to be. I got out of the bus at Gedera, and I had to find out where my cousin's house was. And there was an old man walking up the hill -- quite old. And I had had this problem of people not understanding. I mean, you'd meet people who asked you if you spoke Yiddish, Bulgarian, Romanian or Russian. They don't have English or German. So, here was this old man there. So I went and said to him in very simple language, "Speak English?" And he said, "Yes." And then I asked him in pigeon English, how to find the house of Ari Ben Geffen, and he answered me in broad Scots. He was a visiting surgeon staying with my uncle. [laughs] My great aunt and my uncle had been students together in Leipzig. She of music, and he of medicine. And after World War I, they left and went to Israel. And he became a specialist in asthma -- in allergies -- and he more or less built the town of Gedera himself, with his own hands. And he made of it a place for people with asthma to come and get a cure, because of the very clear air there, way out in the desert, you see. So, he'd wished he'd been an architect, and he built his own house. And this house, built all [unclear] of mud, and large and rambling, with their German grand piano in it. Again, like my mother in Africa. And so beautiful. Just very beautiful. This aunt and uncle -- very elderly -- who were very sympatico. The first thing he said is, "Decide to stay here right now, and then your family will come and stay, too." I said, "No. I'm not going to do that." They were very disappointed. The next thing is he gave me a book of the city planning of Hilbersheimer, and that's the first time I saw those little plans like the ones we'd been doing. So, it was fascinating spending this time with them, and I wouldn't have missed that side of things. And, of course, they spoke wonderful English. So, it was just -- to me, as an architect, I can go anywhere in the world, and I'll meet another architect, and have a place to talk and stay. And as a Jew, I can do the same thing. It's always been very important to me to feel that I can make these connections, one place and another. I have an enormous sense of loyalty to Philadelphia, to Africa, to various other places like England, Israel, to my students -- so many, not dual loyalties, but multiple loyalties. And I wouldn't be without that. I like the feeling of connections being possible through professional or other methods across nations that way. Anyway, then I met Robert, and we went on our travels together through Israel. Every time people learned that he wasn't Jewish, they were amazed. What was he doing there?

PR: Did that endear him to people or make them suspicious?

DSB: No, it sort of fascinated them. And then, of course, there was another thing. Although Robert had never had any connection with any of that, his great-grandparents, Wolf, had eloped from Germany and settled in England, and had two sons, Arthur and Lucien. [end of side one, tape two] In fact, they had more. They had another son, who was called Chudley or Dudley. We don't know which. Arthur and Chudley/Dudley toured America as young men, in something like the 1880s. And Chudley/Dudley stayed. And I had seen photographs of him in a World War I uniform, and they had an address for him in America, care of Morgan Bank. Since that, he's disappeared. We don't know where he is, but we have a feeling he may have lived in Philadelphia. Arthur Wolf came back and emigrated to Africa, stopped being Jewish, married a beautiful woman from Natal, and lived and worked as an accountant in a mine in Rustenberg, and very much mesmerized his young daughter, Cecilia, who was Robert's mother. Cecilia grew up on a farm, and she rode everywhere, like my mother. She loved her father very, very much. She didn't get on so well with her mother. I think the mother and father had some troubles, too. Later, when I met Robert's grandmother, she said, Arthur never told her that he was Jewish. Later, when I met -- Cecilia's mother's name was Louise. I met Louise's sister-in-law, which is a very fabulous story, in London. She said, "I've heard that. It's just not true. Louise made that up." Anyway, Louise was a great beauty when I met her, and very anti-semitic, and didn't want me to marry Robert any more than Robert's father did. He said it would be an unconscionable sacrifice to the other's religion -- whichever one the child became. Anyway, moving all that aside, one night we took a bus, and we arrived in this little town called Nahariya. I'm talking still about being in Israel. I should tell you one other thing about Robert's family. Lucien Wolf stayed in London and became a journalist, and became very famous. He became a famous professional English Jew. There are still the Lucien Wolf memorial lectures given, and you find him in any Jewish encyclopedia. He was called the Jewish Foreign Minister. And if there was a report of a pogrom in Russia, Lucien would be sent by the British government to go and see what it was like -- what had happened. And he'd usually come back saying there hadn't been one. I'll tell you more about that when I get back to London. So there was this Uncle Lucien -- great Uncle Lucien, who was sitting in the background, who had been this other kind of Jew. And Robert didn't know much about him, and Cecilia didn't tell us too much, although she told us that she loved her father very, very much and sympathized more with him than with her mother, and felt that the Jewish side of her family was very important to her. Anyway, Robert and I -- he stayed in a hotel, while I stayed with my cousins, and he'd have his breakfast on the main street in Tel Aviv, out there with everyone else, on a sidewalk cafe, drinking coffee and eating cheesecake. There children did homework, and people read the newspaper, and all of that. And down the street was an old man selling mineral water sodas in the summer and hot dogs, or some kind of thing like that, probably felafel, in the winter. And I said, "You can bet he's a lawyer from Berlin," and he was. He's famous, that old man. And very often people -- refugees -- had these whole changed lives. So we got off the bus in Nahariya, which is a German settlement, and you see these little girls with their long blonde braids and their white high socks, riding bicycles. And they all talk about, "It's such a pity that the Yemenites are coming." If they had been in Germany, they'd be saying, "It's a pity the Jews are coming." But absolutely a little German community like that. So we said to the bus driver, "We want to go and camp on the beach." He said, "You have all these wonderful hotels in Nahariya. Why do you want to camp on the beach?" And once we finally convinced him that was what we really wanted to do, he said, "Look. I have a little bit of a pine forest at the bottom of my yard. You can come and camp there." So we went home to his house, and he was a lawyer from Berlin, and his wife was, again, a German lady with her hair like this, and she had been going to medical school, and her parents had to flee, and it broke her heart that she couldn't go to medical school. She went to Israel, and they had five kids -- five very sturdy kids -- and she said, "Look. I could never have done that in Germany. And we could do this in Israel." They were kind of anti-Zionist, as was Lucien Wolf, by the way. And they liked reading the English newspapers, and they were critical of Israel, and that's one of the first times I heard that kind of Jewish criticism of Israel. I also heard it from Americans who were hitchhiking with me in Israel, about treatment of the Arabs, which is now the Peace Now Movement. You're hearing more about that in the press just now in America. But that very strong strain of kind of wanting another way of relating, and not seeing the British as terrible, as my family did. Because what the British did there was very much criticized by my family. But going on from there, that was the first time I was in Israel. At a later time, in 1955, I went back, on the way home to tell my parents Robert and I wanted to get married. And I stayed in Israel, and I stayed with them again, but this time in their house. And I saw a picture of an International Style house on their wall, and I said, "Oh!" She said, "That was my parents' house." And it was called something like "House F" in Stuttgart, and it was one of the famous early Modern houses, from one of those exhibitions -- international exhibitions.

PR: Like the Weissenhof Siedlung?

DSB: Yes. And she was very, very thrilled that I could tell her children how important that house was. And then she had old German books of architecture, where a lot of stuff written by [Adolf] Loos, and Loos wrote little parables in German, and I could read through Afrikaans enough German to read some of those, and they were absolutely charming. And she had those, and that was my reading while I was staying with them. So, everything gets all mixed up between life and architecture and the Bauhaus. By the way, in South Africa, we had two friends, and she was from the Bauhaus or around the Bauhaus. One of the things she told me was that at a student party at the Bauhaus, she once danced with Jean Arp. And she was kind of a physical -- she was a sort of exercise teacher. Again, these very health-oriented things that went with that whole movement in Germany of the '20s. And her husband was an artist, and they fled Hitler's Germany, as did many others who ended up in South Africa.

PR: I forget the chronology. Was Eric Mendelsohn in Israel at the time?

DSB: No. I don't believe he was. We did go and see a Mendelsohn building, but I don't think he was there at the time. We didn't think much of the Mendelsohn building, because it was too Art Moderne -- too Art Deco -- and not Modern architecture enough. Now, at that stage, those differences seemed very, very big. It was terrible to go over the edge into Art Moderne, as we called it then. So, Robert then -- he had a little scholarship to go and do a study of the latest German building techniques on his way to England, so he stopped in Germany. And he had been having German lessons. By the time he finished in Germany, he could speak German. I have some talent for languages. He had even more. And he really taught himself German over a period of just a few weeks. And I learned a lot more German from his German later. So he went, and I went back home and -- let me see. I went back home, and I started getting ready for the next semester, and for going to this Tropical School. And then I really was suffering fits of depression, because Robert didn't know what was happening to him, and he didn't know what he was going to do next. And he was feeling very kind of vulnerable, and not at all sure about what he wanted from me. So I didn't know if I had a love affair going, or I'd lost a boyfriend, or what. And I was very down in the dumps there. At that point, again Arthur Korn came to my rescue. By the way, Arthur Korn and I had been having coffee together once a week, and I'd been talking about the need for structure in my life, and he'd been talking about the Bauhaus, and the November Group. He was pretty inspiring for me. And I think there was something about me -- he needed it, too. So, I think it was a mutual therapy session between an old man and a very young woman. By the way, I went to see his daughter when I was in Israel, too. Like many Austrians and Germans, he was very much assimilated, although he had a daughter in Israel.

PR: The Tropical School -- was that part of the AA, or separate?

DSB: Yes. It was the first year it was run, and it was organized by Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew. The next year, I think, Otto Konigsberger came to run it, but that year they ran it, helped by someone who's name I can't remember. It wasn't very good, but it was interesting, and I think it probably improved later.

PR: They had just come from Chandigarh?

DSB: Yes. But they also did a lot of building in Africa. And then when Robert came, he said, "Let me just go into a little corner. I can't meet all these smart friends of yours, and I'm scared of this whole thing, and just let me find my way into a little office and work." So, I got Arthur Korn to tea, and Arthur Korn bewitched Robert the same way. Arthur said a marvelous thing to me. He said, "You have been very, very lucky in everything that you've had" -- which, of course, was the point that Kingsmead kept making -- you know, the duty of privilege. Very elitist stuff, you'd say now. Very class based stuff. But very important --

PR: The Anglican heritage.

DSB: Yes. Very important, nevertheless, to my way of thinking, when we had these Africans there who had nothing, and here we were, rich children. We had everything. The school used to have little African children from a nursery school come to visit, and we prepared little school boxes for them with tablets in them, and writing paper and stuff, and we gave each one a gift. And we'd also made a little hand-made little apron for each one. So it was sort of noblesse oblige, in a very big way, but very heartbreaking for us, to see these differences. And the school wanted it to be, leaving you with the feeling you have to help. So when Arthur Korn said that, he said, "Don't think about teaching as, can you do it? Think about it as, you have a duty to pass on what you got." And that helped me a whole lot when I started teaching. He charmed Robert in the same way, and they got a little scholarship for Robert, and he went into the -- because Robert's father being a Scotsman, thought he wasn't going to spoil his son. He'd spoiled him enough sending him to this expensive school, and now he had to fend for himself. And later, Robert's father said to me, "I don't want your father to pay for him, either." So, Robert was quite bitter about his father. He thought he hadn't been -- not for that reason -- he thought his father shouldn't have brought up, "I worked hard for you to send you to this school." He said, "I'll never take any more money from him." Anyway, Robert settled down in a room not far from my room. We were proper young people, and we didn't share rooms in those days, although around the AA, there was a very different lifestyle going on.

PR: Much looser?

DSB: Much looser than we two colonials. [laughs] And I helped him get settled in. And with much fear and trembling, Robert came to the AA and went to the Tropical School with me. And a week later I had to laugh, seeing him sitting there, helping other people with their designs. He'd forgotten the whole thing, and he joined this Brutalist group of mine, and he loved them for their socialist rhetoric, which was against his father, you see. So, he was well winkled into that whole thing, and they loved him. And Brian Smith, like this, [snaps fingers] dropped me and started to be interested in my sister. And then my sister came into the school, as well. That's my sister, Ruth. I had gone away to England to be myself, and escape from my family. In 1953 my family joined me, and they lived in England for a year. And my friends loved my parents, and my father was so interesting. They said, "Is your father an architect?" I said, "No." By that time, my father was a developer. He had been building office buildings. And so my friends were very, very interested in my father. Interested in how he talked about architecture, you see. They didn't know he was a developer. He certainly wasn't working in England. But it was just from that point of view. The historian Nikolaus Pevsner went to South Africa. And when he came back, he made it a point to have some of the South African students at the AA to dinner, to make up for the hospitality he had. So I met Pevsner. I had Pevsner for dinner with my parents when they were there. And my father spent all evening impressing Pevsner; not the other way around, which was amusing.

PR: So, your father was a developer in England?

DSB: No. In South Africa, in Johannesburg. He has what I call -- you used to say green fingers in South Africa; we say green thumbs here -- green thumbs for urban growth, the way you would have for a garden. He has a sort of intuitive sense about where areas will develop -- where property values will increase, and things like that. So, he's been pretty creative in what he did as a developer. He kind of sensed that a whole area would become a new financial district in Johannesburg, and he built several office buildings there. But he started after I had already started being an architecture student. He would never employ me because I was a woman. My father's attitudes were very, very sexist until just a few years ago. He's changed now, but too late for me, in a way.

PR: And your sister, you said, joined.

DSB: Went to the AA, and right into my group, and I was very bitter about that, because I had made something my own, and here my younger sister followed me just once more.

PR: Did she continue to practice?

DSB: She never quite finished at the AA. She wrote a lot for Architectural Design. You'll see articles by Ruth Lakofski in there. She and Robin set up a household many, many years ago.

PR: This is Robin Middleton?

DSB: Yes. So that when I had been very, very fond of Robin, she was, too. And in a way, you could say, in the end, she got him. But it never was quite as simple as that, either, because I became very fond of Robert. It's funny how these themes go through. But Robin is now teaching at Columbia, and my sister is now living in Woodstock, New York. So he commutes from there. But this is just over the last -- less than a year. About a year, I think. At that point, we started asking Peter Smithson -- if you were a bright, young architect and a Brutalist at that stage, you were interested in something called "town planning." The same way as Le Corbusier designed little buildings and big cities. The little buildings were what he could get from loving relatives. And the big cities were his dreams. So Peter Smithson said, "It's no use studying town planning in London, because that's a very, very pedestrian school. You should go to America. And the only place to go is where Lou Kahn is." I must tell you one other thing. When Robert and I got to London, I looked up the name Lucien Wolf in the phone book, and I found a name Lucien Wolf. I thought, "This is incredible." So, I phoned the number, and I got a very old lady on the phone, and I said, "Could I please speak with Lucien Wolf?" Now, we knew Lucien was dead. So, I said, "I called this number because I found it in the book" -- and I think by that time, Robert and I were married, but I'll tell you about that. I said, "My husband is the nephew of Lucien Wolf." She said, "Well, I'm his wife." She had married him, and he was twenty years older -- she was his second wife -- when he was blind. He never saw her until twenty years later, or something, when suddenly they could do an operation for his eyes. We started visiting Margaret Wolf, and she would give us a Friday evening dinner of the kind she would have cooked for her husband. And the history that opened to me, through this woman, was unbelievable, because he'd been into everything. He'd written a life of Lord Ripon. He wrote a lot for the English journals. He knew London intimately. Even when blind, he'd take her walking, and say, "If we stop here and you look up here, there's a piece of a cornice on this building that you should notice," without seeing it himself. He was a great dandy with his cane and his lavender gloves and his top hat. She said she went with him to Russia to investigate pogroms. And the Jewish people from the ghetto couldn't believe this dandy, who was supposed to be Jewish. She described the rabble -- tattered rabble, people like my family -- that would follow him from the ghetto to the main hotel in the town, and then stay peaking through the windows at him, sort of dirty and unkept. And those are the ones that he would find would not have been persecuted as they had claimed they had been. He was also anti-Zionist. I think he didn't like Jews very much. He had this bad eyesight, and he used to say, when the gentleman from the Jewish organizations came to visit, he'd say to his wife, "Please protect me from the shining reflection of their diamond rings in my eyes." [laughs] So it was sort of a funny picture of Lucien that we learned. But she said she knew Masaryck, and she knew he wouldn't have committed suicide. He had been very much involved with the minorities clauses of the League of Nations documents. So, it was fascinating to get this view into history. Anyway, at the end of the tropical course, Robert and I were married in London. We had to get married in a registry office because my parents said, "Don't try to be married in either religion." I went home, and I saw my parents, and they said, "Look. Enough already. Either you marry him or you leave him." He had said to me, "I suppose if you're going home, you better ask if we can get married." He was still up and down, "I don't know what my future is. I don't know what is going to happen." My dad said, "Enough already. If he's still feeling that, say, maybe he's right." Then I went and saw his father, and his father said, "I hope both of you will think better of this. You're both too young, anyway." His grandmother said similar things to that. And then the great sadness was, when he was killed, that was what brought his father around. And he suddenly changed, and he became much softer and much more warm. But he had to lose a son before he learned to be a human being, which is very sad. Of course, he had a leg missing.

PR: The father?

DSB: Yes. He'd had polio as a child. He walked with crutches and a prosthesis. And he'd had to struggle for everything he got. He left Scotland as a young man, and was articled to an uncle in South Africa. So, later, his sister, who was very sweet to us in England, explained to me why he was like that. He just felt he had to go out and fight and fight and fight to get what he wanted, and that's what he was doing with me. So, Robert and I married, and then lived in London. I worked for Ernö Goldfinger, and he worked for Austin Smith. We were within walking distance of each other.

PR: Who is Ernö Goldfinger?

DSB: Ernö Goldfinger was a famous early Modern architect, and he was the place to try to work, if you were a young Brutalist in London. I worked for him for six months. And then I couldn't stand it any longer, and it took me three months to recover.

PR: What was so awful about it?

DSB: He was a bully. He had only young architects in his office, because older architects wouldn't take what he gave out. I said, "Any resemblance to a human being is purely superficial." I was working on the Ablemarle Street office building of his, and the person behind me left because they couldn't stand it any longer. We were an office of seven people, but I think ten people came and went in that six months.

PR: Were you the only woman?

DSB: No. There was another woman. There was the famous story of Ernö walking into the office, and being in one of his temper tantrums, and stamping his foot, and shouting and crying, "The idiot has manufactured white paper." That means they have erased something they shouldn't have erased. A person who had been recently hired came in for the first time, and he walked in, took off his coat, Ernö came in and looked at him, and said, "And who the hell are you?" The guy put on his coat and walked out again. So ten minutes was the shortest time someone stayed in Ernö's office. [laughs]

PR: Did he get paid? [laughs]

DSB: I was kept at a miserable wage, and when I asked for a raise, he said, "For the extra two pounds a week you are asking for, I'm giving you an education." So when he told me that I could then be put on a permanent basis -- I wasn't on a probationary status anymore -- I said, "I don't want to be, thank you."

PR: And that's when you left him?

DSB: No. Then he knew that I wasn't going to take it, and he became a bit politer. The first time I stamped my foot back, he sort of crumbled and became polite. But then it just became two stamping matches, instead of one. And it was very, very debilitating. The worst of all was when someone else got it, and you were there. You felt so degraded for them. There was this wonderful time when he got me to detail a container for -- he said, "You children don't know what functionalism is," because he called students children. "Functionalism is not that style over there. It's knowing how this boiler works. Now, you have to know the exact size of this boiler." He was right, of course. It's not something a young architect wants to learn. So then I had to find out the capacity of the boiler. I once had to detail for him the knuckles and the joints of every pipe that went through a chase in the wall, and the covers of all the chases, all the way through an office building. From the roof to the ground floor. And the engineer said to me, "Why does he do this? The plumber is going to do it his own way." He wanted them to be minimally small. It took me two weeks to do it, and Ernö never forgave me for taking so long. He bullied me on that. But to have to learn how to draw every knuckle of every pipe, as it goes down . . . . So, this time he'd given me to detail, the concrete upstand around an oil tank, because the code required that the size of the upstand be high enough so that the oil coming out wouldn't spill all over -- it wouldn't flood. It would contain the oil. I had to work out the capacity of the tank, work out the volume of the oil, and then do the upstand the right height. Well, he did it to come out twelve inches. Now, this is a basement, and no one's going to see it. But this functionalist has to have it perfect in the basement. So, I did the arithmetic to come out to twenty-four inches, and not his twelve. So, he says, "You students from AA -- you can't do anything. What's eight times twelve?" "Ninety-six." He'd say, "Oh." [laughs] So that became a legend. Then there was another one. I used to say on the phone, "E, R, N for nose, O," which Ernö didn't like any too much, to tell them how to spell it. But he used to pick up the phone and say, "Here, Goldfinger." Well, one of the wags in the office -- we did things to make our lives bearable -- when Ernö was out, he used to pick up the phone and say, "Here, Goldfinger," mimicking Erno's heavy accent. Well, there was one time when there was a long, long pause, and from the other side came, "You are fired! Here, Goldfinger." [laughs] I once met -- I think it was Bob Gorman -- on a cold, windy day in Philadelphia, on the street, outside the women's dorms at Penn. And we got talking together about Ernö Goldfinger, swapping these stories, because we both worked for him. It took us an hour to get through them.

PR: Bob Gorman is who?

DSB: He's an architect.

PR: In Philadelphia?

DSB: I don't know where he is now.

PR: Was he at Penn then?

DSB: Yes. Anyway, after six months, I couldn't stand it, and I then went to work for Dennis Clarke Hall. And that was very nice, and he was a real gentleman, and he had his office in Mason's yard. Ernö used to specialize in bullying young architects on the site. I had to take notes, and I then had to dictate the notes to make the minutes of the meeting. He taught me how to do minutes of job meetings, which was good. I was very, very scared to be doing that sort of supervisory level for a building going up. And the worst of it was Ernö would shout at me in front of all the builders, which was very mean. And in front of the engineers, too. I didn't really dare say a word. On top of all that, one of the big scaffolds -- because it was a bomb site, and they had to protect the buildings opposite as they were building -- had chalked on it "Big Balls," and I found this very embarrassing as a young woman architect. I've since had to learn to deal with things like that. Then the foreman started coming up to the office, which was walking distance, to ask questions. And I realized I could read plans better than he could, and that helped me no end. Like, I had to check the engineer's drawings, and I was very scared when I had to do that, because of the way Ernö would shout. But I discovered quite a few places where the engineer's and the architect's drawings didn't align. Ernö said, "Do you mean there's a mistake here?" I was very careful. I said, "I'm not sure if it's a mistake. All I can say is that this drawing and that drawing aren't aligned. The location of the beam isn't in the same place on the two plans." And he began to get more respect for me, because I could spot things like that. I was very thorough in things like that. But for all that, I left. And as I said, I had a nice time working for Dennis Clarke Hall. We were able to design a little building -- a series of little houses -- and Robert worked with me evenings on that. And they were built. But I think they were changed. I think the nice plan didn't ever happen, because it had changes of levels, which they felt the public housing people couldn't negotiate. Mothers with children. And I wish I could remember. It was called something like Dark Hill or Clouds Hill -- or something or other Hill Housing. And I've never seen it illustrated. I've always wanted to try to find it.

PR: What was Hall's practice, in general? Was it housing?

DSB: At that time, it was a lot of housing. And I think some schools, too, if I'm not mistaken. It was a whole different atmosphere there. It was more like the atmosphere at Frederick Gibberd's office, which I enjoyed, too, very much.

PR: Was it a small office?

DSB: It probably had about twenty people, but I'm not sure. It's very vague in my memory now. There was a guy called David Duprees there, who we became friends with.

PR: How long did you stay there, at Hall's office?

DSB: I was only there for a few months. Robert and I had married, and we'd hitchhiked in Yugoslavia for our honeymoon. And that was another amazing and fantastic experience. And we discovered all of this early modern housing in Lubliana and in Belgrade. And, I think also, some in Zagreb. We also visited the sister of Yugoslavian refugee friends of ours in South Africa. One of those very mixed groups of refugees we'd known sent us to their sister. And to see this former ruling family living in the palace, but occupying three rooms and a corridor of the former palace, and the whole population being moved in with them, was very grueling. It was very sad and very interesting to see the ancien regime and how it was living there. And then to meet people who had been in America twenty-six years before, who just remembered a little bit of American slang. They used words like "bygosh" as one word. "Goddammit" as a sort of inter-leaf of language. We met a man in -- I can't remember which little town. We were looking at monasteries. It was fantastic -- Yugoslavian monasteries, with frescoes -- Medieval monasteries. But, of course, the whole peasant culture was just amazing. The whole architecture and urbanism there was fabulous. There was a man who came and met us. I think it was a town called Pristina. And he spoke English. He had a photograph of himself with the Hollywood Hot Spots, I think the group was called. And there, indubitably, was Matt Jordon. And three or four rows away, and a little bit to the right, indubitably was Charlie Chaplin. It was just incredible. And he had this strange language, and he'd gone back a rich man. And then the communists came, whom he called Jews, by the way. Communists were all Jews. There was a man sitting in the cafe. The cafe had stencils done with a roller. You had stencils, which are rollers, where only the raised part prints. Well, they covered the architecture -- all these stencils over pipes and beams and everything. And there was this old man, completely dressed in furs. He looked what I would now say like Davey Crockett. And he was sitting there, and Matt Jordan pointed and he said, "He was in Detroit twenty-six years ago." He said, "Speak English, Goddammit!" The man looked up, and he said, "I fergit." That's all he could say. So, we came back from Yugoslavia, and I went to Ernö, and Robert went to Austin-Smith. And then I went to Dennis Clarke Hall. And after a few months, we picked up, and we had bought a Morgan -- a three-wheeler. That's the other thing. The other part of our lives. I'd seen this car and adored it, and finally I found someone in one, and I said, "How do you find one?" And they told me, and they said, "There's a Morgan Club that meets." So, apart from having dinner with Margaret Wolf, we'd go once a month to the Morgan Club. Now, our Morgan was a wonderful sports car, with one wheel at the back, and two in the front. But a Ford ten motor, so very powerful. They stopped building them after World War II. The first ones had a motorcycle engine on the front -- a V-twin engine, exposed. And they were really Constructivist cars. As Brutalists, we loved these Constructivist cars. Everything was separated. The engine was there, [gesturing] the leg room was here, the gas tank was here, and the space between was left open -- because there was nothing else to put there. So, we bought one of these, and the Morgan Club was not a kind of public school -- in the English sense -- sportsman's club. It was London cockneys. And we had this fantastic view, then, into a whole other way of life. They would visit us and say, "Gee, you've got a lot of books. But you must be very poor because they're all in wooden box crates, built into the wall." And they'd have things like dining room suites. But they couldn't believe that we would buy a jacket at Harrods. They'd buy the same [unclear] and spend much more on clothing. But the clothing they would buy would be very different, and more of it. And much more on furniture. We found them much more sturdy, and kind of less paper-thin and less given to gamesmanship than the people we were meeting at school. Very interesting. I'm very happy that I had that experience.

PR: Let me ask you a couple things that come to mind. First I wanted to ask you about a couple of names of people. For example, Reyner Banham. Was he part of this circle at all.

DSB: Yes. Can I tell you just one more little thing about the Morgan Club?

PR: Oh, sure.

DSB: It just happened two months ago. I went to a design conference at Stanford, and there was Big Daddy Roth, who was famous to us, and who we loved through the Tom Wolfe articles, but there he was in person. And he showed all these beautiful little cars that he had done -- these fantasy cars. And I put my hand up, and I said, "Did you know the Morgan three-wheeler beetle bug, with the 'Jap' V-twin engine exposed on the front?" He said, "I sure did know it." It very much influenced him, obviously. And the man in front of me turned around and looked at me and he said, "Now I've heard everything." [laughs] Which he meant, "How did Denise Scott Brown know to ask questions about that?" It was very funny.

PR: That's wonderful.

DSB: Yes. I know I'm taking a long time --

PR: I was thinking of several things. I was thinking about what I've heard of the situation in England in the early 1950s, and the exhibition that you talked about at the ICA. The English view towards America -- America had everything. It didn't have --

DSB: It didn't have culture.

PR: Right. It didn't have rationing. In other words, it had material goods, and there was a certain fascination with American prosperity -- American material goods. Do you have any sense of that? Do you have any sense of the total inequality?

DSB: The people that I was with despised America, and I think most English people do. Did then, and still do. I think the prejudice against America is huge. And the reason, I think, is jealousy. So, you're scornful because it's sour grapes. Sort of Hobson's choice. But specifically, the people I was with very much admired American industrialism, and that was the kind of wide open, peasant's view of industry that you got at the Bauhaus. It's not lost on anyone that people like Moholy-Nagy came from a peasant culture. Americans were much more wan and skeptical about industry having so much at hand. But the people who didn't have it, romanticized it. So they picked up that Bauhaus romanticism about industry, and so they admired that aspect of America. Le Corbusier said, "In America, the roads are straight," and, "Admire the engineering of the Americans, but don't listen to the architects." They picked up on that, too. Now, Reyner Banham was a young man, incomprehensible, rather uppity, and with a big beard, around the ICA. And that's all I knew of him at that stage. And that he was around the exhibition, The Parallels of Life and Art exhibition.

PR: Was Sigfried Giedion in London at that time?

DSB: Not anywhere in my circle.

PR: You started to talk about being pointed in the direction of the University of Pennsylvania by Peter Smithson.

DSB: Yes.

PR: He said, "If you are interested in planning, this is where you go."

DSB: Yes. Meanwhile, we looked into the draft situation, and no one could tell us that Robert Scott Brown, at the age of twenty-four or so, which is what he was then, would not be drafted if we went with an immigrant's visa. And we decided it was simple to go with an immigrant's visa, and because I was born in Zambia, I could come in on the British quota. As a South African, you'd have to wait four years. Later, it became nine years. They really didn't want South Africans. But I could come in on an open quota in six weeks. But they said, "You would do better not to come until you are twenty-six," to Robert. The last thing he wanted to do -- in England, it was said without irony, "Congratulations. Jolly good luck. You've broken your back and you won't be drafted into the Army." [laughs] To go into the Army, was just the lowest of the low. The way people felt during the Vietnam War here, they felt just after World War II there. Why would you do a thing like that? The jokes -- they weren't about Americans. They were about the British Army. So they said, "Either go to Canada or go to South Africa to wait." So we thought we'd go home. So, we went home, and fortuitously because, of course, that was the last that Robert saw of his parents, because he was killed. But we spent about a year at home.

PR: In Johannesburg?

DSB: Well, first we went and visited Robert's parents and stayed with each (because they were divorced) for quite a long time. And then we came back, and I got a job in one architect's office, and Robert got a job in another architect's office. I was working for an office that was near Robert's. It wasn't a very good job. They did a lot of hospitals, and I got experience in hospital working drawings, which people don't think I have.

PR: This is in South Africa?

DSB: Yes. I feel rather bad about my experience there, because I think I was -- by that time, I was too wowed by everything around me to be able to settle down and work in a very prosaic and pedestrian way on this very prosaic building. So I worked, but I chatted an awful lot, too. And, obviously, my head was somewhere else. I think if I hadn't been about to go somewhere else and all of that, I think they might have remonstrated with me more. I think now that I talked a whole lot too much in the office. But, of course, that was South Africa, and people did -- and the English talked even more. There were people who were terribly late for work, and then they worked over-time and charged double. That sort of thing was rife in England. So, I'd learned nasty English habits, I would say now, looking back on it. But it was lovely being at home. A wonderful thing was seeing my parent's friends as an adult. Because it was sort of "children are seen, and not heard," right until I left for England. You wouldn't dream of having an adult conversation. Now I went back, and I talked to Manfred Marcus about how I would have been a Nazi [if I'd been a German and not a Jew], and I talked to another woman, an Austrian, called Ute Van Esch, saying I would have been a Nazi. She said, "Of course you would." And he told me these stories. And I talked to the [Franjo & Ljuba] Kukuljevics about their experiences in Yugoslavia. This was the --

PR: Connection --

DSB: Yes. And suddenly, we had lots of connections, because I had been in Europe. I talked with another friend of my father's -- a business friend, who had a house in Paris, one in London, one in South Africa, and one in New York. He said, "You are going to hate New York." I thought, "How benighted can he be? I loved London. How could I possibly hate New York?" And then he said to my father, "You know, I have been a little bit interested by these young children of yours," because we were talking again about places of his youth. It was fascinating. I also, going home, saw my family as the thread. I saw what was common. When you live among your own family, they're all different. But then you see what is common, once you've seen something that is so foreign. That was very interesting and intriguing. And it was wonderful to re-assess as an adult. Apart from that, I feel my life has had a huge break. Here I was a child, and here I was an adult. And I didn't have the thing of growing up in my own home and being let into the life of adults in my own family. And in a way I feel I've missed that. Although I made many bridges in many different ways, but then it was on my terms. But we were asked to dinner by people like the [Gert and Irmgard] Brussaus, the ones who had been around the Bauhaus -- separately from my parents. And the art community around them wanted to talk with us. But when I left, I said, "It takes six people to start a school [of thought about architecture], and in Johannesburg, there are three." And what it meant was it is very difficult to find -- I'm not a [end of side two, tape two] Second interview, November 1, 1990

PR: When we left off last week, you had recounted the extraordinary broad range of experiences from your childhood, from your university and college in South Africa, and with your education at the AA in London. And when we left off, you had returned to South Africa, after completing your degree at the School of Tropical Architecture, and you were working in South Africa. You were married to Robert Scott Brown, and you were planning to come to America -- probably to Philadelphia -- and it seemed that you were also in the throes of searching for how to design. You said you were "searching for a school of thought," and that to establish a school of thought, it required at least six people, and in South Africa there were only three." [laughs]

DSB: In Johannesburg at the time, there were only three. Or you could put it another way, that there are certain very strong people who are able to carry their way of thought with them, and wherever they are, achieve a consistency and supply themselves with the background support that they need to develop their ideas. The kind of person I am -- the kind of mind I have -- works best with making connections between things. For that, I need a support system -- an intellectual support system -- of strong people that I can vie with and learn from, and this could be in a good university or in a good office environment. I think I could have found that in South Africa. It would have been much harder for me. I think there are some people who don't need as much support. I was wondering whether Bob needs that kind of support. Maybe not quite in the same way, but he, too, needs an infrastructure for him to do his very best work. And he is able to produce that infrastructure for himself, with the help of a lot of people -- myself included -- so that he can do the part of the work that he feels he does best. Working and living in South Africa -- seeing Johannesburg -- my home -- with new eyes, given my new experience, was a wonderfully exciting thing. I think my questions about design, which were so strong when I left South Africa -- strong enough to send me away, so to speak, began in a very deep way to be answered in England. Partly because of discovering the Brutalists, and their way of thinking. I now had an approach that I thought I agreed with, in essence, though not necessarily in detail. And also, I had the spectacle of students -- very knowledgeable and very involved with -- very eagerly involved with their own work. I think the radical philosophy we found, helped us all -- inadequate as we felt as young people. And viewing the same problem I viewed -- that is the primacy of design, and the difficulty of defining how to do it -- this philosophy helped us all. But I saw people very committed to their ideas. Much too proud of their own work to ever plagiarize. Able to be influenced by other people, but very much they identified their work as their own. And this, I think, helped too. The third aspect that I learned, of viewing the problem of designing and the challenge of designing, was that the more philosophy you have, the more ideas you have in your mind, the more ideas you can bring to bear on a problem, the better you are able to approach the problem of design. And this means architectural ideas, as well as social or philosophical ones. The broader your vocabulary of seen examples, the broader your vocabulary of what you like -- again, the more able you are as an architect to design. And I think the process of teaching architects to design, probably does involve a succession of layering of vocabulary, philosophies, views, excitements, as different design problems are approached. And there is something to be said for making problems successively more complex, although complexity does not necessarily lie in scale. A room for a single human being could be a more complex problem at a certain level, than the design of a neighborhood. Now, Robert and I, in the middle of all this, were trying to find out more about the University of Pennsylvania, and about living in America. It was very difficult to learn anything. That very basic question, would Robert be called into the Army? was impossible to find an answer to. I didn't know then what I know from living in America now, that is the complexities of the answer to this problem -- it seemed so difficult -- so strange -- that no one in the American Embassy could say whether he would be called up or not. And, of course, living in England, the view of my generation in England of war, was the same as the view of the 1960s generation in America. If your back was broken and you got an F on your medical, you were looked upon as very lucky. Now, at the same time, we sent letters to the University of Pennsylvania, and asked them if we could please learn more about the school. In reply, they sent us tear sheets from the catalog. Well, tear sheets are not too easy to understand. It seemed to us that Louis Kahn was teaching in the Planning School. And as I've said before, planning was what you considered if you were an interested and talented architect. We finally found a very outdated catalog in the reading room of the American -- I think there was an American reading room in Johannesburg. It may be attached to the USIA. We looked at that book and saw fees that seemed unbelievable. The fees for education at the University of Johannesburg were, I think, eighty-four pounds a year, which was maybe something like -- at that point -- two hundred and forty dollars. I think the fees in England at the AA were one hundred and twenty pounds a year, which was then something like three hundred and sixty dollars. And the fees at the University of Pennsylvania seemed to be fourteen hundred dollars. There's an irony today in that, but we couldn't imagine how education could be so expensive. Of course, the fees in Johannesburg were very much subsidized by the government, but then, so were they in America. So we had that piece of knowledge. We had the tear sheets. We then began to put in motion the immigration application, and then we came across other funny concepts like, "What is your ethnic origin?" I hadn't heard the word "ethnic." What an innocent I was. But I was a little horrified to find this bastion of freedom asking me questions about race. That was supposed to happen in South Africa, not in America, and here were these questions about ethnic origin. Americans shouldn't care about that, is what I felt. Then, the next thing that happened was, there was an issue of Time magazine -- you must remember that we saw all of the American magazines in South Africa -- and about half the cars were American. The other half were English. I would see English Vogue and American Vogue. I thought the American was slicker, and kind of better for my way of life. I told you about the fawn [Burberry] raincoats and the symbolism of finding people in England who wore fawn raincoats. In South Africa, I was always a blue stocking. In that culture, my interests were looked upon as terribly dowdy, and I was beyond the pale. I was unsexy in the eyes of males there, and I spoke with too English an accent, and I was too educated. It was a very difficult problem for people like me in a developing area. You'll find the same problem black women have in America now, if you read the women's magazines. Women seem to get to be more educated than the males who could be their husbands. And that's a problem in probably many ethnic communities who have a different value for what women will do and what men will do. So it was hard for me to find people who were in sympathy with me, except for a very small group around the University. When I got to England, I found women did wear the same kind of fawn raincoats that I bought in men's stores in South Africa, and felt very un-female for doing it. But also, it seemed to suit my lifestyle. In England, the women wore those, and no one thought they were unfeminine. Then, of course, when I got to America, that was the whole preppy style. I saw the clothes at K-Mart and Brooks Brothers, and that these were rather generally worn in America. I didn't know anything about American college-girl style, but it seemed to be my style when I saw it, which I first did in Rome, with our Fulbright friends there. A South African told me that was American college-girl style. And look, they wore no make-up, either, which again, was looked upon by my father, as very benighted. His sisters had always dressed at the top of fashion. I couldn't get around on those pointy heels for more than forty-five minutes at a time. I don't know how this all got mixed into what I'm saying here, but it's about the future, about what I found in America. I had stopped wearing make-up when Italian film stars did in 1956. But my father didn't notice. But my answer to my father was one a Jewish male could understand: "My husband likes it that way." All this pre-dates what I'm going to find in America about preppy style. The other thing that came out in Time magazine was a little description of a new planning regime that was happening in Philadelphia, that there had been reform government, and there was a new Mayor. At about the same time, there was an article on the Kennedy brothers, by the way, which was interesting, as a family that was going to go far, with Joseph and his sons, etcetera. But the one about Philadelphia mentioned the white noose around the neck of a black city. And again, I thought, "How can they talk in such racist terms in America?" We were meant to be not conscious of race, and here they were in a very unselfconscious way, talking about the fact that there were white suburbs and a black center. And I thought I was going to go somewhere where there was democracy and freedom, unlike South Africa. In South Africa, we were horrified by segregation. We didn't just mention it in -- I hate to coin a phrase -- "black and white terms." [laughs] So, it seemed something rather strange; and then another piece of very strange information, and that was that the American -- what was the first satellite called? Voyager? The Russians had put Sputnik in orbit, and what came out of America was wailing and gnashing of teeth, and publicizing of attempts that failed. And I said to myself, "How can they show themselves in such a weak way? First of all, that they're so upset by the Sputnik. And secondly, they're publishing all their failures." I mention this, because this was my outsider's view of America at the time, and I rather scorned them for doing both things. For getting so upset about it, and then for publicizing the upset. Living in America as an American, many, many years later, I can see that emanating as part of the ethos of the culture, of openness, of everyone being involved in the government, of all having a sense of sharing in policy in some way. But it sounded very strange and rather weak from the outside. America looked ridiculous to me. These were the only emanations that arrived from America, except that my friends said, "It's going to be very cold there," and my mother said, "You could get a fur coat here, and it'll be cheaper than getting one in America." My parents had been in America, and of course, an aunt had lived in America, and knew our cousins there. So there was that connection. Also, my grandparents had gone to America in the 1930s, and they sent us wonderful gifts that I'll never forget. They were kind of funny little things from Coney Island, mainly. Puzzles and toys. That was like magic. All those beautiful, pretty things that came out of America. But also, they got into an automobile accident in America, I almost said motor car accident, which is the way I would have said it. So, I also knew that trouble -- automobile accidents -- came out of America. And as a result of that accident, my grandmother's heart condition became apparent, and she died shortly after she got back. Her death was traumatic for me in ways which are not relevant here, but which certainly colored my picture of America. My grandfather used to tell me about Coney Island, and all these wonderful things. Of course, when I later saw Coney Island, it was passed its prime. The Jewish community that lived around Coney Island, must have been where he was. And I think that same Coney Island, or just a little bit later, is described in that film called "Radio Days," which I've never seen. So, it's funny how something so far away can be so near. And also, there was a time when I was walking early one morning on the main street outside our house, and two Africans went by each other on bicycles, and the one asked the other, "How did the Joe Louis fight go that night?" And, again, it was spectacular that American Negro -- as it was called then -- culture and life, was very important to Black Africans. And to sort of notice it in that way was sort of amusing, too. Then we had to go to the American Embassy and do this very strange thing. Swear that we had never been communists anywhere. Again, what is all this strange stuff about? Why are they so scared of communists? We'd had that also before, when we were in Italy, meeting with American friends, and hearing them talk about communists, and saying, "You've been brainwashed. The same way our German friends were brainwashed. You have a most strange way of thinking about communists." And, of course, the South African government began to use that communist threat in a similar way. How could these Americans make us do such a thing which sounds like White South Africa? "Swear you've never been a communist." Of course I never had been, but I knew people like Arthur Korn, and what have they got against Arthur Korn? So, again, it seemed very weird to me. Well, of course, that was the time of McCarthy.

PR: The Cold War.

DSB: Yes. I hope I talked enough about my experiences in Italy of working in the office of Giuseppe Vaccaro. Did I do that?

PR: Not on this tape. No.

DSB: Did I do it on the last tape?

PR: No. They are not on these sessions.

DSB: Well, I should probably do that.

PR: Okay. When did that take place?

DSB: We left England with our wedding gift money, went to Europe, and we had this three-wheeler Morgan. And we travelled all around Europe in a Morgan, with one wheel behind, with amazing things happening to this Morgan, which brought us into contact with motor mechanics all over, so that I knew the names for various parts of automobiles in French and Italian, that I didn't know in English. We'd spend days under the thing, accompanied by a French motor mechanic, who would then take us to the restaurant where he ate. It was a wonderful insight into another way of life. As the Morgan Club of London cockneys had been in London. There was the time when a policeman in Florence directing traffic, had this amazing surprise when suddenly our car went by. And in a flash of a moment, he swept off his policeman's cape, and he swept it on the ground before us as we went, much like Sir Walter Raleigh with Queen Elizabeth. [laughs] Later, there was an inquiry at the hostel where we were staying, by a film group, who wanted to film us in the Morgan, but they missed us. We would have amazing questions asked us, like "Where did you get this car? Is it amphibious? Did you convert it from a four-wheeler? Would you like to buy an Austin Seven?", which was the final insult, because this car was much faster. It rattled to pieces on the Italian roads. Even the headlights pointed inwards in the end. It had a wooden frame. But people used to challenge us to race them on motorbikes, and of course we could beat them, because we had no differential on the back. We were very light, and we had a one thousand CC engine in the front. The earlier Morgans had this V-twin engine. Did I tell you the story of meeting Big Daddy Roth? I think I did tell you that.

PR: In San Francisco at Berkeley?

DSB: Yes.

PR: Yes. That was captured. It sounds like a lot of fun, this car.

DSB: Well, anyway, it took us -- and we camped, not in camping spots, but we would ask local farmers if we could stay. And they would say, "Yes." And it took us all the way through France that way, and where it broke down, we would leave it with the skilled mechanics, and they'd fix it, and we'd go hitchhike. That happened to us once, I must say. Not more than once. Break-downs happened much more than once. Through the hitchhiking, we managed to do a large loop, and then come back to the little town where they were making us a new crown wheel and worm wheel. We'd already exhausted the pair that the factory had given us, and we had to have yet another one. And they made it out of brass for us. You'd never get that done anywhere except Italy. They'd send us off with a great wave and a smile, once they had done that, and charged us something like twenty dollars for the whole work.

PR: You must have become quite a mechanic yourself.

DSB: There was one point where they said, "Trust the woman to see that," because I had noticed where they were trying very hard to unscrew the gear box and couldn't, that there were a couple more screws than they had noticed. But, yes. Sitting over these things, and manufacturing templates to re-seal the gear box, which was leaking. We'd lose all our oil suddenly, and then all the gears would be mashed up. These were the sorts of things that happened to us. But we got that way to Venice, where we were to join a summer school. And what reminded me of all of this was that we first met our first American friends, there, in Venice. And they were Lou and Liz Sauer. He is an architect. He is now, I believe, in Denver. They are divorced. They had been married three months at the time. She lives in Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia. Hearing him talk, again we heard the strange sort of view of communism, all the fears around being a radical of any sort, that they had, that the English students didn't have to have. The summer school was a month of making a plan for the region of Venice -- the Mestre region -- with Venice in the middle. It was students and young, newly qualified architects from all over the world, and this was great fun for us.

PR: Who was it sponsored by? Was this sponsored by anybody?

DSB: It was sponsored by CIAM -- Congres Internationale d'Architecture Moderne. And it was run by Ernesto Rogers (who was not there that year), Ignazio Gardella (who was), Gino and Nani Valle, and Franco Albini. And various other people came to visit and give talks. And we were to prepare this plan. We broke into a series of groups and spent most of our days in the school of architecture, which was, of course, empty during the summer, working on this. We wanted to work with a couple of Italian communists from Turin, but we really couldn't speak to them enough to work with them. We worked with a couple of Australians, Ian McKay and someone [Donald] Jackson, who are well-known practitioners now in Australia. And Narelle Townsend. And there were some others in our group. I can't remember. There was also a group of assistants -- student assistants who were kind of the elite there. Gabriele Scimemi was one. Piotr Kowalski was another. Donald Appleyard was another. These people were kind of an elite group associated with the faculty, and that didn't help the atmosphere around the place. In a funny way, they adopted Lou Sauer. He became part of them, and he went off leaving Liz, who we liked no end, and who kind of hung out with us. We learned quite a lot from this very newly married, young American from Chicago. It became a very cordial learning environment for us, and everything was said in Italian and English. And when the Italian went on too long, we learned enough to start shouting, "Traduce. Traduce." And by the end, Robert and I spoke a very strange pigeon Italian. And there was one person who understood our Italian. Her name was Maria-Marcella Sorteni. She was an incredibly beautiful, young Venetian. And she was a student of Giuseppe Samona. And she was working in his office. And he was around, as was also [Ludovico] Quaroni, and also some others came up from Rome. Piacentini. An urbanist -- fascist, I learned later. And they all came. And so did [Adriano] Olivetti. He spoke in English, and it was the first time I heard a very funny thing happen. Scimemi was the translator, and after Olivetti spoke in English, he translated him into English. It took thirty seconds for everyone to realize what was happening. But Maria-Marcella got to learn how to speak our pigeon Italian. We would go on trips -- all the students and the faculty together. And it was very nice, and lots of fun. They took us to Chioggia once. And I had been watching her, and I kind of realized that she'd go off every time we went for lunch. And I worked out that she just didn't have the money to eat with us. And something wonderful happened to Robert and me. We, from no visible place, received a check for one hundred pounds, but it was translated into Italian money and we could cash it in an Italian bank. And it had the name on the back. Alvera. Well, I didn't know it, but my father had a friend -- an acquaintance -- who was a Venetian, called Alvera, and he sent us that money. And I found out later how it happened. But now we were in a position that we had little more time without working, and we could spend a little more money. So, when we went to Chioggia, and Maria was caught there with us, I said to Robert, "You should pay for her lunch." So, we found she had eaten terribly little. So we paid for her lunch, and she came up afterwards, and she said, "You, me have made the dinner. Lei mi a fatto la cena." And she shook hands with him, and we became friends. And then, after that, the conference went on its own jolly way. There was this lovely time we had all of our photographs taken with the pigeons on St. Marks Square, and Franco Albini could duck down and pick up a pigeon by his hand, and launch it into the air, which had almost Christ-like connotations, because there's a famous myth or legend of the child -- the Christ child -- taking clay pigeons and launching them in the air. And I wondered if the Italians knew that myth. But they were able to do this thing, because they were very skilled Venetians. In fact, Albini is from Milano. And there was the night that he sat and talked with us into the night about -- as I talked with the Rabbi in Sweden and as we talked in Yugoslavia with other people, way into the night, because we had so much to say and so little time; these travelling meetings always being very high points -- he [Albini] talked about how Modern architecture had been a shining guidance and aspiration for them during the time of fascism. Very, very moving. And he had been lovely with us. Very soft and understanding and interesting in this way. And I found -- Robert had a great big beard. Several artists painted Robert as we traveled -- student artists. He had this great big beard. I once heard someone say -- because I wore very short little shorts, and I was very young, and they said, "Madonna, guarda, l'inglese colla figlia," which meant, "Look at the Englishman with the daughter." [laughs] But, anyway, you could see through that this was a very young man behind this beard, if you weren't Italian. But Albini had done a beautiful picture of Robert, who was sitting at his desk with his hand like this [around his head], and his beard just came around. And somewhere I kept that little sketch, but I've lost it, which is a shame. At the very end, while we were trying to get our drawings presented, they'd keep calling us out for more self-important people to come and pontificate in front of us. So, at the very, very last -- by the way, Bakema came, and we made the presentation to Bakema. Bakema liked Lou Sauer's presentation very much. We had done a great -- Clive Chipkin from Johannesburg was also with us. He was very amusing to the Italians. He talked about "gingering up" the proceedings, and they couldn't find the word to translate ginger, when they described it as "the hot biscuit," [laughs] The whole room roared. So, Clive was looked upon as kind of the clown of the proceedings, but, in fact, he was a very, very serious architect. Very dedicated to social concern and architecture, and extremely knowledgeable about social conditions related to architecture, and for some funny reason, the history of the British raj and the British colonial regimes in South Africa. And always -- never part of the establishment in South Africa, either, but to us, a very interesting architect.

PR: By this time, CIAM had changed its colors a little bit, from the earlier --

DSB: Well, CIAM was just about to be proclaimed a group of outworn journalists by the Smithsons --

PR: Referring to Gideon?

DSB: Gideon and [Josep Luis] Sert and the various others on Team 10 of the 1956 CIAM Conference. I think it had just happened, and the Australians brought us news of it to Venice.

PR: In '52, I think, one of their themes was the pedestrian in the city or --

DSB: Well, all of that was -- [Stanislaus] Von Moos has described that as a later generation of CIAM responding to what later in America was the critique of Modern architecture, that it was much too unitary, and didn't take into account, for example, the private sector building forces. Well, of course, the Smithsons would have looked upon that as selling out, and becoming -- eroding the center of CIAM. So, people like Sert stood for a re-thinking of CIAM, and the Smithsons stood for a murdering of that rethinking, and going back to primitive fundamentals. And Team 10 had already held its first conference when we were at Venice. As I said, the Australians told us about it. But meanwhile, we were there in Venice, designing a linear city for the whole of the Mestre shore.

PR: I was going to ask perhaps -- you were in Venice to study the squares. To study Piazza San Marco --

DSB: Well, you see, there was this funny thing going on. What I've told you about is the life in the squares. I have to get back to some more of that. But what we were doing on our boards -- the same way as Le Corbusier -- was sketching Venice, but talking about -- get rid of Paris. We were going in parallel, loving the city, and photographing it -- I still have our photographs here -- and at the same time, proposing -- not for Venice, we felt Venice should be maintained the way it was -- but proposing for Mestre, a giant linear city, linked by a raised transit system. And we said to them that the transit would go at one hundred kilometers an hour. And there was a kind of a dead silence from the Italians. Someone said, "One hundred kilometers an hour?" We said, "Yes. One hundred kilometers an hour." We were out a bit to shock, and to show that you had to think of modern trends. We were doing what Le Corbusier had done, and the Futurists had done in the '20s. We knew we were doing that. Someone lamely said, "You know, it would take so long to stop between stations. How could you ever reach one hundred kilometers an hour?" [laughs] Which gave me a little bit of pause for thought, but I still said one hundred kilometers an hour. Meanwhile, the Italians were talking about fitting in with context. We said, "How can they be so backward to talk about context when you have to talk about the new age? And what's all this about human scale, where there are many scales which are human?" I think I did say that. Well, we thought that the notion of human scale as being one scale was ridiculous. For example, children are two feet above the ground. Older children are four feet above the ground. Some adults are no more than that, and some adults are six feet above the ground. So, human scale is no one scale, but what's wrong with community scale and national scale? At the level of a railroad station, it was industrial scale. And all of these are human scales, and they're exciting when they're put together. Long before I met Bob Venturi I was saying these things. So, we thought the Italians were kind of backward leaning, and that they were going backwards to a sort of rather soft view of human scale that came out of Sweden, and was grasped by the British at the end of the war. Sweden being one of the few places that had an on-going tradition of building during the war. There was some very beautiful Swedish architecture. Not the kind of over-expressed Swedish influence stuff that hit England and America. But if you take the great University of Aarhus -- very beautiful, kind of Swedish [Danish] regional. Modern, really very lovely. And something I learned there, which became very important later -- all the little faculty houses there -- each one was like a fragment of a building. And before ever again, I met Bob, I was talking about buildings being fragments, and fragments inflecting toward a whole. And the building being that position between organization and dissolution. It doesn't dissolve but it isn't too organized, either. And learning from [Alvar] Aalto and from Sweden, about things like that.

PR: In Italy -- in Venice -- the Italians were saying -- proclaiming -- one should be contextual, and you found that sort of soft?

DSB: Yes. I found that sort of going backwards to kind of the architecture of the Festival of Britain. Being too much pastiche. I was looking for something more direct than that, and something rather shocking.

PR: By the way, what was the AA view of -- the students of the AA view -- how did they view the Festival?

DSB: They thought it was absolutely beyond the pale. Just not serious. In the same way as they have viewed Architectural Review, with its discussion of townscape as being only cosmetic. It isn't that they didn't think granite and brick were wonderful materials -- although they loved the International Style. The early Le Corbusier work in Paris -- which they would never have called International Style, because style is a bad thing -- they loved that. I mean, they loved the hard stone houses of Tremadoc, which was the little town that we visited in Wales. Architectural Review had tried to art it up by making a separation between the car and the sidewalk, when it was all just hard, paved granite. And by planting little trees there. And it shouldn't have had trees. It was meant to be the way it was. So, we looked upon Architectural Review the same way as the Festival of Britain as sort of softening things. Whereas Bob thought Architectural Review was wonderful, because of its view of townscape. So, we thought the Italians were pretty soft in the head, too. We thought Gardella was much too precious. That his architecture was so thin and, actually, sort of rickety, it shook when you -- like his balustrades shook when you held them. But at the final presentation, when we had a discussion after the presentation itself, and all this discussion of our -- people were kind of amused and horrified by our linear city. But I began to work out -- I think I ran the philosophic point of view of that thing, and also -- it was sort of prophetic -- I ran the team, and I ran the presentation. "You do this, you do that, you write this," putting it all together. And it was published. Our scheme was published in Casabella of about 1956-'57 -- the Japanese call their teenagers who wear such wild clothes and have a wild life -- what is looked upon with hostility in America, is looked upon with indulgence and amusement in Japan. They call those kids "unmarried aristocrats." Well, the Italians a bit looked upon us with our scheme, our linear city -- learning from Miljutin -- like that. It's a little nostalgia. They could see why we were doing it. They liked us. They liked our enthusiasm. They liked our rhetoric. Sort of "these are our kids" type of thing. And then at the final presentation -- and that was Gardella and Albini, primarily. Quaroni, too. At the presentation, I said, "There's been something wrong here. You have pulled us out from our important work to hear unimportant people giving over-inflated ideas, spouting for their own benefit, rather than ours." I had quite a rhetoric, which had to be translated. I spoke in French, I think, so that it only had to be translated once. No, I didn't. I spoke in English, but they translated. But Gardella came up afterwards, and you see, he couldn't speak English, so he spoke to us in French. "Vous avez dites une chose poetique." [laughs] They all shook hands as if we had just had a boxing match. So, they were -- and then later, I asked the CIAM people to write a letter of recommendation for us for Penn. And I found a letter of recommendation in my file when I was a faculty member, which I read. And he said marvelous things about us.

PR: Who wrote the letter? Albini?

DSB: No. You see, that's the funny thing. Ernesto Rogers, who never met us, wrote the letter. But obviously Albini --

PR: But he knew your reputation. [laughs]

DSB: Yes. And they said our cultural preparation was fantastic, or whatever, and our ideas. It was a lovely letter, as if he did know us, that came out of that. And then, at the end of the conference, several things happened. We had this hundred pounds, so we could stay another month in Venice. Almost everyone left, but the ones who were left, hung out together, you'd say now. We talked with Quaroni, and he said, "When you get to Rome, come and see us." And then Maria-Marcella started looking after us in gratefulness for -- and she became a lifelong friend, until she died. I was always -- she was so beautiful. She sang us Italian songs. She sang us Venetian songs, and we and the Sauers and Maria, and later her brother, Marco Sorteni, who is now an important -- he and his wife are both journalists for the Corriere de la sera in Milan. There was Marco Sorteni, and Maria-Marcella Sorteni, and Roberto Dri, a young photographer, and Lou and Liz and Robert and me. And we went everywhere together, and we took a lot of photographs.

PR: At this point, Lou Sauer -- he had not attended Penn, at this point.

DSB: No. This was before he went to Penn. We would then develop our photographs. Roberto Dri -- it was very interesting: one of the choices we had to help Roberto Dri make, was should he buy a motor skooter or a sandola? A sandola being a flat bottomed Venetian boat. He decided for the sandola -- a real working class boat. And he took us out in the sandola on the canals, and weaving through the tourist regattas, so that everyone swore at him. He dropped us off at hotels, at the gondola entrance, where again, everyone swore at him, but we had the right. So, we had a marvelous time becoming Venetians. One night, at midnight, we were all in his dark room developing our photographs of Venice. We had these beautiful black and white photographs of architecture and pigeons. We did a lot of sightseeing in Venice following the guidebook, at that stage, too. But we did just a lot of plain living. To make the money go very far, we'd buy bread and a quarter flask of wine, and eat in these little trattoria -- the places where you get the bread and wine. Or sit out and eat at one of those wells in the campo. And then, by the time we got there, we really couldn't afford coffee anymore, so we'd have hot milk, spritzed with that thing -- with the steamer, as Venice got cold. One night we were in this dark room developing photographs -- all of us together. And suddenly, there was a lot of commotion, and loud knocks on the door, a loud adult voice. And Roberto Dri said, "I was hearing ottocentesco, ottocentesco," which means nineteenth century. [laughs] Robert Dri's father would not have women in his son's dark room. So, we had to leave. I said, "We'll show you our passports."

PR: "And we are married."

DSB: Yes. And Maria-Marcella was the sister of Marco, but he just wouldn't tolerate it at all. So he stopped our photography. Which reminds me, also, that we lived in this single room, which was six feet by eight feet, with a double bed in it, on the ground floor. The door opened outward, so there was two feet to walk in the room. It had mosquitos, but there was this cold water in the room next to it. And to have any running water was such a privilege. And this room was five hundred lire a night, in the Signora's house. She lived upstairs. It was opposite the Casa del Foco on that main street, just near the Piazza San Barnaba, which is the street that goes by the Casa del Foco. I knew that route from the school, back to there, and to the Campo San Barnaba, just by heart. It's my part of Venice. I just love that part, and have gone back over and over there. And we used to eat in the little trattoria there. Montine was too expensive for us. We had to find cheaper places when we ate, with the help of Maria. Anyway, the other place where we had the same trouble was -- once a week, with the rest of Venice -- we'd find an albergo diurno and get a nice hot shower. To save money, Robert and I used to try to have the same hot shower, and we'd show them our passports to show we were married. Sometimes they would agree. Sometimes they wouldn't. But that hot shower was just wonderful. And it was getting colder and colder. [end of side one, tape three]

PR: Your winter clothes were in Rome.

DSB: We discovered the -- what's it called? The Strada Nuova, which is the big street that Napoleon pushed through Venice, toward the Piazzale Roma, which is a working-class street, because we were sent there by friends to get ourselves some warm winter jackets. Since then, I've adored that Strada Nuova. Just what you find along its edges. Of course, there are tourists everywhere in Venice, so there'll be tourists there, too. But it's just so interesting and fascinating what's all out on the street from the shops.

PR: Is it a main street in Venice?

DSB: It's a main working-class street. The Merceria [?] is also a main street, and there are many others. But, anyway, we bought there very cheaply, two flannel -- heavy flannel -- blanketing. Checked. Not flannel. Wool blanketting, in black and grey and black and blue -- black and blue for Robert and black and grey for me -- jackets. And our friends called them Marlon Brando's. Our Italian friends. They were like what he wore in that movie called "The Waterfront." So, those kept us warm. And again, they were a piece of conventional clothing that we'd somehow stumbled on. I don't know what they're called in America. Our friends told us they were made from second-hand American blankets, and that might very well be the case. So, we kept warm, and we lived our life in this way in Venice, for a month. And it was just a soul-searing experience. Then we left Venice, sent off by our friends. We had to go and pick up our car, we'd managed to find a very small parking place, which didn't charge us too much. Our car, with its large bundle of camping equipment was there, still. And off we set again. I should point out that --

PR: Did you tour any of Palladio's work?

DSB: We did. We were taken on a tour of Palladian houses, at that stage, and also to Vicenza. And we saw a great deal of that accompanied by Albini and Scimemi and various others. And that was -- it was an important experience. We saw the Villa Capra, but we couldn't see much of it. And it was important in the sense of the atmosphere around those places, in relation to the landscape. There was another -- the Malcontenta for me was that first time I saw it -- it was just -- I think -- We saw the Villa Maser just a little bit later. But the Malcontenta -- the realization for me, then, was that amongst everything else, it was a farm house, and that it had this fantastic lower floor, which seemed part farm and part gracious mansion. It had a marble bath in it, but it was low. And then, of course, the piano nobile with its fantastic light and air. But I had a second -- I had a terrible -- well, he wasn't terrible -- a professor in South Africa came back from America and said he had had a "revelation" in Frank Lloyd Wright, when he went to the Unity Temple. So, I hate to say I had a revelation of the Malcontenta. But it was a little later. That first time, what I felt was that this was a house that, unlike the English houses, said something about house to me, as I knew it, as an African. Because it was made of masonry, and it was made of stucco, and it came in from a rural environment. Its Classicism, as such, didn't make as much an impression on me as its sense of roundness and stone. Its Classicism as columns being like human beings -- like people. Yes. But its Classicism as a classical order -- a classical sequence, a processional, I didn't have that strong a feeling of that, although I knew about that in Classicism because of Wittkower's book coming out at the time. But that notion of a classical ratio as part of a processional didn't seem very important to me then. But this kind of cool, dark quality, and the dark basement almost farm like going up to this very light area, and then the way down, out, was very moving. But then we also saw it as a student group going through it. A few years ago we were invited by the owner to come and spend some time in it, and just sort of live around it and let it be on our consciousness. It was a similar thing -- the feeling of the lightness of the upstairs. It said everything of a mixture of being a real home, and being monumental that Italy seems to manage to do. It seems to cut the monumentality with real humanity, and make both acceptable, in a way that the Festival of Britain couldn't. And that was my second impression. But always, again, the sense of the light coming through -- that you could sit there within that classical balance and feel very -- "this is my place" sort of thing.

PR: And that's the sort of experience you can't have, I would imagine, by looking at plans or looking at books or looking at slides, perhaps.

DSB: That's right, although there's another experience that you can have looking at plans. You can walk through a plan in your mind and just enjoy it. You could enjoy it as a pattern on the paper. You can enjoy it for the way the system breaks, but re-asserts; not just broken system, but the balance between break and re-assertion. And you can enjoy that as an intellectual and emotional exercise. Sort of, "Isn't this wonderful?" Or "Look how this is happening. This way or that." And there's a real aesthetic enjoyment out of plans, and it's part that you're imagining the space itself. But it's also part you're imagining the design process that's going on. The thought process that gives rise to this. And I've enjoyed that aspect of pouring over, for example, Nolli's map of Rome. Or pouring over plans of Roman temples and Roman urbanism. By the same token, pouring over all sorts of urban maps and trying to understand what happens. There's just a great joy for me in that. Anyway, we were sent off by our friends in this little car with a big bundle on the back, which kept wearing the back wheel down, and we successively replaced the back wheel with motorbike wheels, as it kept wearing off, because the load was eccentric. And it got colder and colder, and the hood of the car frazzled through being rubbed in different places. And in the end, when it rained, we would put our heads down and go fast, because there was no hood to protect us anymore, and the rain went off the front of the windshield. Someone stopped us in France, by the way, before we got to Venice, and said, "How do you keep warm?" We showed her where there was a big hole between us and the engine, and the heat from the engine came up through the hole. And she said in French, "Well very warm, in any event, you cannot be." [laughs] Then we took a route through Italy toward Florence, Siena, Rome. Having spent two months in Venice, we then -- as I said, we'd seen the Vicenza area. We made a special trip ourselves to the Villa Maser. We got permission to go in, and that was a wonderful experience, which, again, I repeated a second time with Bob. And again, there's the sense of the -- on one level -- the long, extended farm house with the fantastic scale of the two end parts, in relation to the center. And again, the roundedness of the Mediterranean climate -- columns like human beings. It was then I began thinking, also, that the columns are human beings, and, of course, that comes in part from The Architecture of Humanism, which I found -- I was outraged by that book when I first read it, when I was an un-reconstructed functionalist.

PR: This is Wittkower's book?

DSB: No. The Architecture of Humanism is by Geoffrey Scott. And I read that when I was at the AA. He talked about the formalist fallacy. No, no. It was the functionalist fallacy he talked about. I was outraged that he thought functionalism was a fallacy. On one level, I still am an un-reconstructured functionalist. But it's much more complex than that. I was also very taken by his -- I thought it was outrageous that you could say that columns were like people. But more and more it kind of dawned on me that there was a metaphor in there that was worth something.

PR: And that goes back to the Vitruvius at least. [laughs]

DSB: Yes. And then later, I began thinking, "Well, if a column is a person, than a portico is a representation of a group of people." So portico stands for communal values, community. And I'm looking at the National Gallery portico as I'm saying that -- that that build-up from the single to the communal, with the single entrance behind for individuals, and numbers of people -- by coming through as individuals -- is a very meaningful idea of this build-up of scales that I began to be interested in in England. And then, of course, Bob talked -- when I met him -- of the juxtapositions of scales, and little and big. We seemed to be the only two people around ourselves talking like that, enjoying those juxtapositions -- as something very small against something very big. Something popular against something classical, etcetera, etcetera.

PR: That's a lovely way to describe the portico.

DSB: Yes. So, going through Florence, we went fast now. It was cold. We were running out of money. But we spent a few days in Florence. There's too much to -- those impressions were also all the things that we should see, that we did see -- were a wonderful experience and deepening. And of course, the Uffizi had recently been re-done by our masters that we had met in Venice. And that was very meaningful to see how Modern architects had worked within a historical structure. And, of course, I loved the Uffizi Gallery for its urbanism, it's tight Mannerist spaces. Sansovino Court that's off the river, that is part of it, I loved. We were very interested in Mannerism -- we were looking at Mannerist buildings wherever we found them. So, it was fascinating. As the Accademiahad been interesting to us in Venice. I should say we met [Carlo] Scarpa, as well, at that time. And went to see him in his studio, and asked him why he dallied around with architecture the way he did. [laughs] If students were to ask Bob the questions that we asked people like Scarpa, Bob would be outraged. "Why do you do this unimportant stuff, when you did in the 1930s this nice functionalist architecture that you see at the Ca Foscari?" He said, "There's no work in Venice. And therefore, I decorate to amuse myself, because I don't have enough work." This is before he had done some of his large projects. But he said, "Also remember that I am setting my work against the most precious art in the world. When I work in the Accademia, the painting I am supporting, or the sculpture I am housing is precious beyond bounds. Why would I not try to make the stand match it in its quality, and somewhat in its complexity?" And we thought of this -- I thought of it -- quite hard, while we were designing the National Gallery. And the notion that the walls that we put behind these tender, delicate, mother-and-child painting of the early Renaissance -- because that's what Madonnas are, mother-and-child paintings -- need to have something of a luminescence, and the care and the delicacy of the paintings themselves. Carlo Scarpa made me first think that way. We had, again, some fascinating encounters in Florence. I just mentioned that we met Ugo Detti and Virgilio Vito, and his South African wife. Now, Italians would be amused at this, but Americans would know very little about either of those. We also met, in Bologna, Michelucci. And loved Bologna for its arches. And adored Siena for its public square, and its Palazzo Communale. And I took a photograph out of the art museum, looking down, outside, over the marketplace, into something else that absolutely wowed us about Siena, which was being on a hill, it sent long spurs of urbanism out, along the lines of the hill, and let real farm land -- it was very impressive to us -- it was real farm land; not park land -- right up to the edge of its market, which was at the center, between the spurs of land -- the radials that went out. And we took this photograph, later discovered that Cartier Bresson had taken the same photograph, except his was much better. [laughs] He knew just how to get the right angle. We'd probably been trying to show slightly different things. But the notion that you could have pieces of a linear city that were radial, outward, along the tops of hills and the country, coming in, was very inspiring to us as proto-urbanists. Then, finally, we reached Rome, and it was cold, and we didn't have very much money. While travelling, we'd found a way to go to the tourist bureau near the station, and say, "We needed a room for five hundred lire, and no more, a night." And everyone would say, "No, no. You can't do that. It's impossible." And someone listening around would come up and say, "Come with me." And sometimes we'd have absolutely marvelous rooms. In Salerno, we got a room looking out over the bay. It was in a Signora's house -- that's where they were. And it was cold already. It was a beautiful view. And she put in the bed, what she called a "prete falso," which is a false priest. And what it was, was hoops of wood -- wooden bentwood hoops, making a kind of lozenge shape -- two pairs of them, joined by a bar across -- top and bottom. From the bar, by means of a hook, you would hang a metal pot, containing the ashes from the fireplace, raked out when you went up to bed.

PR: An elaborate bed warmer.

DSB: It was a bed warmer. False priest was a bed warmer. And you put it in your bed, and then just before you got in, you of course, took it out. And you got into what I can only describe as a hot bath of a bed. The most luxurious, sensuous thing I have ever had, in this room of under five hundred lire. And we'd get coffee the next morning. We stayed in Florence in an old castle, outside the edge of Florence. We were told to do that by friends. It was an old bourgeois villa, one of those with a tower. And every morning, they'd bring coffee with cream and hot rolls to us. I also formed a love of a certain working-class bread called "montovanini" in Venice. It was very smooth. It was rather like a crab on the outside. Like a crustation. And soft, over-refined bread on the inside. Very much working-class. Ever since, I've gone to Venice -- and I've gone over and over -- and even in the best hotels, I've insisted that they bring me montovanini for breakfast. They look a little puzzled, but I ardently request it in my best Italian. And then finally, they're proud. They're proud to bring me something that's very Venetian, that I know about. But going on -- I'm sorry to get architecture and food mixed up, but when you talk to Bob, you'll get it even more mixed up. [laughs] He'll tell you everything he ate the day that he had the most wonderful architectural experience.

PR: And in Italy, they go together. [laughs]

DSB: They go together. The night we arrived in Rome, we went to the same kind of tourist place, and asked about a place to stay. And again, we found one on the Via Nazionale -- just off the Via Nazionale -- the Via Milano, number fifty-five. That was, I think, a seven story walk-up, and we were on the seventh story. And we were in the apartment of a family, and we looked out a window facing east, with the most glorious sun, hard terrazzo floor, tiny little room -- not an apartment. A room. And it looked out over the Vittorio Emanuele monument. It was just an amazing view. Sort of sideways, over it. We couldn't get breakfast there. We could just sleep there. And there was only cold water. So again, we went to Rome Station, to their albergo diurno there, which has since closed, unfortunately. We waited in the long lines with other middle-class Italians, going to get a hot shower. It was called the Roman Baths, the one there. It's a shame it closed. So, we lived in this room, we used cold water. We could have cooked on the stove of the family, made our morning coffee, but we went downstairs. And there was a little trattoria run by a family there -- a little coffee bar -- standing up, because it was cheaper. We'd have a large caffe con latte in the morning. We'd buy two rolls. Here they were not montovanini, but "banane." Big rolls. Bananas. And we dipped those in the coffee, and that would be our breakfast. And we'd buy our lunch from a little delicatessen next door. We'd buy stuff that we could take with us and eat wherever we were going. One day, that place was closed. And they said something about choper, choper. And I said to the man, "Well, what does that mean?" He said, "I can't explain it to you. If you don't know what it means, I can't explain it to you. But it means you go around the back." Well, it was "sciopero," and it means, "strike." And "on strike" in Italy means you don't go through the front door, you go around the back. [laughs] So, we set up this pattern there. But meanwhile -- oh, yes. The little boy there [in our landlord's family], who wore a little white collar, and a little black dress -- little boys and girls both wore them to go to parochial school in the morning -- he lent us his comics, and we learned more Italian from the comic strips. And he used to stay up with the rest of the family; at one in the morning, he'd still be playing cards with the rest of the family, but he was about six years old. And then he'd go off sooner than anyone else, to school, the next morning. So, he taught us more Italian. I never saw the Signora out of her house coat. She never, ever appeared ever, except in the house coat, in the apartment. And then we went to see Quaroni. We said, "We need work." Maria-Marcella had said, "Look. You can have a little of my work," if we wanted to stay in Venice. But there was no work in Venice, and her work was -- she was getting paid very little, and she wouldn't have had enough if we had some of hers. So, it wasn't fair. By the way, Maria-Marcella gave up the aim of becoming an architect, because she just couldn't support herself on it. And she went to restoration school in Rome. And she became a very famous "restauro," as they called it. She worked at the Brera. She was famous, but she also didn't have much of a following, because she was so honest, that if anyone brought her a painting to restore, she would, as the law required, register it with the government. Many people brought paintings to sell illegally in America. She was a very interesting person. Maria-Marcella. Quaroni said, "We don't have any work, but there's an architect I know who needs two people quickly for about six weeks, to do a quick amount of drawing. And you haven't heard of him, but he's a very serious and important architect, very well-known in Italy." He said, "He's a bit brusk." So, we trundled along to the Via Pariole, and that quarter out there, and that's how we first met Giuseppe Vaccaro. And gruff, indeed.

PR: Another Ernö Goldfinger?

DSB: No. He wasn't cruel. He was just gruff. He was very serious. And he never knew how to deal with me. He just didn't know how to talk to a woman who wasn't his wife, basically. He was very polite, but he just -- he was just like this.

PR: He couldn't relate professionally.

DSB: He could relate professionally, but he'd much rather relate through Robert. So, there we were, working with him in this apartment with Leda Vaccaro, his wife, as the secretary. And everything -- all that we have thirteen people to do in this office -- she was. And Carolina, the baby, in a little -- do you know those little chairs that kids go rushing around the place?

PR: Yes.

DSB: They told us that later she used to go right under the drafting desks. And we did drafting and babysitting. And then he had his "gruppo." Well-dressed, prim little architects, who also became rather famous later. Manzone and Amaturo. And another architect, not like those, Franco Palpicelli, who was sort of left-wing and less tidy and nicer to us. Nicer -- they were all nice to us -- but more our type of person. We worked there. We were brought in as draftspeople to get this thing done quickly.

PR: What was the project?

DSB: It was the I.N.A. Casa Housing Project. And Vaccaro didn't have very much work. He was a very beautifully, elegantly dressed man. Very grey and serious, and quiet, and a very good architect. Although from our point of view at that time, too soft. But as we worked -- these things didn't have flat roofs. They had leanto roofs. They had brick. But as we worked on it -- first of all, it was very interesting. It was a system.

PR: Was this built? I don't know the project.

DSB: It was built, but in a very changed form. And I have never found pictures of it built.

PR: In Rome?

DSB: On the outskirts of Rome, on the Via Tiburtina. Funny, isn't it, to build on the Via Tiburtina.

PR: Yes.

DSB: A very strange thought. So, there was a system of houses, with very careful plans. And these houses linked in a certain way, and there was a slope on the hill. And by virtue of bringing them together, as semis, you could say, and then having shared staircases, and by virtue of the slope on the hill, there were a lot of -- within the system -- a lot of different conditions. So you had the system and its breaking. And it was a very, very complex jigsaw. One time, when I drew a piece wrong, and I apologized profusely, Vaccaro said, "No, no. It's all right, Signora. I have almost broken the head with this design." So, he wasn't like Ernö Goldfinger at all. There was another time -- we knew much more about construction than they did. It was funny. And we could tell them South African ways of doing things. They said, "Well, in Rome, we just don't do it this way." And there was a funny time when Robert prescribed a rolled steel joist -- than which there could be nothing more standardized in America, England and South Africa -- at half the length and twice the size it should be, by mis-reading a catalog. We said, "I'm very sorry, architetto" -- because you always said "architeyto" -- "It just doesn't exist like this." And he said, "Don't worry. It ought to exist. We'll make it." [laughs] And we sort of were amazed by this. And they were amazed by our telling them the details of how you constructed a cavity wall in South Africa. Because they bridged the cavity all over, and we would never have done that. We had difficulty getting words out of them. We'd say, "Over here should be ah, ah." And they'd say, "Yes. We know." And they'd never tell us the word, so we never would learn the word for "hinge" in Italian. That one I did learn. Catena. So, they were interested. They liked us. People loved Robert. He was a very lovable person. So they always -- to spend half your life with someone who immediately charms someone -- well, not half your life, because we were married for four years -- but to spend -- it was very strange. Because I don't immediately charm people, and Bob doesn't immediately charm people. But it was that people began smiling when he was around. He had a sort of a sweetness, and an amused quality. And he was very, very bright. And he learned Italian better and quicker than I did. He was better at languages. He was very brilliant. But there was something downcast in Robert, and only later, as I learned a lot more, did I realize that what was downcast -- what I called "Brick Wall Brown" -- was depression. I thought about it for years, and I suddenly realized he went through times of depression, where he was very difficult to reach. And I think it lay in -- probably his father did the same -- and it probably lay in that early divorce in his early childhood. And it didn't become apparent until his teens, apparently, according to his mother. She knew about it. It was hard for me to understand what was happening. But, anyway, he was a sort of person who, the moment he was brought onto a committee, he was made its chair-person, because he seemed very responsible. But it was sometimes a great strain for him, because he did not feel as adequate as all that. Anyway, they loved Robert. And, in fact, when Robert died, Leda Vaccaro sent me a letter that was absolutely exquisite. And I took the best part of that letter -- and it was sort of strange to put these things together. Lewis Mumford, who was another person who was marvelous to me -- one of the few, I'd have to say, who was marvelous when Robert died -- gave me a great many of his books to send to my university in memory of Robert. And he was one of the people who was comforting in what he said about Robert, because he lost his own son.

PR: In the war?

DSB: Yes. So, I took what Leda Vaccaro said about Robert, and made it into a book plate to put in those books. And she said, "We remember him as someone who loved, better than we, what we loved most." And she meant, of course, architecture. It was very beautiful. Leda has a marvelous literary sense. She was a very interesting woman, I came to learn later. At this point, we were just newly arrived in this office. Joining the group, not as draftspeople, but as part of the group. And allowed into the discussions of -- "No, it should be like this." "No, it should be like this." "Why should it be this way?" And we always took the hard functionalist edge of the discussion and the little neat architects the sort of, again, softer contextual view. And Palpicelli with us, and Vaccaro listening intently. Now, later, Tafuri was interested to hear I had worked with Vaccaro, because he said he worked for Vaccaro, too. And Leda Vaccaro said, "No. He never did." And Palpicelli said, "There's a good reason why you can't understand Tafuri. One eye looks this way, and one eye looks that way." [laughs] I should say for the tape, pointing in cross directions. But all of that was later. We found our way into their gruppo. These intense, highly verbal, highly argumentative discussions would go on at this place. Very exciting for us. At the same time as that was happening, we'd hear an awful loud whacking noise, and there was baby Carolina, who got into the drawings. We'd all have to stop and rush and get Carolina out of the drawings, and go on.

PR: Would these discussions be about the housing project?

DSB: Yes. I seem to remember one of them saying, "You should put a port hole here." I said, "Why would you want a round window?" Things like that. So, that was lovely, but it lasted only six weeks. We also met American friends, who were Fulbrights. I think the Crumlishs had been in Venice, too. And then we caught up with them again, because they were Fulbright students in Rome. And there was also Tunny Lee, who became a very good friend then. He was living in the palazzo of a principessa or a contessa -- someone near the palazzo Argentina. And we would meet every evening for dinner. And then, it was nice, because their apartments were bigger and warmer than ours, and we could get a little warmer. I got the worst chilblaines I've ever had in Rome, by being too cold. We would take our lunch, and go in our Morgan, and do a little sightseeing in the long Italian lunch, and often end up in a sheltered park, in a sheltered spot in the winter sun, which is like being in Johannesburg in the winter sun, eating our little lunch that we bought in the morning. But in the evenings and weekends, we'd be very cold, and we'd go sightseeing with Tunny and Ruth and Brian Crumlish. We'd also eat every night at the same restaurant, where we could get a meal for one hundred and fifty lire, which was a riso with cheese. And that would be our meal. And I can't remember. I think it was called Augusto, and I've never found it again. This little restaurant, which we loved so much, which we could afford. And Tunny Lee told us about how Italian rice was so very unsubtle compared with the Chinese. And the fact, of course, that Italian rice came from China. And also the pasta. Then, at the end of six weeks -- oh, yes. It also was Christmas at that time, and New Years. And we had a great celebration at Christmas, and we bought a steak for one thousand lire, just to celebrate Christmas. But we also discovered a good pizza place, where we could get bottone, these great big shoes -- they're calzone --

PR: Oh, yes.

DSB: Of pizza. And we would go there on occasion, with them. But Ruth Crumlish was an architectural history major, and she took us to see a great deal of things that we probably wouldn't have -- like St. Ivo. We saw a great deal of Bernini on our own, but she could kind of think through things that would interest us, that we might not find out or realize, by looking at the guide book, that it was really important for us.

PR: Is she a baroque historian, then?

DSB: Her father was an architectural historian, and she was, too. And she probably -- they were from Illinois, and her father, I think, was at Urbana. The University of Illinois at Urbana. And I once saw Brian once again, and I don't know. I think Ruth did not continue with her career. There were other things like going to see that place where you looked through a keyhole, and you saw the dome of --

PR: St. Peters.

DSB: St. Peters. But in general, we were too busy working to do as much sightseeing as we might want to do. And also, Robert didn't want to spend his life sightseeing. When we got to Paris, he refused to sightsee altogether, and he went and sat on the Left Bank and watched the fisherman, and just enjoyed the sun. And then very quickly. we saw the Louvre at the very end. Now, I had been to Paris before, and I had seen a great many things, and I was pretty mad at him for that, but I think he was trying to make some kind of a point about what life ought to be. So, we much more than Bob, probably, got into the life of Rome. Like the Vaccaros told us to go to Piazza Navona on the night of Befana, which was Epiphany. Well, it was pretty scary there. The crowds just thronged it, and they'd find tourists, and they'd ram them against the edges of the balustrades where the fountains were. And I got my bottom pinched numerous times in Rome, at that point, whereas attached to Robert, in general, I was left free of some of those experiences. Also, when we began to get a little money, and were no longer sort of on the bread line, we bought me a beautiful suit, on sale in one of the design houses on the Via Frattina. A house that had been out of favor, because it had been the fascist house, so, they were selling things off. I forget what it was called. We bought me a beautiful suit. In a very barbarized form I still have it. Of course, it doesn't fit me anymore. It was much too heavy ever to wear in America, because the houses are much too hot to wear that kind of a suit.

PR: It was a winter suit.

DSB: We were very aware, also, of Italian clothes and styles of clothes. And we had to find -- in Venice, we got Robert a whole gondolier's suit made, but in grey denim. And the whole thing cost us about five pounds -- fifteen dollars -- to have made. So it was fun to do things like that. To buy the usual thing in unusual places. They were conventional items, more than anything else. But we also went to Murano. We discovered their basement, where they sold seconds, and we bought some pretty jars and bowls. Again, we thought Vennini had gone soft in the head. And I had this funny experience where I was saying that these Vennini lamps and things were so badly designed, and a young Italian said, "Oh. Why do you think so?" And I told him why. And it was -- what's his name, who is now married to Lela Valle, who is a famous designer in New York? He lives in New York. He's a graphic designer. Massimo Vignelli. He was the young Massimo Vignelli. And I felt very embarrassed afterwards. And then my Italian friend said, "No, no. That was good. He should hear those things." [laughs] I didn't tell you one other Venetian story. Maria-Marcella took us to her house. It was a very sad family, which had seen better days. Maria-Marcella could date buildings in Venice, based on the size of the brick. She was that expert at it. Because she was real, real Venetian. Her father had died when she was very young. He had been a very interesting person, and like many of the Italian upper classes, had great love of his dialect, and knowledge of Venetian regional culture -- dialect was something to be preserved and cherished. We were taken down into their ground floor, which had flag stones on the floor. You know, the ground floors are almost like the basement in a lot of the houses, because everything happens above -- partly because of the damp and the mosquitos. So, we looked onto their little yard, in the back of their house, and we drank coffee in their basement. But the cups were eighteenth century. And there was a student there -- we met other students, you see, as well. There was another student named Ernesto Rubin. And Ernesto was a music student. And they had -- the latest thing -- rock and roll music. They said, "Well, Ernesto has some rock and roll discs, and we can play them at his place. And Ernesto's in an old palace." Well, Maria was in an old, elegant town house that did belong to her family, and you know, palaces have rooms that they let out, and we thought Ernesto was living in the attic in this old palace. But we went to the Campielo de Abrizzi, and we knocked on the door. It was opened to us by a footman, and we went up the elevator to the eighteenth century rooms, and we danced to rock and roll music on terrazzo floors in these eighteenth century rooms, and we were taken down to see the earlier rooms with their Canova ceilings, and all the drapery over the sixteenth century furniture. Incredible. And of course, Ernesto was Conte Ernesto de Abrizi, or something like that. And when Robert died -- we saw Ernesto once again. He was in Florence, and we had dinner with him there. And he told us about his father, and he was wearing his father's shoes, because his father was incredibly elegant, and had all these well maintained -- always bought in England. To the Italians, the most chic in style was Saville Row, you see. "Al inglese." And so, he was wearing his father's 1920s English leather shoes. And he also took us to a nice restaurant, "dove si mangia bene si spenda poco." You eat well, and you spend little. He said he was one of the "poci Italiani, who doesn't like to eat a lot." One of the few Italians who doesn't like to eat a lot. So, we had this nice dinner with him. And then, when Robert died, I got a fantastic letter from Ernesto. It said, "You were like parts of one body. How can you be one without the other?" A very beautiful letter. I didn't see Ernesto again, until about three years ago, where I had made friends again with the Alvera, who, in fact, owned a grand palace on the Grand Canal, and had lived during the war -- No straight after the war, they lived in South Africa. And that's how my father knew them. And Lesa Alvera and my brother were good friends. And Lesa had a little party for me at her apartment. She doesn't live in her parents' palazzo, she lives in another palazzo. She had this party in the apartment at another palazzo, and asked Ernesto, because I asked her to. And, of course, all of the Italian upper class know each other. I said, "Ernesto, what have you done in the rest of your life?" And he said, "Denise, everything that a human being can do in life." [laughs] It was very strange after -- you see, it was 1956, and this was about 1986.

PR: Thirty years later.

DSB: Yes. Where was I? I was in Rome.

PR: So, you had worked for six weeks for Vaccaro?

DSB: Yes. And then we set off again, and we went South in the car, and we went as far as Paestum. We didn't get any further. And that, in part, hitchhiking, because the car broke down in a place called Bellizi, and had to be mended. Again, Paestum was a very fantastic experience for us, and then sort of a pre-cursor again, for Lou Kahn, who obviously loved Paestum. But getting to feel that there was something akin to what the Brutalists were doing in this very early phase of Greek art -- of Greek --

PR: Of Greek in Italy?

DSB: Yes. Greek primitive architecture. And loving that. Loving that as a Brutalist. And then there was a kind of structural complexity of the two stories, loving that, as well. The travelling experiences with the cold and the small car, and the needs to find cheap hotels, was sort of overwhelming. And we came back to Rome for just a little while.

PR: In Rome -- obviously you're overwhelmed by history there -- but if Vaccaro was a little soft with his pitched roofs, were you excited at all by Terragni's work -- the rationalist's work?

DSB: We went to see that, and we were very excited by that. There was also one 1930s international style villa. Someone put us in touch with the son of the owner, and we met him in the Piazza del Popolo at Rosati, and he took us to see his house. And then a very strange thing -- when I visited Leda and Carolina at Leda's apartment -- which was an incredible apartment, where she lives now, in Rome -- straight opposite it was that villa, and that was very interesting to us. And we also were very interested in E.U.R. and felt that there was something there, despite its fascism. That it had a vitality to it, and a kind of Brutalist quality of a shockingly direct solution, even although you couldn't justify it on functionalist grounds. But there was a sort of directness and ugliness to it that we found -- and then, of course, Bob and I shared a liking -- you can't say a liking -- an excitement by that, when we met.

PR: This is what? The love about E.U.R. or the love hate relationship?

DSB: We shared a fascination with E.U.R. that is a love hate relationship. Saying you have to admit it's very brutalistically direct, even if it isn't functional.

PR: What about the plan of it?

DSB: I didn't see the plan. Also, we realized that we had moved from -- you see, seeing functionalism as a way of keeping your aesthetic lively -- that is, you looked for the direct solution through functionalist channels, and it becomes Brutalist, and you keep your eyes from getting soft and [end of side two, tape three]

DSB: Going from the uncomfortably direct solution of Brutalism, to the uncomfortably indirect solution of Mannerism -- the Brutalists had gotten to like Mannerism. The Brutalists liked Ledoux, and it's interesting, because Ledoux kind of looked Modern. He looked International Style.

PR: In its abstract --

DSB: Later, when the Modernists changed to be Post-modernists, they took what they had liked as Modernists, and used it derivatively as Post-modernists. We think it's basically wrong to use Ledoux as a source in America. Palladio is a suitable, culturally relevant source for most of America. Ledoux is French, and hasn't been used -- did not have the symbolism that, say, "Empire" had in America, or Palladio had in America. But the Modernists liked Ledoux. The Brutalists had become interested in Mannerism, because they saw again, this sort of uncomfortable solution --now it was breaking the rules of Classicism. They loved breaking the rules. But it wasn't just breaking the rules. It was producing something that -- if Classicism favored things in threes -- organization in threes -- and two is looked upon as an uncomfortable "duality," the Brutalists like things which were dual. They liked dualities. And I think they saw the Mannerists as sort of fellow breakers of the rules. I should have said to you that we were very interested in the Villa Giulia for its architecture in Rome, as well as fell in love with the objects in it. And, of course, Bob thinks that that's too easy to like -- the Cretan terra cotta sculptures that I just adore there.

PR: Etruscan.

DSB: Etruscan. I was very, very moved by them. We got permission, and we photographed that due sposi over and over and over, from different positions, and I still think it's --

PR: The reclining couple.

DSB: The reclining couple with the hands like this, and the hair. It's "in the nature of materials," which -- it uses terra cotta as terra cotta, which, therefore, Bob says is too easy to like. I think it's just a marvelous, marvelous thing. So, we loved the building and we loved the Etruscan sculpture in it -- both. We also went to see the Villa del Te in Mantua. And one way or another, we tried to learn as much about Mannerism as we could, and then when Bob and I met, we had that in common. We used to notice when other members of the faculty said, "You can't do that." What you couldn't do was dualities. They'd say, "That won't stand up," and then we'd find examples of things that faculty members on juries would say wouldn't stand up, standing up very well. And I began looking this way in Italy. In Rome in particular. Then, as we came back, we stopped a short while in Rome. I should have told you we picked up a suitcase of winter clothing that was waiting for us at Rome Station. We had to walk a mile carrying the suitcase to get it -- why, I don't know -- to get it, finally. And when we complained to the man behind the counter of this incredible bureaucracy, he said, "You are just having fifteen minutes of it. I have to live with it." [laughs] And we felt that we could maybe live the rest of our lives in Italy, but we didn't know if we could really stand that bureaucracy. While we were working in Rome, we got a tax rebate from the tax people in England. We got a tax check paid back to us. Our Italian friends all laughed and said, "In Italy, the tax people would never do this."

PR: Right. You'd never see it.

DSB: Yes. And we kind of felt that maybe it wasn't the kind of system that we could live with forever. But I felt very, very at home there, and I loved it. And as we went back, we went via Turin, and it was a great pleasure now -- and also Milano --to see other people. I should have mentioned that Freddi Drugman was one of the assistants in Venice. He was a young communist, obviously very, very well brought up.

PR: Where was he from?

DSB: From Milano. But his father had been a diplomat, and he spent much of his life growing up in Paris, and he spoke very good French. So, with him, we could make contact early. In fact, we joined them in Southern Italy at their holiday place, and we spent a few days with them there, and met his wife, and were very amused to hear them say to their child, "mal educato lei," which sounds like "badly educated," but it was to a four year old, and it meant, "You're badly brought up." And communist or not, upper class manners were very important. And we've since said that those communists can be distinguished from the rest of the Italians, because they have not one, but two governesses for their children. We think there's a lot of hypocrisy in Italian left-wing behavior. We don't like being hit over the head as being fascists by people who have two governesses for their children, and live in palazzos. But all of that is a part of a later story. And some of that happened to us in Berlin. There's no understanding between Europe and America around politics -- how our stand about Levittown can, in fact, be a left-wing stand. They cannot understand. They see Levittown as the ultimate in right-wing fascism, forgetting that the real right-wing establishment hires famous architects.

PR: You saw it on the main line.

DSB: Exactly. Well, not only that, it's the Ford Foundation, which is the epitome of right-wing establishment, and look who it hires. So, there's lots of differences between Europe and America, which I was beginning to learn, and which had fascinated me. Much of my life is trying to keep myself consistent between Africa, Europe and America. Keep myself the same person. It's not easy to do that.

PR: So we can get it down on the tape, this whole experience in Italy -- the summer in Venice, and then your working for Vacarro -- what year was this?

DSB: 1956. The year turned when we were in Rome. We had our New Year's celebration.

PR: That was your winter, right?

DSB: Yes.

PR: Okay. It turned into '57?

DSB: Yes.

PR: And you had completed the School of Tropical Architecture?

DSB: Yes. As we went back, we stopped in Milano, and we saw more of Freddi Drugman, and he has remained a life-long friend. He is very high up in the communist hierarchy of Italian architects in Milan. We went, also, to Torino, and we were able to meet these two other Italian architects again, who had been very left-wing, and could talk with them. Getto -- and I don't remember his other name -- and his friend -- we had two fabulous dinners. One at Freddi Drugman's house -- at his parents' house, a really beautiful Italian upper class meal. Pasta is a very small part. Americans think Italians east pasta, pasta, and more pasta. And then we went and we had dinner at the home of Getto, which was a working class family. A very, very large family. And Robert and I were part of it, and we had a marvelous meal there. And in one afternoon, we became better friends with Getto than we had managed in all the month of Venice, when we couldn't talk together, though we had wanted to. We went on, and through -- I'm trying to think how it went -- we made our way -- we went through the Alps at Modane, and landed on the other side, and had culture shock. We found we had to change to French. Then I had learned that changing -- which is a very different -- that was Scimemi's skill. He could translate in French and then in English and Italian. But changing languages is very, very difficult. So, we tried to speak French in Modane, and couldn't. We got totally tongue-tied. By the time we realized that in fact, the whole of Modane spoke Italian, too, we couldn't speak Italian, either. We found we couldn't even think very well in English for a few days, having spent six months -- just under six months -- in Italy. Then we made our way to stay with friends in Germany, and stayed in Dortmund with a friend Robert had made called Wolfram Schlote -- an architect. And also, we stayed with friends of mine called Schilly in Bochum. We took ten days in each place, and also with Hans Martin Gremse and his family in Bonn. So, we went -- sort of nostalgic reunions with friends we had made in these three places. And talked with Wolfram -- which was a very moving experience, again -- about how his father said nothing to him during the whole of Nazism. He was a mathematics teacher, and he taught mathematics and maintained his garden, and later, after the war, became a very famous head of a working class high school in Dortmund, which had a marvelous record of getting working class kids into university, which was rather rare there. He said that his father eventually -- they had seen in the distance, from the high hill where they lived outside of Dortmund, in Lucklemberg, I think it was called -- they had seen the Americans coming, and his father said, "Now life can start again." When he said that, Wolfram was prepared to believe all the things that he heard about the Germans and the Holocaust. But before that, they had had a Jewish neighbor, and they didn't dare write to the neighbor. They thought he had gone to a work camp. That's what they were told. And Wolfram said, "We really didn't know, but we must have known something, because my parents got my drawings and sent the drawings to the neighbor, knowing the neighbor would know what it meant." So they knew, but they didn't know. They didn't want to think.

PR: You talked previously about your experiences -- your reactions -- from your earlier trip to Germany, and making friends with the Germans, and this terrible problem you felt that you discussed with Manfred Marcus about, "If I had been in Germany, I would have been a Nazi." Did you ever read Hannah Arendt's books, such as --

DSB: The Human Condition?

PR: The Human Condition, and earlier, The Origins of Totalitarianism?

DSB: No, and I should have. I met Hannah Arendt once, and I was a bit disappointed in her. She should have seen the importance more of what I was saying, rather than -- I was talking almost pure Davidoff, and she should have understood that more. But she, kind of, was a bit clever. Not so much at my expense, but she was sort of trying to say, "I know more than you do," or, "We know about those things," without listening to what I was saying. So I was a bit disappointed that she couldn't see that what Margaret Mead was saying was irrelevant. And I was very disappointed in Margaret Mead for maintaining upper middle class values about urbanism, and not seeing that other people might have other values. And Hannah Arendt couldn't see that, either. But it was very quickly, at a conference. I didn't manage to sit down and talk. So, I haven't read Hannah Arendt, and in a way, I use that as a symbol. It's not right. I come out as more know-nothing than Ken Frampton. I've always said that Ken Frampton's basic problem -- I knew him at the AA. He was a year below me. I even saw him in Israel, where I visited, and saw Rami Karmi. I probably forgot to say that, too. When I saw Ken Frampton in Israel, he was a talented, though rather softly talented, architect, who, I felt, when he first started writing, just wasn't educated enough. The AA as a post-high school education didn't teach you much. You didn't learn much about history, etcetera. Architectural history. I think the liberal arts side of the AA got stronger later, but it was very architecturally oriented, and I felt Frampton -- one of his big problems was no one taught him to write grammatically. And no one taught him that simple writing is better writing. I said, "His problem is he reads a book." In other words, people like Frampton read one book and then try to make a whole architectural theory around that book. I think the semiotic architects did that. And I think Frampton read The Urban Condition. And I criticize him for that. I now criticize him for criticizing us. You should see my article. It was called "Cultural Debate" in Casabella. It's between Frampton and me. It was, in fact, much stronger. I said in it, "One of Frampton's problems is he's not sufficiently educated," and Eisenmann took that out. Because Frampton read my article, which he wasn't supposed to do, and wrote a stinging criticism when we were meant to just be presenting ideas in parallel. So, Eisenmann gave me the opportunity to reply, because Frampton had read mine. So I replied, "Frampton's problem is he this, he that, he isn't educated." All the other bullet points are in the article. But basically, I think, he tends to string his life around one book, and make a set of parallels with architecture, and some of them are rather tenuous. So, no. I haven't read The Human Condition, and I should have, even to say that. But I'm sure that some of what I'm saying has been said by other people. I think, also -- because I'm getting older, I don't remember names very well. Wiesenthal? [Obviously, I meant Wiesel]

PR: Elie Wiesenthal?

DSB: Yes. Elie Wiesenthal. There's also Simon Wiesenthal, the former architect turned Nazi hunter. But I think it is Elie Wiesenthal.

PR: Elie is the first name, anyway.

DSB: I think some of the approach that I take, he would take, too. And, of course, much, much more knowledge, and much more from his own history, than I. But, no. I haven't read The Human Condition. I have read a considerable amount of [Roman] Jakobsen, and I met Jakobsen in -- I'm sorry to sound such a namedropper. It's not to be a namedropper, but it is interesting. Bob and I went to Ossabaw Island. We used to go there quite often. It was a writer's camp. And once --

PR: Where is that?

DSB: It's off the coast of Savannah in Georgia. And once Roman Jakobsen and Christina Pomorska, or something like that -- his wife -- and she'd been his student -- were there at the same time as we were there. And we talked to him at great length about semiotic. He is understandable to me. And we arrived at semiotic separately from reading Jakobsen. We arrived at those notions, and certainly not reading Chomsky or de Saussure. My feeling is we arrived through examples inductively, whereas people like Eisenmann arrived by reading philosophical works. Jakobsen said to me that he had been interested in architecture as a young man, and that if some writing of his about semiotic and architecture, from when he was in Czechoslovakia, I believe -- it's amazing what he's written about. But I think he felt that the semioticists in architecture were misusing his work. And again, I think, those connections were too mechanical that they made, between an interesting linguistic idea, and architecture. People are going to have a hard time with this archive and this record, because they are going to have to dig nuggets out from the middle of many other things.

PR: And your other writings.

DSB: Yes.

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.

PR: Was he damning them -- the people that you had just been working with, in Venice?

DSB: He didn't like them very much, either. He thought that they were soft, although he was beginning to look Italian in his dress. He was wearing black leather clothes and pointy shoes -- the way for working class architects to be upwardly mobile without betraying their class by borrowing the paraphernalia of the upper classes. That was happening then. And, of course, when we were in Italy, Suez Canal was happening, and there was a moment when we thought, "Should we go on and cross the border, and go to Hungary?" Go and help. But we didn't do that. We didn't have the money to do that, for one thing. And then we got back, and there was petrol rationing in England. But we managed to get a special allowance of petrol, and borrow a car, and Wolfram and his cousin, Helmut, came and joined us in London. I was surprised when I brought them and my English friends together, because the cousin and Wolfram spoke a little elementary German together, making plans, and I understood every bit of it, and my English friend sat there, looking puzzled. I said, "How is it I come and learn German, and you didn't learn -- it's such a mystery to you." So, we went travelling in Scotland together, and that was very wonderful. And we got up to the real highlands of Scotland, where the roads are one lane wide, and there's just moor and sheep. And this felt more like landscape to me -- more like Africa. We visited friends of my first husband's family, way up in the north of Scotland, and that was very wonderful, too. All through this trip, we had seen friends of theirs, including in Rome, a certain Commendatore Piga, who now -- he's a very, very bigwig in Italian government. But he was the Italians representative for oil to the United Nations. I think that's what he was. That was very interesting. He had an Australian wife. I saw these smart Roman women who wore their little black African -- it's called kericule, but here it's called persian lamb -- fur coats. They all had little black persian lamb fur coats, which was important to me because later, when we were back in South Africa, and I was preparing for America, I remembered that persian lamb fur coat, which was the epitome of Italian Roman chic. I said, "If I have to buy a fur coat, I'll get one of those." And I did. And I arrived in New York -- and I think I said how we were staying with my parents, who came with us on this fantastic boat trip on the Flandre. I'll tell you about the boat trip. I must. But I arrived in New York, and we dumped our things in the hotel and went straight to Philadelphia, to be in time for --

PR: Is this the entourage of you and Robert and your parents?

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: Oh, yes.

DSB: And he was thrilled to see Robert, and he was a great Anglophile, so he loved the Morgan. It's the wrong time I'm telling you. This happened while we had the Morgan, before we got to South Africa. And he spent a day with us, just being nice to us. And he had a cousin visiting his wife from East Germany, which was very interesting for us. He gave us a good meal, and sent us on our way. Eiermann -- Arthur Korn told us -- was a more important architect than Mies van der Rohe. I don't think he was right. But we went to see his factory in Pforzheim, I think it was. And it was very interesting to talk with him. He was very charming to us, but he had his students -- we went to meet him at the school, and the students were making a model for him for his office. And he was being very charming to us, and he looked around at the model, and he said, "schlecht," and went on. So, I had a sense he could be an Ernö Goldfinger. I'm very sensitive to that kind of possibility in people. So, as I say, we went through Europe. We went also through Italy, and this time we were rich enough to stay at a big hotel in Venice, which we did. We stayed at the Bauer Grunewald. It was nice to be able to then entertain our friends, courtesy of my parents, in a slightly better way. And I found all my friends could do that, too. In other words, there was no one that we met in our trips, no matter how strange the meeting, that they weren't upper middle class young professionals, like ourselves -- all of us sort of slumming, in a way. Although it was real for us. We didn't have the money when we were travelling like that, and it was right that we did it that way. Bob sometimes laughs at me, because he didn't ever do it that way. His family sent him enough money to do it in modest comfort, whereas we were at the edge of comfort.

PR: And he was where? At the American Academy in Rome?

DSB: Yes. And he'd been there a year before. When he travelled, he would afford to stay in hotels. We couldn't. Later, with my parents, we stayed in the Bauer Grunewald, and my Italian friends arrived looking suitably chic this time. And Marco Sorteni chastised Maria-Marcella for not wearing "tachi alti," which is high heels. I can only wear them for fifteen minutes, but I had bought my high heeled shoes, and I was wearing them -- my beautiful shoes from Venice. They have wonderful shoes in Venice. Maria pointed out that how could she, with all the work we were doing? And he said, "That is no excuse." Suddenly they told us that they had a couple -- friends of theirs, but they were also reporters, and they wanted to interview us. So we met the next day with these young reporters, and we pretended for a spoof that we spoke no Italian whatsoever, so we gesticulated and snorted, and everything else. Meanwhile Marco translated for us. And then at a certain point, he said, "This is not necessary. They speak perfect Italian," to the confusion of the whole interview, which was a bit of a shambles.

PR: Was it ever published?

DSB: I don't know if they ever published it. But basically, we would not -- we were trying not to have to talk about South African politics. And that's the main reason why.

PR: And that's what they were interested in?

DSB: Yes. And we said, "Look. It's not good to talk about these very anguished subjects, sitting on the terrazzo of the Bauer Grunewald." And they agreed. And they had us for dinner that night at their apartment, and they made a marvelous yellow risotto. We had a wonderful time. Many years later, I saw them again. So, I've only still got us by slow steps from South Africa to --

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: When we left off last time, you were just arriving in Philadelphia. You went to the University of Pennsylvania, and you met with David Crane, and you were about to begin graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania. You also mentioned you had a couple other stories you wanted to tell, perhaps, before you launched into your experiences in the United States, particularly the story about Egon Ries with the Scottish Coal Board. Shall we start there?

DSB: Yes. I have a feeling I did tell you the story of how a few of the people at the AA -- at the end of their course -- found illustrations of concrete coal mines, designed by Egon Ries for the Scottish Coal Board. They still had the mine head gear with the wheel on the top. I don't know if mines have these anymore. They certainly did all over South Africa. Rather, all over the gold reef outside Johannesburg. But those were structures made of timber members or maybe steel, and these were in concrete. Egon Ries was a Viennese refugee architect. And they looked Brutalist. In the same way as they discovered Lou Kahn, so they discovered Egon Ries. And he had a few wonderful sayings that people quoted, like, "I invented the circle. I invented it in 1923." That was one that amused them very much. [laughs] You could see he was an early Modernist, in other words. And then he said, "Yes, it does look boring. Boring is the way I want it to look."

PR: He used that word? Boring?

DSB: Yes. In fact, one of his assistants said to him, "Well, if you do it that way, won't it look boring?" And his reply was, "Yes, it does look boring. Boring is the way I want it to look." So, with that to commend him, we all went up there to interview with him, and he nicely showed us the work, and then had us to his house. He had a decorative wife, and we had, I believe, tea at his house -- a group of us, who were thinking of going up to work there. And I was as keen as the others.

PR: Where was his office? In Edinborough?

DSB: I think it was in Edinborough. Yes. Because later, John Richards, who did go up there, bought himself a little cottage in Braeside. I think the cottage cost something like one hundred and eighty-three pounds. It was right under the bridge over the Firth of Forth. The Fourth Bridge, which I have lots and lots of slides of, is a very marvelous structure. And he had this little house right under it. And he was working at the Scottish Coal Board and John Richards' has stayed in Scotland, ever since. But in passing, airily, during conversation, Egon Ries mentioned that of course if I were to be employed by the Scottish Coal Board, I could not earn as much as the men. I would be earning about twenty percent less than they would. And they had to do this, otherwise the secretaries would be very angry. And that's the first I ever heard of that. And it was said airly as if, "Don't you know this is just the way things are?" Of course in Austria, even more than England, they would be like that. I'd been enthusiastic till that moment, and then my enthusiasm soured. And I had an emotional reaction that I just couldn't do that to myself. It's funny, because the women's movement later, has sort of said, "You owe it to yourself not to do things like that." I could have felt many other emotions, but the emotion I think I felt was I could not dishonor myself by accepting that kind of an arrangement. So, I never did apply.

PR: And his offer was contrary to what you'd found in the offices in London or South Africa?

DSB: Well, there we were all students, and we were all frantically underpaid. How Ernö Goldfinger paid architects was amazing. I think he paid me -- what was I getting? I think I was getting ten pounds a week, or was it a month? I think it was a week. It's hard to remember now. Which would have been about twenty-five dollars a week. I had asked for twelve, and he said, "Well, you'll be getting the equivalent of two pounds a week of education."

PR: We can say that about anything in life.

DSB: That's true. So much for Egon Ries.

PR: Okay.

DSB: Now, there were a few other things. I think I said last time, but I want to say again, that this is not altogether chronological because themes make me remember earlier events, and lead to later events. So that you'll find Egon Ries out of sequence here. Maybe some of that can be fixed by editing, but maybe some of it shouldn't be, because some of the themes may have more pertinence later. Another one that I forgot, that I should have put in, was that after I had been in London about a year, Robin Middleton arrived. He had finished school in South Africa, and he came to England, and he came to the AA to visit me. And he had been getting letters from friends of his at Cambridge, telling him what England was like, even before I went. And Robin had a fellowship to Cambridge. He was then a talented young architect. He went to Cambridge and got his doctorate working under Pevsner. But that first day, I was very quick to tell him what was the fashion and what wasn't the fashion, and what students liked and what they didn't like, until he finally said to me, "Don't tell me. Let me find out for myself," which was sort of interesting. And then he went off to Cambridge, and did his doctorate there, and he then worked in London as an architect for a while -- but not for very long -- before he became an academic. Also, he had been like a child in our house, and he had been friendly with all of us. At some point in England, he became more friendly with my sister than with me. And there was a time when they went to Paris and lived for a while in Paris. And since about that time, they've been together. We all travelled together in France for a while, when we left England. That is Robert and my sister, Ruth -- who I call Ruthie, much to her disgust -- and Robin and I. And of course, Robin has always known so much about everything, and he was the one to decide which was the best restaurant to go to, what you absolutely had to see in Paris -- things like that. He was a very intriguing companion, and he gets the best out of people. He gets them to put their best step forward, and do the best for themselves, which is -- and he seems to like people, all the same, for their faults. If he tells you something that amused him very much about some middle-aged lady, it would be how she got herself out of the scrape that she got herself into, by having been catty or mean or something like that. It's an endearing characteristic to like people for their weaknesses, rather than their strengths. I think that's all that I want to say about that. One other little point that I don't know whether I've made or not, that for us -- for Bob and me -- maybe particularly for me, but I think for him, too -- our life, plus our work, equals our career. So, the whole thing is a career, and I put child-raising as part of my career. I see it all in one, and I see it as -- I guess you would say, a career is where you make something out of your life. And making something out of your life has a family dimension and a work dimension, both.

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 cannon 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: Did 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.

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: Maybe I should talk about Charles first, because the other story -- both of them have a long time span. In the summers when I was teaching at Penn, I would -- I think I travelled some to see my parents and in-laws. Once I had this job working on the plan for New York State. I also did a little plan -- a little report -- on the Neighborhood Garden Association, which I worked on two summers. I also worked on the ACSA conference. I attended it one summer, and worked on it one summer. But summers were a difficult time for me because they were much less structured. And my sorrow for the loss of my husband would tend to be much stronger when there was less demand and less structure. For all that, I had these jobs to do, and I think it was the summer of 1963, I was around at the university, and I treated the campus as my living room and yard. I knew about the location of about five pianos I could go play on, and it was very lovely to have all of those beautiful grounds on a weekend. Not to myself, because they were always full, busy with people. But one summer, there was -- the Folklore Department presented a lecture by Professor Charles Seeger. I had heard Pete Seeger play, and thought he was wonderful. And I went to hear the talk by Charles Seeger, which was about folklore and folk music. And I remember asking a question at that talk -- but I can't remember what it was -- which he answered. The next day I phoned him. I said, "I'm a faculty member here, and I was at your talk, and I know things are very quiet in the summer here, and I don't know whether you know many people here, but I would be very happy to invite you to have lunch with me." Charles was a considerable Boston Brahmin, and an upper class gentleman, having given rise to this progeny of left-wing radicals. He, himself, had been one, too. Or was one. So he was a little surprised that this young woman should invite him for lunch, and invited me to have lunch with him at the Faculty Club, which I did, the next day. I asked him what he had done in Pete's upbringing to make him such a brave person. And he liked that question very much. But basically we liked each other very much, and he told me later he had certainly noticed me at that lecture, as much as I had noticed him, and was surprised by my inviting him, but knew who I was very well. So, that started a friendship which lasted until Charles died, which was about 1984, I think. We had dinner with each other probably once a week, all the rest of that summer. And the intellectual aspect of this friendship was very important for me. That is, that it was -- Charles had the same approach to music -- musics, as he called it -- as I was trying to formulate for architecture. I was trying to see architecture and urbanism -- physical urbanism -- as being determined by forces within the society, and in the environment, and in the technology -- as being a facet of the culture of a society. And he was doing the same for musics. He more or less formulated the field of ethno-musicology himself, starting from when he left Harvard, which, I think, was in 1907. He was the class of 1907. He had gone out to Berkeley. He had marched as a pacifist up Market Street in Berkeley in 1915, and did so again in 1965. These were wonderful things to share with Charles. So this discussion of identifying in words -- because this was very important to Charles -- an art which did not use words, but used something which was very different in its linear contours from words. And using words to identify music, or using words to identify architecture -- it was a very interesting parallel. And when I had problems about being called either an irresponsible formalist or else a dull functionalist, he said that he had just the same problems. "When I write about structure, they say I'm irresponsible or not responsive to form." So it was very interesting to find someone who had done the same thing that I was doing, but fifty years before. We had all sorts of things to talk about. About his family, he had three wives and seven children. About his other interests. He told me a lot about his mother and father. He was amused -- I think that there are elderly gentlemen who like me because I remind them of their mothers. And I'm sure that his mother's style was very much like mine. He was very amused -- this is later, I'm stepping ahead -- as I furnished my cottage in Santa Monica with all of the Art Nouveau things I acquired, because his mother had loved Art Nouveau, and he had been completely turned off by it as a child. And here it was coming back again, in another generation. He once said to me, "What are you doing out with a man old enough to be your father's father?" And another occasion he said longingly, "If only you were fifty." You see, I was thirty-five at that time, and he was nearly eighty. Charles was a very proper gentleman, and our relationship was a platonic, warm friendship. And neither he nor I would have thought anything else was suitable. But, you know, I sometimes wonder why did we both think that. Of course, if Charles had been nearer my age, I wouldn't have seen a mite of him, because he would have had so many other followers. And, in fact, later, as a very, very old man -- more or less the last time I saw him -- he had all of these young women graduate students around him. He told me I was now the oldest of his lady friends. [laughs]

PR: He had a sense of humor. [laughs]

DSB: Well, it wasn't exactly said with a sense of humor. He found old ladies very frightening. He once said to me, "I used to look at all of those beautiful young girls of my youth, and I used to look at my grandmother and think, 'They will never look like her.' But, you know, they did." It was very sad. He did not find old ladies, in any way, interesting. Only young ladies. And I think he had quite a few friends of this sort, who would have dinner with him on occasion. But I'm getting ahead, because --

PR: Let me ask one quick question about his music. I know you stress the sort of theoretical approach, to the parallel between the music and architecture, but was he listening to music from all over the world? Or was he interested in contemporary -- I don't know -- American -- would it be be-bop at the time? Was there a pop element?

DSB: Charles -- first of all, he approached it from the point of view of philosophy. He would be having a field day with all the Decon[structionist] interests and philosophy. Now, he'd be riding circles round them on the subject of Wittgenstein. And he wrote in ways I thought quite difficult to understand. But on one level, he was making an overall taxonomy for communication. Very advanced, very difficult to understand, where he had all the arts -- in fact, my field, architecture, was there in a category -- I think it was called artifacture for the things that you make that are arts. As opposed to the things that you compose as music that are arts, and literature and poetry, etcetera. He seemed like a very, very modest man, and there are many stories about that. People like Henry Cowell, who he was -- he taught Henry Cowell. And Henry Cowell once said, "Charles is an amazing person, because you can steal from him and he doesn't mind." And when Charles was hearing all my problems about attribution, he told me about this story. In fact, Henry Cowell stole avidly from him, and Charles did mind, but he never said. But on one level, he was this great philosopher of all the arts, and he said to me, "I am really very arrogant, because I think I have found the overall philosophy that contains all other philosophies. But no one except me knows about this." That was one level. The other level was getting involved with folk music internationally, all over the world. And during the Depression, he had worked for a section of the WPA to do with folk music and its collection. And then he branched out, and he worked for a group that was involved in Latin America. And he was in Washington at that stage, and it was to do with folk music in Latin America -- collection of folk music. The other, kind of, great folklorical musicologist was Laura Bolton. And it was funny, because for other reasons, I met her. Did I tell you about Julian Levy?

PR: No.

DSB: Remind me to do that. Through Julian Levy I met Laura Bolton. Well, those two were, kind of, the two polar opposites and the two kind of -- in a way -- protagonists of ethno-musicology. Charles then was an early discoverer of popular music. Not only folk music, but popular music. And you can see where Pete and Peggy and Mike, and all the others, got their folk music interests from. And a lot of it was modern day urban folk music. And particularly -- because they were very left-wing -- labor union music, and the music of revolt, of that sort. So Charles was very fascinated by all of this, and I think that his main claim to fame is through bringing pop and folk music -- and with an interest in the popular side of music -- into the Academy. Then, also, in his early days, Charles was a composer. Did I tell you about the story of the music fest for Charles at Berkeley, when he turned ninety?

PR: No. It's not on this tape.

DSB: At the end of the Ethno-musicological Society's annual meeting, they ran a three day fest for Charles. It was a conference on Charles and his music. And some of his pieces were played there. They were sort of a bit like Debussy. Kind of 1910s, 1920s, smart, chic, salon music, you could say. It was difficult to follow, like his prose. There were these two sides of Charles. He didn't continue with that. He'd also wanted to be a concert pianist, and he didn't continue with that. First he was going to be an architect. His parents were friendly with Carrere & Hastings, and they wanted him to be a gentleman architect. He didn't want to be. He wanted to go do this thing about music. He was also -- after he got his degree at Harvard, he was in Germany, and maybe he was still wanting to be a concert pianist then. But he changed. The other side of him was that his second wife -- his middle wife -- was Ruth Crawford. She's become famous through the Womens Movement. She was a composer. And it was very poignant hearing all of the stories about Ruth, and reading her letters. And, of course, that was to do with the bringing up of as many children as she had, I think. Charles had four by his first wife, and three by his second. And somehow, she was involved with all of those kids. So Charles had all of these dimensions in his career. At that time, I was also dating a musicologist from Switzerland, Andres Briener at Penn. Andres got jealous of Charles. So, when I moved from Penn and went first to Berkeley, there was a fantastic ethno-musical conference then, there. And Charles got me tickets and we went together to a lot of these fascinating programs at Berkeley. And then when I moved to UCLA, Charles was the only person I knew, and his building was just across the green from mine. And we'd have our weekly date either at his place or my place. We'd go for a long walk in Will Rogers State Park. Charles could out-pace anyone. And that was the time I was really doing my writing about determinants of urban form, which never got published because it never got funded.

PR: This was going to be the text book?

DSB: This was going to be a book that I wanted to write. I was trying to write it. I got to write seven chapters. Again, I'm jumping ahead of myself. But Charles was very much an advisor about setting up a structure for looking at this kind of material. And also an advisor about dealing with the university, although what could he do, either? He was then an emeritus. He stayed on emeritus for, I think, ten years longer than the absolute final time he was ever meant to be. One other dimension about Charles -- he invented the Seeger melograph. The Seeger melograph could go through tapes of musics from distant lands -- the kind of thing Laura Bolton used to come back with -- all in disarray because she was not very orderly. So, she'd have great contacts with the king of whatever, and be able to get the tape. But it came back not sufficiently labeled, say. I'm not saying that Charles actually -- but that was the kind of problem with ethno-musicology: enthusiastic people who weren't very scientific. He evolved a computer that could "hear the tape" and documented it graphically. And from the graph then allocate to tribes by matching graphs. And he was doing this near his nineties, knowing that he would -- he was at UCLA still on fifth time, or something like that. He was afraid that he might be going senile and not know about it. And I said, (A) he wasn't, and (B) it wasn't his problem, it was their problem. [laughs] So there he was, making this marvelous tape, which he probably wouldn't use, because he'd die before that. But it got finished and it was used for avoiding a human being having to go through all those thousands and thousands of tapes -- sending it through a computer and classifying it that way. Charles was quite scientific enough to do that kind of work, too. So it was a very wonderful relationship for me. And when Bob came along, Charles had to make sure Bob was good enough.

PR: I assume he passed muster. [laughs]

DSB: He passed muster. I think Charles looked several times. He only became really enthusiastic when he came back and saw me in the house, and saw Jimi. Charles said Jimi was very promising. I told him that Jimi had to go for testing at a certain school, which was in a nice, old building in a children's home, and Jimi had jumped out of the window and run away, and had to be caught by all the little boys from the children's home, and brought back. And Charles said, "Sounds promising." [laughs]That conference that was held in Berkeley -- Jimi was six -- that makes it 1977 -- brought all of these musicologists and all Charles' children to celebrate his life. And Charles sat there with great big headphones on his head like this. He looked like a 1914-18 air ace. He ran the conference. And the conference was discussing his ideas. And it started out with "Theory of Language." No. "Theory of Theory," then "Theory of Language," then "Theory of Music." They had a wonderful concert that a million people would have liked to have been at -- the one night -- with all the Seeger children playing. We had asked Peter if he would play "I've Been Working on the Railroad" for Jimi, and Jimi wiggled his way down, and sat on the steps of the foot of the stage in this private house where it was, and Peter forgot. And then I went up to Peter and I said, "You know, you were going to play this for Jimi," and he said, "Oh, I forgot." He and his brothers and sister starting to play, all looking at Jimi, and Jimi started to -- his lip to wobble like this, and he turned away so the audience wouldn't see his tears. He turned toward the stage. It was very moving.

PR: Well, if I understand you correctly, I assume you are suggesting there is a certain parallel between Seeger's studies and your own urban and architectural physiological [?] studies.

DSB: Yes. And I was pleased to have Charles' background and philosophy available to me, but I really don't have that background, and I sort of feel a lack of it a bit now. Because I have a feeling that what's happening around -- architects read one book -- first it's Hannah Arendt and then it's de Saussure. Well, now they're reading Lacan, Derrida and Wittgenstein. Well, I should be able to follow them, because I have a feeling that there's lots of holes in their arguments. And I wish Charles were around to help. I met Pete Seeger as part of all this, and I found Charles more sophisticated than Pete, and I was trying to explain to Pete about our Levittown study. And, of course, he brought up the fact that why did all those people buy ticky-tacky boxes? And I gave him a series of reasons which made him quite thoughtful about the fact that it's easy to think of someone else's house as a ticky-tacky box, and it's probably the children of suburbia who are buying it. Not the adults. And he became quite thoughtful about the notion of not forcing people to live in something they don't want to live in. I also described what a studio was. Pete Seeger's daughter, Mika, whom I knew, got arrested in Mexico and put in a prison. And she was there for nine months. It's a very strange, sad story. It was to do with the Mexican games. And they didn't want any radicals around. And it was kind of related to America. She was suddenly put in prison, and no one could go and help her. When his wife went there to try, they were told, "You better leave or you'll get arrested, too." Lawyers didn't dare take her case. And then all of a sudden, she was brought back and dumped in Texas for no reason, either. But Pete describing what had happened to her said, "She had met the daughters of left-wing politicians in prison, and she got radicalized." And he said, "I guess you could say it was her studio." That was sort of interesting.

PR: Right.

DSB: So much for that. I don't want to push the parallels too much, but it certainly was part of my intellectual growth. I should tell you about Julian Levy very quickly, while we're on the subject, because it's the same time span. Robert and I came with my parents on the Flandres to America. And sitting next to us at the table was a very old American couple. She very decorative indeed with gray hair, up and back, and a large prow, and she'd wear things like black velvet and lace and then coral beads. She dressed beautifully, and we always watched this. And they knew exactly what to eat on the boat. So we would watch them, and order the same things. We kind of semi-smiled, but didn't talk. Then, at the last night, there was the boat party, and he got up, and he was -- because he spoke French and English -- he was American -- he sang. He said, "This is my school song." It was the Beaux-Arts students' marching song, "Les Pompiers de Paris." So, I said, "Are you an architect?" He said, "Yes." I said, "We are, too," and we got talking. It was something like his sixty-seventh trip from Paris. America to Paris. Julian Levy. He was well-known in America. He lived in New York in a fantastic apartment building, in an unbelievable apartment. Well, there again, that became a friendship, and we went to visit them several times. He had a lifetime of travelling and practising architecture. We talked a lot about architecture -- he, Robert and I. Then, when Robert was killed, I went there and talked and met with them. And then when Bob came along, Julian quite openly called Bob "The Villain." I remember Julian kept us standing in his apartment for about three hours with no visible trace of fatigue himself -- just like Charles could out-pace both of us -- showing us the watercolors he had done on his last trip to France. He'd gone in the country and painted watercolors. His watercolors were wonderful. So were his stories about Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier and his own work. Sadly, when Bob and I went to visit him, he couldn't understand Complexity and Contradiction. We'd hoped we'd really get some kind of response from him. Although he'd been a traditional architect, he couldn't understand that. There was a great deal of warmth there. And then, I think, the last time I saw Julian, we were at a dinner together, and that was great. And I was going to sit next to Julian, and then some pretentious busy-body, hostess-type woman, pre-empted Julian, and he was taken away, sort of looking soulfully at me, and I found myself sitting next to another very charming elderly architect, whom I'm very pleased I met, Arthur Holden, who sent me a book of his sonnets. He's capable of doing sonnets on zoning. Now, that's, to me, marvelous. [laughs] That Berlin Tomorrow thing is a sonnet on something. It's written to be poetic, as well as -- and I love that. So I was very pleased to get his sonnets. And I was pleased I had dinner with him that night. But as Julian left to go home, I got up to say goodbye to him, and in front of five hundred or so gathered people, Julian very purposely kissed me on the lips and said, "Goodbye." [laughs] It was wonderful to have had those friendships. Again, I was young, and they were very old, and I really feel I got passed on something, although, as I say, it was mainly with Julian an anecdotal level. He still had his office going, and he didn't want to close it, because he thought that that might kill the last draftsman left. The draftsman was seventy-five years old.

PR: What did he design? I don't know his work.

DSB: He did work for the University of Jerusalem. He did quite a few townhouses in New York, and several big estates in New York. And more than that, I don't remember. But he was famous, and when he died, as I say, his apartment was written up -- he was rich. And he spent many years -- I think it must have been the Bloomingdale family. He and his wife were both born in New York and grew up in New York, but didn't go to Columbia. Maybe Columbia [School of Architecture] wasn't even there. Before the turn of the century, he went to the Beaux-Arts in Paris.

PR: Terrific.

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?

PR: Yes. In fact, in my notes that I've drawn up, I have a number of questions about recent events. Do you want to start with that, and then work back?

DSB: I'd be happy to start with your questions. I think I have a kind of overview of where we are at the moment, which may not answer any of your questions, but it will get us onto the same wavelength if we start with your questions. But I think we shouldn't spend the whole session on the questions, so let's just keep an eye on the time.

PR: Let's start with what you called an overview. Let's talk about that.

DSB: Well, I think your questions would sort of get me started.

PR: Okay.

DSB: So try them, and then I'll divert from them.

PR: Well, I had a number of questions in different areas. I thought I might ask you about the National Gallery in London, and your experiences with that, since this is a building that is recently opened, has been written about extensively in the press, and it's received great accolades from many people. But it's also a building that was built in the midst of quite an architectural debate in England -- in London. And I would like to get your views on -- well, your experiences with building in England. Your views about Prince Charles' writing, and the debate that that has caused in the English press, between Architectural Review and Architectural Design, perhaps. How would you like to address the National Gallery?

DSB: I think I'd like to, in some way, work back to it. In this office, it's the very recent past, but it is, in a way, the past. And it is a milestone. It's funny because the Vanna Venturi House received the twenty-five year award at the same time as the National Gallery came out, and you can say those are two iconic buildings of ours that span that twenty-five year period, too. That what started with the Vanna Venturi House, ended in the National Gallery. While I don't think the end is in sight for us, I would have to say it's some kind of a platform on the way. But I can write a book the length of the one we've already done, on the subject of the National Gallery. And as I say, it's not our immediate experience. Our immediate experience may be more nodal, and in a way, more interesting. So try me in another question.

PR: Very good. What is the immediate experience?

DSB: You've got other questions in your list first.

PR: Does it involve Japan? I know you've been to Japan since we've talked. Was that your first trip?

DSB: Yes. Since January of 1990, I've been three times. I think Bob's been four times to Japan. And we've written that in an article called "Two Naifs in Japan," which is in our book on -- it was our exhibition catalog for the exhibition we had in Japan, to tie in with the promoting of our Knoll Furniture in Japan. The book is very pretty. It's published by Kajima Press, and we spoke about our reactions to Japan. We said "Two Naifs" -- we're not naive, but we tried to cultivate a naive eye for what we could learn. In other words, before judging be receptive. It was very exciting to do that. Bob's probably told you it was as exciting for him as when he first saw Rome. He's been saying that recently.

PR: He hasn't talked much about Japan, on our tapes, and our tapes are finished. Where was the exhibition?

DSB: It was in Tokyo. I feel that that has been written about quite a lot, and there is a written record of what we did in Japan, and in a way, it's maybe not the most important thing. But let's hear the rest of your questions, then, just quickly, and let me kind of try to build a collage out of that.

PR: I also had questions about the planning work that you did mostly in the 1980s, I believe. Advocacy planning, community planning.

DSB: It started in the 1960s, and it really started at Penn. But I started in practice on that kind of work in 1968, I think.

PR: I was hoping you might talk about, at some point in these tapes, about those experiences in Minneapolis, Jim Thorpe, in Austin, in Memphis, in Miami, and talk about some of the problems you've encountered, what's become of those plans, how you structured research for those plans, and so forth. I was hoping also, in a somewhat related matter, you might elaborate on a quote that I came across in some of your writings or interviews with you. And it went something like this, when you were talking about planning in the 1980s. You said that you "found value in the studio curriculum, which is now being introduced in some schools. But not before the firm suffered as architects and urban designers, at the hands of planners, who learned nothing about architecture or urban design." I was wondering if you would address that statement. Maybe elaborate on it. Talk about, I guess, your firm's relationship, the work in relationship to planners who seem to know nothing about architecture or urban design.

DSB: That's even out-dated, at this point.

PR: Okay.

DSB: That statement -- it's changed somewhat. It's now urban designers who know nothing about architecture or planning. But that's because the whole structure of the planning profession has changed. There just aren't any anymore. And what you meet in the planning agencies is young architects or people with urban design training, and young lawyers. I'm exaggerating rather wildy, but it's a trend. I'd be happy to talk about that.

PR: Bringing things back home a little bit, I was wondering if you would talk about your experiences of working in Philadelphia or lack of work in Philadelphia. You might begin talking a little bit about the South Street projects that you did early on. Talk about any experiences you had with the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. I was wondering if you wanted to address the recent -- I believe it's 1988 -- Center City Plan that this Planning Commission has come out with, and give your views on it. I was going to ask you what you thought about the Civic Center and it's location -- the one being built right now at Arch and 12th Streets in Philadelphia.

DSB: Convention Center.

PR: Convention Center. And also in Philadelphia, perhaps you'd want to talk about Orchestra Hall, the problems of building in Philadelphia. Perhaps your views on Philadelphia -- what's wrong with Philadelphia, what's right with Philadelphia, and so forth. I was also going to ask you in a general way -- you once described Las Vegas as a jolt, a clash that stimulated thought -- kind of gets one out of an aesthetic rut. I was going to ask you if there were other jolts that you've experienced in your life -- in your travels, and so forth. I was wondering, is Japan -- your experiences in Japan -- is that a jolt?

DSB: Yes. That's another one.

PR: I was hoping you might talk about those. That's pretty much what I've outlined. I wanted to also ask you about certain views on Postmodernism. I wanted to ask you, in relation to planning, about who has, you feel, may have misinterpreted your work. Which architects, designers -- are going off in a direction that perhaps you never anticipated your writings would have engendered. [laughs] I wanted to ask you about planning in America -- small town planning, community planning, residential planning. I wanted your views on Duany and Plater-Zyberk's Seaside, Florida. I believe you're building now in Florida, or have done planning in Florida, with Breakers West. And I was wondering how that compares to, say, Seaside, Florida. And how you see this whole body of work in the 80s. Do you see it as a kind of escapism, or the outcome of Reagan government -- Reagan policy? Whether you think this is the right track America should be on, or if we are missing some very serious social problems in the course of it. So I guess related to that is the issue of value judgements in architectural planning. That's what I've drawn up as a possible series of topics we might discuss. And perhaps you have other things in mind.

DSB: I'm confused, I think, because in a funny way, they don't really speak to where I am right now -- where Bob is right now. And in a way, some of them belong in that broader structure that I said next time we should try to sketch out, about the intellectual and artistic life of this firm, from 1965. Unfortunately, I haven't even taken you through Berkeley and UCLA, which if I haven't, that also kind of -- there's a gap before the time of -- 1965 is kind of a point of departure, in the sense that the Vanna Venturi House was built. And also that I went away to California, and Bob went away to teach at Yale. We grew, and things started to happen then. [Interruption -- Tape Off/On] So that there's an intellectual life in practice to be described. And these pieces fit in with that. And we're at a kind of nodal point in that life, which is very besetting to us at the moment. And a lot of things have changed for us just recently, and we're still looking to see what those changes are all about. And in a way, that's what grips me at the moment.

PR: Let's talk about that now.

DSB: On one level, when John Rauch left the firm -- and there's a story around that to tell one day, but not now. But he had been called our managing partner. In actual fact, he had been doing less and less management for a decade. And the management structure was growing by delegating. And I was taking over more and more. I'd always been involved in this firm in marketing, and in high level policy. But I found I had to begin to think much more structurally about something that I didn't think that I had any reason to be involved in. I, in fact, kept away from it because it was John's bailiwick. And also, the three of us were working together. I had strengths, John had strengths, and Bob had strengths. And then as John began to recede, probably to do with changes in his life -- he divorced and remarried. He didn't seem to have the economic urges he had before. And we were also growing very fast, and were the kind of firm he wasn't used to, with lots and lots of people around. And he always played his cards close to his chest -- rode on horseback through projects. And the structure of practice was changing. You can't do that anymore. You have to be much more organized, much more thoughtful about how you structure things, deal with contracts in a way that he didn't like to deal with, have a lot of people involved in a discussion about contracts. All of this. And he had left on a sabbatical a few years before, to kind of re-think. We were happy that we could afford to pay him for his sabbatical. And a little envious, too. We chugged along pretty well without John for six months, but at the end of 1988, I think it was, he left. And suddenly, the firm was our own, and it was, in a way, wonderful. And Bob and I had the sort of sense of euphoria about running it. But there were some hidden factors in there, which came out rather sharply after he left, to do with the organization of some of our very big projects. And we got very much involved with managing our own firm, and drawing in all the people who should have had authority delegated to them long before. And whether I liked it or not, I was really running most of this organizational change. I quickly got the help from our lawyer, Morris Kellett, particularly on contracts, and on some of the places where the jobs needed help with strategizing, as we began to think of our strengths among the people who were here, as we began, all pulling together to deal with a situation which was very challenging for us. And it's infinitely much better the way it is, but it's a great deal of work, and all this hit at the same time, as we began to see -- you may know that architectural projects are what they call "front loaded," and this means that it's worked out in such a way that you make money in the first phases, and you lose money in the end phases. And you have to be very clever and understanding about keeping the money to do the work later. Well we began to see that there hadn't been sufficient thought about this, and that we really had to -- And it wasn't only a question of that, but really the scope of the work had been very far beyond the contracts that had been negotiated. And our project managers hadn't been told to watch this, and claim additional services as the scope grew bigger. So no one was doing that, which is what a manager of the overall should have been pushing them to do. No one's ever going to do that again in this office. Or in Michael Graves' office. I heard Karen Nichols, his manager, and I were both at a conference where we discussed office management. And she said, "I say to my project managers, 'You don't know what an additional service is, I'll tell you what an additional service is.'" And I came back and I reported to our associates, "She says additional service as if she was breathing." It's just her very breath of life comes out with those words. It means that if you are in a contract where the client has tried to keep the money down -- and all clients are trying to do that these days -- you have to define your scope extremely clearly, and anytime they tread over the scope you say, "This will cost extra." And our people were used to times when clients didn't do that. Princeton doesn't do that. Princeton pays you enough in the first place. And they find in the overall, they save money because you don't become an accounts executive and watch every step and say, "Extra money, please." But the other clients aren't like that, and they think they're doing well for themselves by forcing you to charge this. Then your project managers have to divert from the work that they're doing, managing the project, and start counting beans, and saying, "This is extra, that is extra, we won't do this until you give us permission, and that's going to hold up your project," and that has [?] passed, and paperwork accumulates. And this has been a major problem for us over our last few -- some of our last few big projects. Well Bob and I got involved in all of this, and then saving our office in a very, very difficult financial time. And we are a firm that's been rather lucky. I heard of a large firm that we collaborated with in Boston. It was, I think, some hundreds of people when we worked with them. I think the beginning of this year, they were down to thirty -- mid-way through this year twenty, and now ten. And the firms that have worked for developers -- many of them have gone out of business. And famous firms have gone out of business, and some have become skeleton staffs. And here we are at forty people. When we were doing the working drawings of three museums at the same time, we were a hundred people. As our projects have ended, so we've had to let go people who've become our friends, who've worked with us for ten years, twelve years. We also are very carefully analyzing our situation, and we know that the saddest thing in the world is that we are top heavy. But I was talking with Gene Kohn of KPF [Kohn Pedersen Fox], and he says they have the same problem. Which means, you have people that you have trained, who are wonderful, and who've worked with you, and now their hourly rate is too high for the fees that clients are paying you. And architects are also very, very competitive at the moment, and they're spending a great deal of money on producing designs for jobs they're only being interviewed for, and things like that. So clients are again, tamping down fees just as much as they can. In a situation like that, when our very experienced people have come off the National Gallery, we have let them go.

PR: That must be painful.

DSB: Extremely painful. So this is our present. And we're looking at this set of situations, and you see, you're talking to me about planning; I'm talking to you about architectural management at the moment. But we're looking into the future, and some very interesting things have happened. I've had years of thinking about marketing architectural services, and we would talk about marketing when no one else -- when everyone talked about "professional development," but they meant marketing. And we've had a long analysis of our situation, for the kind of firm we are, and we've depended on the analyses of Herbert Gans and his book, Popular Culture and High Culture, the analyses of Weld Coxe and his book on architectural management and architectural firms. And we see that we're a certain kind of firm. We have a national and international market spread very, very thin, and highly competitive. We're in there with Philip Johnson, I.M. Pei, Jim Stirling, [Arata] Isozaki, [Aldo] Rossi, Steven Holl. There's a new group coming in. It's a market that follows trends. You're out, because the new group is in. And it's a market that we have to get up at five in the morning a whole lot too often, to fly to the places where the jobs are, because Philadelphia wouldn't support that market by itself. Only one job in Philadelphia in a decade will be in that market. Maybe two. And that's true for every city. So understanding that, we have to find our clients and define our clients, and we have a client profile. And it may be a young poet doing a house in Katonah, or it may be the President of Princeton, or the head of urban renewal in Iraq, but they're the same kind of person. They like to match wits with us. They want to be challenged by a project. They want to be very involved with the project. And we have to find those clients wherever we find them. Frances and Sydney Lewis of BEST Products, Rifaat Chadirji from Baghdad. So knowing that, we get a feeling for the people who will hire us, and the people who won't. Dartmouth Library has just hired us, and I could see that the decision was going to be made by Jim Freedman, the President, with some help by John Strohbehn. We nurtured that project for years, and that's the way we're finding work. If we're just called in through an RFP [request for proposal] to interview in Cincinnati, we won't get the work. You'll find that, in fact, the local will probably get it, and the local has been nurturing it for years, and we're there to make a good show. So we're trying to cold turkey on reactive JD [job development], to use our jargon. Just decide not to go for a project where we think that they'll want us there because they'll say, "Let's have Bob Venturi to see what he looks like. He's free." We have to try to spot those.

PR: It's very costly.

DSB: Very costly. And the balance between that kind of looking for work and doing the work has gone crazy in every office in Philadelphia at the moment, and every office in America at the moment, I would imagine, bar a very, very few. But meanwhile, what's happened is that during this time, where we are battling to get that kind of work -- and as I say, we've just got this wonderful job from Dartmouth, and another very wonderful job from Yale, through the choice of the actual President. When we go and interview with a committee at Yerba Buena, of citizens, even if they like the look of us, they choose someone else who's sort of easier to like. So we have to cold turkey in going and talking to the people in Yerba Buena, in San Francisco, because we just won't get the job, even though we hope we would. We let our hopes fool us sometimes. In fact, a couple of times I've actually called the client rep and I've said, "Tell me, is this job wired?" which means someone's already got it, and you're just there for show. He'd say, "No, no, no. Of course not. It isn't wired." And I'm gesticulating as I'm talking. And in those actual jobs, we got the job. It's funny. If I took the risk to ask them the question, we got the job. Should I try it the next time? The only job recently that we've got through that kind of cold interview process -- that is people send you an RFP [request for proposal] or you send in an answer to the CBD [Commerce Business Daily] -- is the National Museum of the American Indian. And that's very indicative. We're looking hard to see why we would get that work that way, why we got campus planning work in that way, and that's my work. At the moment, I think I'm keeping about seven people in the office going, which is a much higher ratio than usual for planning work. And we're beginning to think that at the moment, even when institutions are building, they can't get the funding, and they go on these long funding holds, and you never know when you'll start up again. That's happened with the Philadelphia Orchestra Hall [POH]. And suddenly you've got three people working on a job, and next week they've got no job at all. And you try very hard to carry them. We carried that one project manager for POH for two years, and now he's leaving. He could see what was happening, and he found himself a job with a firm that works in the health sciences, which is where there's work still. And he's leaving with sorrow. He's been with us ten years. But he could see that we're top heavy, and for his future and -- we know we're a training institution. We know people come to us as a kind of a finishing school, and then move on and start their own firms. And with many of those, we work again. Ron McCoy in Los Angeles, Bob Renfro in Austin, Fred Schwartz in New York -- these are all people that we've had -- Jeff Ryan in Rice, in Houston. These are all people that we've had local or national relationships with, after they've left us. So we know that this is going to happen. And in this way, we will stop being top heavy eventually, and we'll be able to fill out again with younger people, and keep going. But the nature of our work is going to be, I think, more balanced. National Museum for the American Indian is programming work. It's a marvelous job, and I'm having a great time, and it's keeping --

PR: Where is this going to be built? In Washington?

DSB: The buildings will be on the Mall in Washington, and in Suitland, Maryland, in their large storage archival system there, to be in both places. And I'm working with my project manager, Ann Trowbridge, and we have a project architect, Jamie Kolker, and a low level -- student level -- person. We're keeping all those people at work, and it's very fascinating work. But we won't be the architects. We made a very careful decision. We said we had very little chance to be the architects, but we have a good chance, because we can offer something in programming and in campus planning that planners can't and architects can't. So we have a kind of competitive edge in a field which is continuing now, even at a time when architecture is not being commissioned. I was saying that a project like Philadelphia Orchestra Hall, we have a great struggle, we get the project, and it goes on hold for funding. Meanwhile, there are institutions who are in another way, thinking of their future: universities and some art museums. We worked with Houston Museum of Fine Arts. It was donated several blocks of land around it in Houston. We helped them in a planning, urban design and programming study. And again, they interviewed other architects and planners, and they couldn't give them this combination. We could help them work out what buildings to put on which sites, when. And what activities to put in the buildings. Both things. And we could do that by working with the city, and working out where the loading should go, and their access, and the parking should go, and the people should come from. We got a kind of coherent urban design structure, which then led into the public -- civic parts of the galleries. Now the whole gallery is civic, but as Lou used to say, there is a street that goes through the building, and that's a kind of a civic street, and that's the circulation spaces. So that the outside spaces lead into the main circulation spaces in the building. And this is a development of philosophy that comes from our working with Lou Kahn, but also my working -- studying urban transportation. And if I were talking to you about our whole career, I'd show you how this notion of the street and the building being the common room space for the students, and the eddying and flow space, where you have notices and coffee machines, and that ties into outdoor space -- I could take you on a sequence of our institutional buildings which -- [end of side one, tape seven]

DSB: That idea in the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, was the one that linked the urban sites that we had, the outside and the inside, and the programming all together. And the other architects they interviewed couldn't give them a concept like that. The planners couldn't do architectural programming. The architects couldn't think through a public sector concept, which would join the whole thing. The architects couldn't help them evolve a process that would get all their organizational stakeholders participating -- take all the museum curators through a process which they felt that they could contribute to, and deal with the trustees -- in a way I do with an urban project. Which, again, I haven't developed for you how I've learned to get consensus in urban projects through advocacy planning. But we take the same lessons right into the National Gallery, to the extent we were allowed to. And certainly into any situation where a director when asked, "How are you going to organize decision making on this project?" doesn't answer, "Mind your own business," as they did on the National Gallery. So if a Director will be open to listening, we can help them structure a process useful to them, to help get consensus on what's happening as it goes through, so it isn't vetoed later.

PR: It sounds critical to public and private institutional work.

DSB: Very much so. Yes.

PR: So are there no other firms that you find comparable in their multi-dimensional aspects?

DSB: Yes. Planners do that in cities, but then when planners start talking to museums, they don't know how to analyze their facilities. They don't know how to go through their existing building and look at that. They don't know how to program activities in the building. They don't know how to talk about art with trustees. There's all sorts of levels that because of our -- you see, when I turned fifty, I began to realize that any experience I came across, I'd had three times before. And this whole breadth of what we've done, we can bring to any one project. So we can produce a very, very rich mix. And I'm working now in Denver. I finished the project in Houston. In Denver, I'm helping three institutions at the edge of the Civic Center plan together what they should share. Help organize their sharing on their sites which they've acquired at the Civic Center, and help the overall Civic Center to pull its weight in the Denver city and region, and also help develop the area that's now a kind of a wilderness to the south of them. So again, it's planning, programming, consensus building, kibitzing with directors -- it's the whole thing, all put together. Institutional philosophical planning and its physical implications. And it's something I love doing. And again, they said to us when they chose us, "We like the way you think." And I've got a bit of philosophy for everything they ask about. Like they say, well, the last time the Director of the Historical Society -- that's the third institution we're working with -- he said, "Do you have a picture plane?" And what he meant is, "In all these trends and all these plans you're making, is there a point where you put a plane -- like a photographic plane -- and get a photo of the building at this time?" which is a pretty nice analogy.

PR: Yes.

DSB: Well, it triggered in me a discussion of staging. I started out by telling him, "You know, we always used to have the stage called the year 2020. Some where far in the future. And it's called the 'perfect vision year.' And I'm not too very interested in it myself. I'm much more interested in what you do right in the immediate one to three year level; and in making a very good, strong first step, which then allows quite a few options open for the year 2020, because I'm not a prophet." But I said, "I realize there is a validity to the year 2020, and that long range planning, where you define that long range year, has a lot to do with your own age. And the older you get, the shorter the long range becomes." Well, I heard them laughing about all this, but by the end I could say, "Look. We have four picture planes in your terms. The stage zero to three years, four to seven years, seven to fifteen years, and thereafter." So, now, that's a lifetime that I could put into a little compendium for them, but they never thought of staging that way. And already they had a whole --

PR: What were their terms for staging?

DSB: They didn't know. They talked about a picture plane.

PR: So they were envisioning a building, perhaps.

DSB: They were envisioning some buildings, but the librarian had been saying, "If you produce a building, it's not what I'm looking for." So I'm helping them, and the first things I showed them didn't have buildings. They had blobs in places where buildings might be. I reassured the librarian, but made one of the curators a little impatient because he wants to see buildings. And then you have to listen to the dynamic of that meeting. And I could see the suppressed impatience of the one guy -- the suppressed worry of the other, and so it goes.

PR: Yes. What means have you relied on, or come to rely on, to convey your ideas? I mean, you've got words and pictures at hand. Have you had to be innovative in that way? Have you had to -- has it effected your presentation style?

DSB: Absolutely. I once wrote a little article called "Drawing for the Deco District." Again, I can write a whole book on that very subject, because of my years of experience. And I pointed out how in the Deco District, the old people from Miami Beach who used to come to the meetings didn't see very well. And you'd hear them -- and they didn't hear very well -- so you'd hear them saying much too loud at the meetings, "I can't see what she's talking about." [laughs] And there was one marvelous meeting that Steve Ize [Steven Izenour] went to, and there had been a series of architects making presentations. And a lot of the elderly would come to these meetings because there was a lot of food there. And Steve Ize heard them grumbling and complaining, as all these rather pompous architects got up and presented their schemes, and all the old people were walking out and all of that. And then Steve got up and he started, and he heard one old person yelling outside to another, "You can come back in now, Hilda. This one you'll understand." [laughs] So we've had a lot of discussion and thought about how you present -- I always say to people here -- because architects draw to present at a table. I said, "Put your drawing up, and old people, like me, with my eyes, have to see it from thirty feet. Can you see it from thirty feet?" It means different size presentation, and also -- look at this one here, of Orchestra Hall. These figures can be seen from far. These are much too small.

PR: The key [to the charts].

DSB: The key is much too small for a public meeting. If you took a slide of this, these would read on the slides. This would not read on the slide, so it's not right for a public meeting. And then look how big all these are.

PR: The lettering.

DSB: Yes. And the main titles. That's not something a community needs to see big, on a slide. You can make that, in fact, small. So you reverse your lettering style for public work. So I'm trying to train architects here. But there's many other things like -- in Miami Beach, we found that they just didn't -- our beautiful architectural style of drawing, they didn't understand. And we started looking around, and then I found postcards of 1940, of the Deco hotels. And I remembered Morris Lapidus saying that he designed his hotels to be like what Valhalla would mean for people from the garment industry coming to Miami Beach. And Valhalla for them was Hollywood in the '30s and early '40s. And thinking about that, I looked at those postcards, and I said, "That's their image of Miami Beach." I said, "From now on, we're going to put blue skies on our drawings for Miami Beach." And Fred Schwartz was doing a lot of my urban design work then -- it's interesting. I trained him to be an urban designer, and then he went to New York and ran our Westway Project -- and Fred Schwartz said he didn't think these drawings were quite the VRSB [Venturi, Rauch and Scott Brown] image, and that he wasn't sure he liked them. I said, "No, Fred. But your grandmother would." And here's the drawing we're talking about. Look at the blue sky.

PR: Oh, yes.

DSB: And the luscious landscape, and the awnings. That was the kind of drawing we did for Miami Beach. But there's many other ways to think about drawings, and the level of detail you put at any one time. We thought a great deal about drawing for Learning From Las Vegas because an urban plan -- land use planning -- doesn't show the diversity and vitality of Las Vegas, nor does orthographic projection from architecture because the signs are so thin, and yet their effects are so dominating. So we tried to think of many different techniques for suggesting the vitality of electro-graphics, which show on a site plan as a teeny little cross, where the stanchion for the billboard is. So we pondered that problem in all sorts of ways. And at planning school we were always taught to distinguish between a recommendation, a projection, and a depiction of something existing -- you see, those three things. So that a design is a recommendation. But if there's a piece of it which is existing, and a piece of it you're predicting -- "if we do this, the private sector will do that" -- you want to find a way of showing a kinetic in a drawing. So we experimented with lots of ways of doing that. But now, with these projects for Denver -- I'm also working for Penn [University of Pennsylvania] in master planning, and we've been working for Dartmouth -- we look for techniques that show the right level of information at the time. The Nolli Map of Rome, 1749, has been very inspiring for us, and it shows streets and public places in white; private blocks, private properties hatched grey; and public buildings through their poché. And that map which shows the public and the private, and the civic -- you could say, in Rome -- has been terribly important to us. And we made a Nolli map of Las Vegas, and I made Nolli maps to show these institutional people the relation between outside urban space, and the inside main spaces of their galleries. And they seem to work very well. I've got some here. This is the museum. We found a way of making plans -- making reports which are rather cheap -- through desk-top publishing.

PR: The example that Denise is looking at is the Master Plan for the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

DSB: It's an eleven by seventeen xeroxed document, which allows room for a map with a text. And here are all my Nolli maps of alternatives of how to develop these sites with Mies's [Ludwig Mies van der Rohe] existing building -- very beautiful. Here's the Noguchi [Isamu Noguchi] sculpture court. Here's the contemporary museum, and here's the Glassell School of the museum. Here are properties that they have acquired. And another one to the north. And there's one over here. There's five properties in all, and we have to make suggestions for how to use them. And we suggested various alternatives, which we gave different kinds of names. This one's called "Fred Harvey." I look for picturesque names for these alternatives, so people will remember them. And this is called "Inflected," which is the one they liked. And here, you see it in a bigger region. I want to show you --

PR: Do you work with computers in your office?

DSB: Yes, when it's necessary, and when it's suitable. This perspective was generated from a computer base. I've seen another firm's work of computerizing their urban design projects, and it came out very dead. If we had a computer map for this area of Houston, we would use it. I think we know better about line weight than most computer operators, so we can produce pretty artistic computer drawings. And our National Gallery drawings are many of them done by computer, and they're wonderful. But only because the people who do them are very talented delineators in the first place. So you can do beautiful computer drawings, and you can do lousy ones, depending on how talented you are in the first place, as a draftsperson. But here you can see a suggestion for -- this is really a Nolli map. And we've said that there's a "public sector" going through the museum. It is, in fact, the circulation space. And here we're suggesting an addition to the museum on two other sites with its own public sector. And here's the overall public sector. Our problem is that on this site that they want to be a campus in Houston, two of the main roads of Houston go through. And we had to work by people there producing information for us, and something made me intuit right from the start -- because Houston wants tunnels because of their climate, and also skyways because of their climate -- and I said, "Right from the start, I need to know what the utilities are under Main Street." Now, usually as an architect, you don't think to check that out at the start. Something warned me -- I don't know. Maybe because it was called Main Street. We found they have an eighty-four inch diameter storm sewer going under Main Street. If they want to re-route it, it'll cost them a million and a half dollars, just to move it. So it's funny how you get a sort of sense of what's going to be a detail that's no detail, at the beginning. And then, here is another scheme. That's called "Main Street Focus." And this one is called "Inflected," and this is the scheme they chose, and I think it's pretty wonderful. It says, "Given all these blocks as separate -- and you're really not going to be able to bridge or anything like that, or get a sense of anything more than suggesting an overall -- take the curve . . . ." We had a marvelous time analyzing this site, and learning how the blocks got their shapes. It was because -- this was one private plat, and this was another, in the early days in Houston. And it was highly individualistic. And these individuals didn't want people going off and looking at other people's plats, so they made the roads not go through. This was a method of adjusting between these two different plats, and these roads were fixed up and realigned. You see these funny set of roads here?

PR: Yes.

DSB: They were realigned later. So that's how this shape came. The curve on the Mies building came from the shape of the site. And it was very interesting to, kind of, go through what must have been his thought processes, and find we agreed with him on how he did his building. But since there was a curve of this sort on the site, we said all you could do to suggest a linkage between these three is make another curve on this site, in that direction like that. So they're two separate buildings carefully organized for service access and for many other things. But they have a sense of one facade. And that's the best that we could do. And Peter Marzio, the Director [Houston Museum of Fine Arts], loved that. And here it is. And here's our street going through our building, as you know it does in the National Gallery.

PR: I was going to say, it reminds one of the National Gallery.

DSB: Yes. And if you look at Seattle, you'll find a street going through the building, and if you look at the Laguna Gloria, you'll find another one. So it is a theme in most of our campus work -- the same thing. If you look, also, at Bob's very early Columbus, Indiana, City Hall, it's also got a street going through the building. And if you look at Richardson's Sever Hall [Henry Hobson Richardson], it too, has a street going through the building. And I think Bob learned from there. And the rooms are very simple. What's unusual is the street space that goes through. And I think that's something of our philosophy. And Mies's too, to some extent. His rooms are very simple, too.

PR: Well, essentially isn't what you're calling a street space traditionally the public space in any building?

DSB: Yes, but you see, this is a public building. The whole thing is public. So it's difficult to say that this is the public space in a public museum. But it is the main movement space. And in the National Gallery, we thought of that as a problem in transportation, as we have before. That is, on a Sunday of crowds going fifteen abreast. And what they needed to have was a civic welcome through this building. And that space is shaped to take a large crowd of people flowing in and through it. And very beautifully thought through from that point of view. And in the galleries themselves. One, the Central Gallery, is a large central hall. At the very busiest times, most people could walk through that and take a glimpse in to a certain room, and if it's very full, pass to another room, and come back to it later. And it was a funny story. On opening day, Angelica Rudenstine told us that just that happened. And you know, there's this marvelous little room with the Piero della Francesca's in it. There's a long story about how we managed to get them into that room. We had quite a big fight, but they finally acceded. And it's just one of the perfect little rooms of Europe for those three little paintings. And she was behind a man who took a peak in, which we planned for people to see if it was very, very full. They'd go, and they'd come back. But he called back to his wife. He said, "You don't have to come into here. That's a dead end." [laughs] "You don't have to come into that. That's a dead end."

PR: Right.

DSB: That's gone through the whole art world, I think.

PR: Yes.

DSB: So this is a method of documenting to get museum people to understand the relations between the outdoor space and the indoor space, and get a feeling of the grand civic spaces that you could have in a museum. And the Houston director liked it for another reason, which has to do with consensus. He said, "When people get excited about this [overall concept], they'll see their own personal needs in another perspective," If they get a rather small office somewhere, tucked off in the corner, they'll see why. And they already bought into -- because, you know, if you talk to a faculty person about what they want for their office, they'll say, "Well, I need my credenza behind my desk, and I need six inches more than I have in this office." And that's all they need -- that's all they know about what they want in their building. To get their vision to something larger than that, you have to work quite hard. And then suddenly, they catch on, and they begin to think, "Well, I'd love a view of the mountains," or "I had a wonderful feeling in a patio once. Could we have . . .?" -- and suddenly they begin to get a sense of something else.

PR: Different kinds of needs.

DSB: Yes. And different options that you could have. Well he felt that this would do it for his staff.

PR: Now, what is your hope? This is a plan. This is a master plan. Correct?

DSB: Yes.

PR: What is your hope, or how do you anticipate Houston may use this -- might use this? If you say you're not going to be the architects on this?

DSB: Well, first of all, let me tell you this. In this project, we would have taken this project no matter what, because it's a wonderful project. But obviously, we hope to be the architects on this.

PR: Okay.

DSB: That may or may not come about. If we are the architects, we go right on working with them and these ideas. If they choose another architect, I will say to them, "In fairness, and because this is a process I believe in, I have given guidelines working from the city, in, and from your programming, outward. Now, they're going to be testing" -- and we've tested this to some extent, because you must. You can't just say, "Here are the guidelines," without testing it.

PR: Right.

DSB: "But as they begin to work on the specifics of this building, from the inside out, they're going to feed you information. And the two may fight." Take the National Gallery. There's a facade on the outside, and then there's another facade on the inside. The one relates to the needs of the inside, and the one to the needs of the outside. And if you've seen that marvelous picture of the National Gallery during the demonstration over the Iraq war, and there's all the "Peace Now" signs, right there, in front of our plaza. Here it is. You can see it up here. So here's something which isn't a plaza until people have a demonstration. Then you see it is a plaza. And here's our building, heaving up with -- on its grand scale over the heads of the "Peace Now" signs, and the red flags. That's wonderful. In fact, I'll tell you a little story about that. I'll tell you right now. It's all out of sequence, but still. I had to give a talk to Architects, Designers, and Planners for Social Responsibility at the AIA Convention. It was the very end of the convention, and most people had left, and only about thirty people came, and then suddenly, they told me it was the best talk in the whole convention. That's the story of my life. But anyway, I gave them a talk about social responsibility in architecture, and I used the National Gallery as an example. Because I said, "In the end, you're going to have to be responsible in the work you do. Not only by designing peace parks." And I said, "You know, I'm not against the design of peace parks, as long as it doesn't teach architects that they can solve all problems through design, and as long as you realize that there are some problems which need economic solutions and political solutions. And to offer a building when there's hunger, may not be the right way to think about it. And as long as you don't think that, then I really don't have any criticism of designing a peace park, and in fact, we have designed a peace park. There it is." But that's probably the way to design a peace park, while you do something else. The scales on that National Gallery are just marvelous for a huge urban purpose. A huge world purpose. And that's -- the scales are mediated, as they are in Seattle, and in all our other buildings, from the individual through the community, to the nation. But we have big jumps in scales in our buildings. We don't just take a hierarchy, sort of colors of the rainbow. We put the orange with the black, or whatever it is you don't do on a rainbow. And that's what I think makes our urban monumentality human, eroded, and also right. So where was I? How did I get to talking about that kind of monumentality? What question did you ask me about?

PR: One question was about how this might be realized, and you were saying how --

DSB: Oh, yes. I would say to the Director, "When your architect that you choose begins to say, "Look. This doesn't really quite work this way. In essence or in principal, yes. But you know, I need to change it. These rooms -- the sequence is going to be different in here. And even on the facade, the rhythms are going to be different." I'd say, "Fine. Argue back." In the same way as in zoning legislation, provisions for waivers are built in. That's why I think zoning is a much better regulatory method than design review, which tends to be hierarchic, authoritarian and chaotic. Zoning has precedent built in, and the notion is you temper justice with compassion. In the same way, there should be a give and take -- the testing of the individual site should tell you something again about the overall. So I would say this is a guideline. It isn't built in stone yet, and it shouldn't be. And there should be some mediating between the two. So now, where are we? We've gone all over the place. I've been telling you about present projects and the present things we're thinking about, and how things I haven't told you about, something like how we did advocacy planning is translating itself into how we work with museums. And at Denver, we've had citizen groups. We have a consultant who's there to help tie-in the local communities. We're working with black communities, Native American communities, Chicano communities. All of my advocacy work, I've been able to turn into museum work or any work that I do. So what started on South Street, has spread out all over the place -- the kind of projects we organized on South Street. And of course, those came out of the early days of advocacy planning at Penn.

PR: And it seems the projects you enjoy most serve a wide clientele -- a wide public. Many different users.

DSB: Yes. But it is good to have someone who has their own methods of working. In other words, if the project -- Bob is very upset these days about committees where everyone is a bit of an expert, and the thing just waivers all over the place. In the National Gallery at a certain point, they were making refined aesthetic decisions by putting them to a vote of the overall of the Board. Like, "Should we have a window in the end wall? Seven voted for it; eight voted against it. We won't have it." And these were people who we never even met. And things just couldn't go on that way. And eventually they called for some advice from Neil Rudenstine and Angelica Rudenstine, who had run all the projects at Princeton. Neil -- and Angelica is an art historian and a friend of all of theirs. They helped them devise what Simon [Sainsbury] wouldn't let me do. He wouldn't let me suggest ways of organizing their side of thing, although I'm very experienced at it. He let Rudenstine do it. And they got themselves a narrowed down steering group, which was given responsibility by the larger group, that could work with us. It took about a year to get though. So that kind of situation that I'm working in in Denver -- we're certainly not going to a community and saying, "Now, you design this." And we're working with many different levels of people around these museums. There's a steering group that's made up of the three directors and two other people. And that's the small scale group. And they have a client project manager, and that's the kind of day-to-day group that we work with. And in fact, in an emergency, if we have a decision to be made, we can call three people. And that's what you have to do, because otherwise you can't get decisions made. Then there is a Faculty Task Force, and that's made up of sort of senior faculty of the three organizations. And then we suggested to them that they go -- they do cross-cuts of staff of the different organizations. All the people who are involved with maintenance and security, and the three of them get together. When they get together they have a great deal of fun, and they say, "Why didn't we do this twenty years ago?" So we are a catalyst for a lot of good organization, which is part of our job. And then we get the curator-types together, across the three institutions. Now, they've met before, and they also meet on the Staff Task Force. And we take notes at what they say, and these notes are going to be very important in formulating their program. We get the research people and the conservation people and the exhibit-producing people, and all of these meeting together under our aegis and take notes on what they say. But again --

PR: So those are your research tools.

DSB: Well, there are other research tools, as well.

PR: Yes.

DSB: But they're listened to, and what they've said is taken down. But those people aren't going to make the decisions. The steering group is going to make the decisions. And every group has its own methods of doing these things. Some are very autocratic. Others are very democratic. You can go overboard in either direction. And we're there to kind of warn -- this is probably not a good system; this probably is a good system. But we'll try to do it the way you want to do it. Here are some of our concerns. But to be explicit about things like that. There was a situation that Bob had a while back. He just -- Houston Children's Museum -- a group of young women trustees and a museum head who is -- she hasn't got through her adolescent rebellion yet. [end of side two, tape seven] I'm a feminist, but I also know that one of the results of a women's movement is a lot of anger at authority, quite well placed. But nevertheless, if you had an elderly male architect and a young woman director, either she's just sure he's going to be a sexist and over-run her -- and curators always feel that architects are going to over-run them. Curators are a kind of an oppressed race, and they do manipulative -- they do passive aggression. The psycho-dynamic of an art museum can kill you, and it can certainly kill the design. So if they are just sure that this great architect is -- he's going to be heartless about their needs. And Bob's great ability is to arrive much more quickly than most people at a solution that's right -- functionally right. And he can do it quickly, and he just knows that this is the right one. But arriving at a solution means always trade-offs. And people who don't know about architecture can say, "Oh, but you left out the closet," and the answer is, "Look at everything that you've got. Now, if you put the closet in here, you'll lose" -- "Well, we don't know about that." You see?

PR: Yes.

DSB: Well, for the amount that they could afford to pay, there's no way that Bob can come five days a week and sit with them and hold their hands, and take them through the whole procedure. But Jeff Ryan, our former associate and our local architect there -- I sat with him on the phone at great length, and I said, "You're going to have to do this." And I kind of coached him on what I saw the problem was. "The great architect is going to suppress us, he's going to oppress us. Show us. We won't take anything on faith." Which is not nice, particularly when you're not paying very much. So he spent eight hours with those people. They said, "Well, why don't you try it this way." Okay, here it is; now, look, this is a problem. "Oh, yes. Well, try it that way." And at the end of eight hours, they said, "Well, why don't you bring this around here?" He said, "Okay. Here it is." And then he took out Bob's drawing, and he said, "Here it is." And they were very embarrassed. And then I went down to the next meeting, and I said, "You're busting Jeff's budget, and this is Bob's great talent. That's what he can do for you. You took eight hours. He can find that in one hour. That's what he offers you. But he doesn't have the sitzfleisch" -- and I used that word advisedly, because most of them were young Jewish women -- "He doesn't have the sitzfleisch to sit with you and do that with you." And then Bob went down the next time. He said, "I don't know what you said to them, but they're much better now."

PR: [laughs] Very good school marm. You scolded them.

DSB: Well, you can't do that too often.

PR: Right.

DSB: But it's a funny -- the sad thing is that Bob's right and I'm right. That is, you do have to find a way to take the guff that people want to give. And at the same time, he's right. They should trust more. He's putting out his whole heart and soul for them. He's making himself sick for them. He's doing anything that's needed for the building. But they can't get that feel from him. And it's a very sad thing, what's happening, when you no longer have great individuals running things. You know, when you no longer have autocrats saying, "I like that," the way Hearst did with his castle.

PR: You need a benevolent dictator.

DSB: But you shouldn't have to.

PR: Right.

DSB: So anyway, Lew Sharp, who's the Director at the Denver Museum -- and he's a real visionary. He's a nice person, and I enjoy working with him very much. He said to me the other day, "You're so patient," and of course, I hadn't even realized I was being patient. How do you want to go further? [Tape Off/On] I've been working at Penn on its planning, ever since I was a student there, because we always mined the community around and the university itself for problems. And as a faculty member, I also structured a problem myself for a studio on 40th Street, where it starts in Woodland Cemetery, and ends in the park. And what should happen in all the communities along 40th Street, as it goes along the university, and various other things. And I lived on Spruce and 40th Street. And I fought a battle when I was at Penn against the construction of the superblock, and I was against Holmes Perkins there, because it was his concept. And I really fought for the old fraternity buildings to remain, and that we should wind in and out of them dormitory buildings, making courts on that site. And the great irony is that I'm now working on a project doing just that -- putting back all those things that they removed. But basically, I've been hired by Penn as a master planner, working in the way that I've learned was the best way to work, by doing the same thing as at Dartmouth. Working at the level of the most senior planning there is. Not physical planning; that's institutional planning. And there's a director at sort of highest level of planning there, and there's a senior planning group. And they are the group I work with. And then, also with the facilities people, and the campus planner. But the thing is being run at a much higher level than that. And it really is a question again of taking the institution's philosophy of itself, and its philosophy of teaching, and its philosophy of development -- academic, financial, whatever kind -- and working out the physical implications of it. And again, I need to use all the philosophy that I've learned over the years. And first of all, find philosophies, and then these can lead to physical solutions. And so on one level, we're documenting districts and precincts, and thinking in the broadest way about how the different parts of Penn should grow. Another way we're dealing with what could be called brush fires, but they are rather important things, like there's going to be a new Campus Center. And there's been two sites. And helping them work out -- it wasn't up to us to say which site it will go on. It would be up to the donor to decide, and the highest level people in the institution to decide. But once they've decided, telling them about the nature of relationships around that site, that they could use or might have to protect against. And therefore, building up the whole movement system around the site, the pattern of access to the site: pedestrian, service -- everything. Uses around the site as these would begin to relate. This site set within the city of Philadelphia, set within the region -- all of those. We produced a whole little report on the Campus Center -- it's site and what should happen on that site. Many other little feasibility studies of that sort. And then when Locust Walk became a big political issue, we did a study of all the available open space on Locust Walk, and how it might be used to produce a plan for Locust Walk that would help diversify uses on Locust Walk. We also produced and are producing a plan for the superblock -- how it should tie-in to Locust Walk, and how it should develop and grow. How it should go even beyond the superblock, in a way of thinking, down the continuation of Locust Street, on the other side of 40th Street. That doesn't mean Penn's going to buy it up and develop it, but they are going to think about how it all relates right through to the seminary on that side. This is all my old stamping ground. We were --

PR: Who were you working with at Penn? Who's on the level that you were relating to?

DSB: With [Sheldon] Hackney, [Marna] Whittington, [Art] Gravina, [Bob] Zemsky, and [Titus] Hewryk. These are the people -- with Kim Morrison, as well. This is confidential, you should know. You shouldn't ever talk with Penn about this.

PR: Okay. The entire plan is?

DSB: People know about pieces of it that we're doing. And we've certainly presented it all to the trustees. The trustees are very happy with it. Working with the trustees, too. Particularly, the more vociferous ones. So we have to take Al Shoemaker [Trustee at Penn], and show him all these sites, and what we're thinking about. Because he doesn't want to lose the atmosphere around Penn, and we have to reassure him, etcetera, etcetera. Also Miles Tannenbaum, who was the developer of Kravco. And he prides himself on being able to do transportation planning, so we have to give as good as we get about transportation figures with him, and so on. And go walking with these people, and discuss pieces of the campus. And then suddenly, the medical school started to make an addition where the campus planners didn't think it should be, and we were married to a health planning group to help the medical school look ahead. And we produced a whole precinct plan with them, for the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. It was a very interesting plan, on how the Center should grow beyond its own site, onto alternative sites, and then choosing one. And at the end of that, the medical school fired us and stole my planner. And it's sort of sad, but there's a joke which said, "There was a provost who died, and he went to hell. They knew he was in hell because he had inherited not one, but two medical schools."

PR: [laughs]

DSB: So I began to understand the enmity between the campus planning people and the Medical Center planning people. And they felt that they were in fact working with the enemy when they were working with Penn's master planner. Although the guy we were working with felt that we did a very good job of saying, "Here's our role as master planner. Here's our role as medical school planner. Where it's at odds, you two have to get together." And he thought we did a very good job of doing that. And when I say they fired us, they felt that the next step forward, they don't need us. But as I say, my planner -- you see, in this office, I have to train architects to be planners. And some will and some won't. All will do one project for me because they believe it will be good for their next job. And a good experience will make them better architects. But planning has a lower status than architecture in this office -- although it's changing, particularly as they see that these planning projects are keeping them in work. So Steve Wiesenthal has done all my planning work for Penn, and he's marvelous. And he does all these different levels from working with me on the design of individual buildings -- which we're having fun doing, in the guise of being planners. And also to these overall concepts on thoughts and philosophies, and everything in between it. He's so bright and sharp, he can handle the whole thing. And we'd then give work out. We'd channel it out to other people in the office, through Steve. Well, they've stolen Steve.

PR: He's no longer here?

DSB: He's leaving in the next two weeks. I'm having to bring someone else in. But you see, we are a finishing school for architects. And when they were looking for a planner, they knew Steve had the experience. And they say, "What are you going to do about parking? How many spaces in this structure?" And I turned to Steve, and Steve says, "Four hundred and eighty-two," just like that. So they know he's very good at kind of the back-up of the facts and statistics, as well as running the thing. So now, I've got Steve channeling all that information to Ron Evitts, and Ron Evitts is very happy to learn to do this. So Ron will take over from Steve. We must let Steve go. His wife is having a baby. It'll be their second child. He can't afford to work for an architect anymore. He has to work for an agency.

PR: How does Smith Hall relate to the master plan work that you're doing -- the controversy at Penn over the demolition at Smith Hall and --

DSB: Well, you see, that is a very, very sad story. Because we have been the architects -- Bob and I met over fighting for the saving of Furness, and that story's gone into the annals of Penn. And we went out on a limb to save Furness when everyone said it was crazy. Now, here is one guy with a chip on his shoulder, saying Smith Hall should not be demolished because it's the most wonderful building at Penn, and it's also the first lab building which did this, that, and the other. He's not very accurate in his facts. There's another building almost identical to it, just up the road, by the way, which he doesn't know about. And he is -- another very sad thing -- the lawyer that we worked with very happily on South Street, Bob Sugarman, was this wonderful lawyer who used the political system in a very merry way to work with us to help stop the expressway. He has -- this is confidential -- but I think he has emotional problems, which means that it's very difficult for him to work in a big law firm. I began to see those problems descending on me at the end of my work with him. He began being abusive at the end of my work with him on South Street, and I could see a pattern of what was happening. I was friends with his wife, and I wasn't surprised when they got divorced. Because I could see he had this huge anger which he was likely to dump if you got close to him. So I think people can't work with him. And he has a little practice -- quite small. I've seen evidence of it in various ways. Various people, and how they've told me how he behaves. So he sits there and he takes pot shots at Penn. He was also hired by these very sleazy parking operators, out on the Philadelphia Orchestra Hall site to help them -- they didn't really want the site. They wanted the price for their land higher. So they hired him. So he'll hire out to rather strange people. So he is working with this guy, Kohler, who's really the only one left at Penn, who is harassing the university about Smith Hall. Now, the truth is, Smith Hall is a nice old building, and if they hadn't put a new chemistry building right there, you could make the case to keep Smith Hall. Really as a responsible preservationist, you can't make the case to keep Smith Hall. It's the same way as saying that the Baroque buildings of Prague replaced medieval buildings, so we shouldn't have had the Baroque buildings of Prague? St. Mark's Square replaced earlier medieval buildings. So they shouldn't have demolished the medieval buildings? In other words, you'd have to weigh things. I was on a tour of Philadelphia with Lewis Mumford when he came to the Jayne Building. He stood in front of the Jayne Building, and he said, "We preservationists must not push to maintain this building. Because all we will do is -- if we fight to preserve in every single battle, we'll never win any. We must get this building well recorded and documented, and document its importance, and then let it go. Because we must fight to save some other buildings." So he [Kohler] has no sense of trade-off -- of balance.

PR: Priorities.

DSB: Exactly. And so he has given us a bad reputation around there by what he's done. Bob Sugarman doesn't have a sense of priorities. And it's just made a great deal of harm in a situation where it shouldn't. Now, some other people have said it crowds the access. Well, what does that mean? There's never been a city with a crowded visual access? Is a crowded visual access wrong? Now, what I'm trying to do as a master planner is see that [Smith Walk] as a break point between the physical sciences heading north, and the life sciences heading south, and in so doing, alott that to be a lower-pressure spot, so that Smith Walk can maintain some of its nineteenth century structures. But the way to solve the problem is to get the life sciences onto the present HUP [Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania] site when HUP vacates to go to the Civic Center. That will be the way to draw the pressure off. And thinking at a master planning level, I'm fighting very hard. I'm not going to fight for Smith Hall. I think that's the situation; it has to be, because those buildings have a real need for that connection. And that's kind of weighing your balances to see what it is. I think preservation planning has to tie in very carefully to transportation planning. If you plan for high accessibility, then don't expect to be able to save your buildings. If you keep the buildings -- if you keep cars from dropping people there, you can save buildings. [Interruption -- Tape Off/On] I'm loving doing this work at Penn. And they love what we do for them because, as they say, "It's almost like you're on staff. You can do a much quicker turn around for us than other architects." And when I work with Zemsky, he is puzzled to know how to deal with -- say, housing on campus. And I say, "Well, you have to think of it as a system," and I quite often say, "No, that's too small a building. An institution like Penn can't build a little house. It has to build a long thin building on the site which feels, in it's design, like three houses." The institution has a scale of building. Also, for the housing on campus, we should have a system which allows for, say, three types of housing groupings. Not three types of rooms, but three types of grouping. And you use one of the three. You don't have fifty-seven different types. And then -- he knows that you think of transportation as a system. It's news to him that you should think of housing that way. And you think of the dining and the social facilities in relation to groups of housing units. So he's much more powerful once he's talked with me, about how to think through these situations. And the same with recreation. He is just beset by trustees who say you have to have ballparks in the middle of housing. That's why they demolished the whole thing for the superblock, so they could have ball fields there. Now they see how it failed. They can't maintain those things, and people don't use them because they're so unpleasant. So I've said to them, "Let's take the history of the development of recreation in American cities." It started off with big parks like Fairmount Park. And that was to do with all those immigrants coming in, who they wanted to make American. And they thought they'd make them American by introducing them to rural landscapes. When the Industrial Revolution came, and even more hordes, they said they had to train these people to be industrial workers. Then you get the reform movement, and the recreation movement, and the recreation park. The little park, right there, where the workers are. Very rigid, very systematic. And you see the workers doing drill in the park, learning to be industrial workers, who follow timing. I get a lot of this from Galen Cranz.

PR: Right.

DSB: I said, we've got to have different categories here. We can have contemplative passive recreation in certain areas. And in others we have organized sports like baseball and hockey, and whatever is intramural, and inter-varsity, and organized. And we don't have that on campus itself; there we have contemplative recreation spaces of different sizes. And we're going to put within the dormitories the biggest size spaces that we can make, for kids to play frisbee --

PR: Exactly.

DSB: But you don't try to do any more than that. And we just make them as big as we can within our other constraints. We managed to sell that very well to Tanenbaum, that philosophy of what to do about recreation. But they hadn't got that before. Most architects can't do that for them. That's where I have a real niche that is very different from other people's. But the people who understand that are not the campus facilities people. It's the president.

PR: The leader.

DSB: Yes.

PR: Now that you're back at Penn, have you had any dealings with the new Dean, Patricia Conway? Is she a part of this planning process?

DSB: Yes, she is. But at the moment, she isn't doing so well. I don't think I should talk about that.

PR: Okay. I was thinking of the tradition of deans like Holmes Perkins.

DSB: Yes.

PR: Very involved in the life of those --

DSB: She's getting involved politically, when she doesn't know the system. I think she doesn't know yet what it means to be a dean. And she doesn't know how to act properly there. And she's making recommendations about the plan. As long as this tape isn't going anywhere, she said she comes from Kohn Pedersen Fox [KPF]. By the way, Gene Kohn is very supportive of us, and a very good friend, and he's on the trustees now, so they can't work at Penn. And he said, "Anything I can help you with, just let me know." But she immediately said, "Venturi Scott Brown & Associates aren't experienced enough in this work. Let's give it to KPF." [laughs] And of course, it came right back to us, and right up to senior planning, and you can imagine what they think about that. How does she know we're not experienced? She just doesn't know what I do. That's all. And she's also been making a stand for something which is probably diametrically not what she should want. So she's kind of in a funny role, and people are merely saying they're not going to listen to her. And she'll get wise. One of the reasons I don't want to be a dean is I saw this wonderful book called Academic Primer, which was cartoons of different people in academia, and it had this dean sitting at a big desk, almost like a corporate desk -- very empty. And he's writing on a single sheet, and it says, "Here is the dean. The dean is doing a good job. He's doing a good job on another dean." [laughs] And the political know-how and in fighting that you have to do as a dean doesn't really intrigue me. And now I'm working at a level higher than a dean. I'm working -- you know, where deans are looked upon as loose cannons -- I'm working at a very high strategic level in the future of a university. And that intrigues me more. And I'm using all my skills. I love teaching, and I love the strategy of teaching. Deans don't do much of that. Someone came to me and said, "I heard your talk the other day, and it really wrang my heart when you said that you had some sexist experience in your profession every single day of the year," which is the truth. Someone says or does, you know -- "Why is Bob Venturi sending his surrogate? Why didn't he come? Why didn't the real thing come to the meeting?" Something like that happens almost everyday to me. And he said, "I've put you up to be dean at Harvard." I said, "I don't want to be dean at Harvard. What I want to do is advise their new President about academic policy, and it's relationship to physical policy." And I'd be happy, as I did two years ago, to teach their students. I ran a wonderful studio at Harvard, and loved it. Let's re-group a little bit, and say this. Leaving out the piece at Berkeley and UCLA, which I would love to go through at some time, Bob and I got together and started to run an office. And I started to work with him also at Yale. And the first time they didn't pay me, and the next time we could name our own fee. And I chose our fee.

PR: We're backing up to around what year?

DSB: 1967. The first year, he was already teaching at Yale -- he taught a year -- and I helped him formulate a studio, which I'd been wanting to do, and I kind of semi set it up for him. And I helped teach it. But I didn't get paid. I wasn't officially there. And he was Charlotte Shepherd Davenport Professor. And by the way, later someone -- Charles Moore -- said I was joint Charlotte Shepherd Davenport Professor with Bob, but I never was. So I was just -- first of all, I wasn't paid at all.

PR: But you were a joint professor, but not recognized as such. Was Charles Moore dean then?

DSB: It changed while we were there. Charles had been the dean at Berkeley, and then he went to be the dean at Yale. He wanted me to come there, and I wouldn't. And then when I married Bob, I just started helping him in studio, but I helped him set up that first studio. Then I said, as an aside, Bob was Charlotte Shepherd Davenport Professor. And later, Charles, in an account of that period, said, I had a joint with him. But, in fact, I didn't. And I had no name appointment at Yale. But the second semester that I taught, they paid me a little. And the third, I could name my own price, and I named Bob for nine thousand dollars, and me for eight thousand dollars. I thought it was only fair to his extra six years. I wouldn't do that anymore.

PR: Right.

DSB: Things have happened since then. So the first year I helped them, and set up a studio for them called "Mass Communication on the People Freeway or Piranesi is Too Easy." And it was a studio to redesign a portion of the New York subway. And it said -- I told you about people going fifteen abreast through the National Gallery. I first noticed that in 1967 in Montreal at the International Expo, and I wrote a little article about the fact that the way the shows were designed, people couldn't see. Because the only thing you could see was above your head. So I took that theory into the subway, and we began to say, "Times are not such that you should allow people to say we're going to open up all the subways and give light by making Piranesian space with light coming from the top.

PR: Was the Washington, D.C. subway being designed then?

DSB: It was. Yes. And also, Ed Bacon put a lot of support behind the notion of opening up the subways to make them civic. We said, "Piranesi is too easy, and in fact, we're going to have to accept making subways civic with seven foot high ceilings, because that's what we've got. And it's no use making a prototype that does something different from that. So how do we make a civic subway without opening it up?" And that was our studio. And again, we had a research -- the way I taught architecture, or rather planning studios, at Penn -- and at UC, as well -- which was with research phases and shared research, and then individual designs, and then shared designs, and then research, design, research, design, until we came up with something. I set up one like that at Yale. And then the next thing was, we decided to do the one on Las Vegas. And it was really again based on my kind of studio method. And then the third one we did in Levittown. And we were working full time at Yale, and also working full time in the office. At the end of that, we left teaching because we decided it was better to spend the time we were teaching, looking for work. And also because we had adopted a child, Jimi. So we became full time practitioners. And Bob had been through a trauma of deciding not to be a dean at Yale. And at the end, they wanted me to be a dean at Yale, and I said, "No" for the same reason. And they wanted me to be a successor trustee at Yale, and I sent information for that, but I didn't get it. And I later learned that there was a very sad thing between Vince Scully and me that I didn't know about, at Yale. It's a very sad story, and this is another very, very confidential one. But Vince was very, very happy when Bob and I married, and he thought very highly of me. And then something changed, and by the end of our time there, after "Learning from Levittown," he wrote something about how -- you know, he thinks Bob is an absolute God.

PR: Right.

DSB: And people are very bitter about the way they say Vince has made Bob into a culture hero. Colin Rowe is very bitter about that, for example. Well, at that stage, Vince began to say --

PR: Can I back up for one second?

DSB: Yes.

PR: Does Rowe think that's an inappropriate role for an architectural historian, or just --

DSB: He thinks that, but he thinks he [Vince] should have made him [Colin] into one. He's very, very jealous. Colin Rowe once said to me, "You must admit that I was Mr. Mannerist of the 1950s." So Colin's a bit insane in many ways. [end of side one, tape eight]

PR: Were he and Bob acquaintances or friends in the '50s?

DSB: Acquaintances, but no more than that. But he's very, very jealous of Bob. And of course the reason is he's never managed to do what Bob did. In part, he's had a drinking problem. He's a "whiskey priest." So he's very bitter, and he's been a very, very bitter person for -- you know, you talk to the people he's taught, he's been very destructive as a teacher. So there's a lot of interesting things about Colin Rowe in the background of all of this, but he was very bitter indeed about Vince, for making Bob into a culture hero. He said, "You shouldn't do that," but he meant, "You didn't do it about me." So anyway, I admire Vince, and I said he's got a nose for the new, and no failure of nerve. And he's got an intuition. He's got a good eye -- all of these things. But suddenly, Vince was saying that Bob is God walking on earth, except when he joins his wife, Denise Scott Brown, in "praising certain suburban practices." And then later, when Bob got the honorary degree at Yale, he wrote the acclaim which said, Bob discovered the everyday environment. By this time, he thought it was good, you see. Now, what happened to make Vince change his mind about me? And I always thought something had happened that I didn't know about, and also that Vince just felt I was terribly inferior to Bob, and it was just terrible to have this man -- first of all, I was there in the way. But it was also terrible to have this man drawn down by this very dull wife.

PR: Right. And drawn down to Las Vegas. I mean, that was a detour, right? As far as --

DSB: But later he thought no, it had probably been a good thing. When he began to think it was good, then he said Bob discovered it all. But at that point it was, "She's drawing him down." There's only one person can generate a creative idea. There can't be two artistries involved in creativity, you see. That's what Vince felt. But I learned from Heinrich Klotz, many years later -- I learned it about five years ago -- another very, very sad story. Klotz had been around the year -- the semester we did the "Learning from Levittown" Studio -- and he produced Conversations with Architects, and he interviewed us then. So he was around listening to all of this, and he listened to the jury, and he listened to various other things. Well, Vince had me give a talk to his students on my work on South Street. Now, Vince has since written that in the last thirty years, there has not been any work by architects of social responsibilityfor our cities. This was Vince knowing the work I've done. But anyway, at that time, the building had burned at Yale. The students for once -- they had adored Vince, now they were skeptical about Vince. At that talk that I gave about our work on South Street, the students gave me a long, long standing ovation, of the kind they used to give Vince at the end of every semester. And they didn't give it to Vince at the end of that semester. And then Klotz said to Vince, "You know, Vince, Denise is doing better than you are." And I didn't learn that until five years ago. But I now know why I was not chosen as a successor trustee. And I know lots of other things have happened since then. It's a very, very sad story. You know, when I heard that story I was terribly sad, but I also -- a great burden was lifted from me because I thought that I was -- I admire Vince, so if he sees me as a mediocre intellect, horning in on Robert Venturi's reputation, unwarrantedly, then I feel I am. And now when I see that he's afraid of me, and jealous of me -- I don't want to do Vince's work, I'm not anything like Vince, that's astounding -- but I see that's what he's scared of. So I now say at least he's giving me the honor of thinking I might have more ability than he has. So it's a very strange world, this one, that we architects move in.

PR: And academics, as well.

DSB: Yes. I once said to Colin Rowe, "When you were criticizing Bob, why didn't you criticize me, too? I did the work, too." And he was amazed. And the next time he saw me, he was drunk, and he had a glass of whiskey, and he put his arms around me, and he put -- the whiskey went down my neck -- at the back. He said, "Denise, cara mia. Fuck you, bitch."

PR: Jesus.

DSB: And the last thing that happened with me and Colin Rowe was when Urban Concepts came out, he called me and he said he thought it was very, very good. And I'll tell you a very funny story. Vince has never said anything about Urban Concepts or never admitted to reading anything that I had written. But he once said to someone, "If you want to hear the real story about Bob Venturi and Lou Kahn, read Denise Scott Brown's "Worm's Eye View." So he reads what I write, but he never admits to it. Funny. He once gave a lecture at Penn, and he produced this: that the Karl Marx Hof Housing is female symbols. It's got these great towers rising up like this. And he spotted me in the audience, and there must have been a look on my face. And he was meant to come and stay with us that night, and he said to Bob, "Denise doesn't agree with what I said. I can't come home to your house." [laughs] So I went and I put my arm around Vince and said, "I disagreed with you. Let's come home and argue." What else can I do? I like him, I'm fond of him. He shouldn't do this. And then he writes all about how Bob is such a great feminist. And in his latest version of his book about American architecture and urbanism -- and by the way, I think the title came from me. It's a very general title, but I was talking at Yale about not urban planning, but urbanism, and seeing it in that context. Anyway, he left me out of that book altogether. Well, maybe it was early and he didn't quite know what my role was. But in the later version, he stars [Elizabeth] Plater-Zyberk and [Lorinda] Spear, and he talks a lot about feminism, and still leaves me out. Again, it's a very strange situation.

PR: Yes.

DSB: Going on, I said -- if you want to sum up the twenty-five years of our career, one way you could say is we've gone from being young turks to being old fogeys, without ever having been establishment in between. That's one way to look at it. You can look at it another way, that there have been phases in the society and phases in our work. And there are people who are doing what we were doing ten years ago and getting the job, and we're still not getting the job. And we felt that when our ideas came in, so would we. And it's true, to some extent. We have. But our students working for SOM [Skidmore, Owings and Merrill] still get far more work then we get. On the other hand, I feel that now -- there were many, many years when I said, "Bob is like the blind person in Milton's sonnet on his blindness." It fits him perfectly. It says, "And that one talent though 'tis death to hide, lodged with me, useless, though my soul more bent to serve therewith my maker, and present my true account." And said, "Lest he returning chide." And he says, "Doth God exact day labor, light denied? I fondly ask." And that's Bob, with a huge ability to design the National Gallery, and not being asked. And almost bursting. And being artist enough not to overdo the small projects he has, with the big ideas he has. Then suddenly --

PR: It must be a temptation. You talked about houses being a testing ground for certain ideas.

DSB: Yes. Well, it was very clear to me, straight after World War II in England, where an architect who hasn't built all through the War, suddenly builds and puts everything he's been thinking of in the one little building, which is -- it's shoulders are too narrow to take such a heavy load of theory. And Bob has never done that. Even those little small buildings didn't do that. They had theory, but they weren't over-burdened by it. And we've always said that it's boring to follow your theory into a building too closely. So he's always had that restraint. But thank God now we've had this opportunity to build some large, important buildings, which can bear the freight of our ideas. And so, Bob has now had that opportunity, although we still need more. And now we also have this firm that we want to continue, and we have to think how it can continue. And we have to think, "What should we do over the next years?" I'm cooking with gas with the projects I'm doing. We're also starting -- we're working in decorative arts, and I could see us growing old, fiddling away nicely at little decorative arts, as we get too old to run architecture projects. And never stopping. You know, that's one of the ways of thinking about it. And all of this, I still think of as twenty years away, but who knows?

PR: Right.

DSB: You can never tell.

PR: One of my favorite comments, when [Arata] Isozaki talked at Penn recently was "Architects don't die in hospitals." [laughs]

DSB: Exactly.

PR: "They die working."

DSB: Yes. And of course, architects don't get their -- Lou didn't get his main opportunity until he was fifty. We haven't until Bob was later than fifty. And even now --

PR: Although fame came to him much earlier.

DSB: Yes.

PR: Not for the big project, but for books.

DSB: But for books.

PR: Houses, and so forth.

DSB: Yes. And in all of this, my role has been so obliterated. Vince Scully was very much the teacher of Paul Goldberger. When Bob got the Pritzker Prize, and Toshio Nakamura apologized to me, he said, "I fought for you to get it too, and they just would not hear of it." Of course they wouldn't hear of it, because of the way the media have presented us, always. And then, there are now some students who take on these questions. And some students from Yale wrote a letter to the New York Times, and said, "Why did Paul Goldberger leave Denise Scott Brown out?" And Paul wrote back saying, "She's a planner." And of course, he calls me a planner so he doesn't have to deal with two creativities.

PR: Right.

DSB: Somehow they feel -- well you've read my article on sexism in the star system, because I think it's a very deep psychological question.

PR: And Bob wrote, his letter to the New York Times was published, also.

DSB: Yes. They did publish that. I thought they hadn't, but they did.

PR: Oh, they did.

DSB: But you see, the point is that there's few people that will recognize that. And it's still -- it's happened again, one more time. And we're not even talking about what happened, but it's just awful, to have it happen once more like that. And have people trying to help us be recognized together. Just had another huge turn down. And there's great fury -- furor and fury -- and anguish and weeping, and all of that. But the profession in it's traditional elements will not accept that there can be two artistries involved in creativity. We weren't saying that -- you know, there's a notion that a firm does the work. And we believe that very strongly. Firms should be recognized in this way, but there's also a level at which Bob and I are two artists working together. And that level will absolutely not be recognized.

PR: That's a deep -- a wall with deep foundations, right?

DSB: Yes. But these students are saying, "What are you going to do when it comes to Gwathmey Siegel, and what are you going to do when it comes to Duany Plater-Zyberk? You know, the future holds more like this. One of the reasons I'm prepared to fight is because I think it is for the future. But, of course, I have to fight within myself a tendency to say, "Denise, look. You just don't have it. Now just stop it. Just leave it. What makes you think you have this ability?" And every woman has that.

PR: Sure. Sure. It would make you want to think about that, then.

DSB: Yes.

PR: And bring up all kinds of anxieties.

DSB: Yes. Anyway, where are we going? I think you have to go. No, you don't have to go just yet.

PR: Do you want to -- since you've mentioned Duany Plater-Zyberk, do you want to talk about Seaside at all?

DSB: Yes.

PR: This is a project in Florida -- a residential community, mostly -- that's gotten terrific press. Certainly Prince Charles has championed it. It's a planned American community. What's your reaction to it?

DSB: Well, we went to Seaside, and we loved it, too.

PR: Have you built there?

DSB: No. He wanted us to, and we liked him very much. And we wanted to. But there's no way he can afford us. And we can't afford to subsidize him. But I've -- we're bringing out a book now called On Houses and Housing. And I've written an article called "On Houses and Housing," in that book. In fact, I had competing claims on me to proofread this, and to proofread the manuscript for On Houses and Housing, which is also there. And in that, I've said that when architects think of megastructures as housing, and they take the model of, say, the Ford car, which is mass produced, and they think of houses fitted into a big megastructure -- lots of pods -- the way the Archigram people did. And that still informs architects thinking about housing, even although Duany Plater-Zyberk has reacted against the Archigram vision of the megastructure. To the extent to which the Seaside version is now propounded for all housing that's wrong too. And whether it's Levittown or Seaside -- there's a physical difference, socially and economically, there's some difference -- but not all that much. And I'm not really all that interested in the problem of a better house -- mouse trap for the middle classes. I admire it. I think it would be terribly wrong if it's now thought of in the same way as the Ford plug-in is thought of, as solving the housing problem. And if you study housing economics, and you study housing as a field, the best thing that we architects can offer is the vision of housing as a myriad different opportunities, in different combinations. Different kinds of housing -- by the shore, by the river, by the edge of the city, in the middle of the town, on top of a building, etcetera, etcetera. All sorts of different housing opportunities, in combination with their access patterns and their related work patterns. And understanding how these tie in with markets. And who is going to like what kind of housing. And then seeing in a region, a strategy to ensure that there's all kinds of housing evolved and available for people. And that makes a rich city. And I am very interested in that problem.

PR: It's a much more urban problem.

DSB: Yes. And then thinking of prototypes which would fit different markets. We, in our "Learning from Levittown" Studio, we had a marvelous time saying, "Think of the problem of affordable housing and low income housing being inserted into some old suburbs. And how would you help to make the housing, which has different lifestyle needs, and has a different social status, acceptable within suburbia?" Now, that's a problem with aesthetic and social questions in it. A very fascinating one. Another one we ask the students is, "Do for housing what [Claes] Oldenberg did for hamburgers," which is a lovely one. I also said, "Design a regional strategy, where you would allocate different types of housing, according to job opportunities, access opportunities, levels of amenity, and things like that." That's a computerized problem, in parts. And I love all of that, but I think absolutely, an architect should be able to also do an odyssey -- a life of the mind and the art -- by building houses. At the beginning of their career, the way Bob did with the Vanna Venturi House, which has become a prototype for AT&T Building, among other things. And all the way through, as a way of testing ideas. The house as the challenge that you take on for your own personal odyssey is a fascinating idea. And Frank Lloyd Wright did it. Le Corbusier did it. Each of them designed a prototype for urban housing, as well. All of that's good. It's not to be scorned. But that's my story about housing.

PR: Right. Which is more houses, in that case. And Seaside is not -- I mean, it's not an urban paradigm. It's homogenous to some extent.

DSB: Well, to the extent that they think of it as an urban paradigm, they're wrong. And there's still the challenge of finding. For example --

PR: Is anyone doing what you're advocating?

DSB: Only me, I think.

PR: Is anyone looking at a broad, regional housing scheme?

DSB: Yes. Housers do, and planners do, and people like that. And cities do. For example, there's another project that I would like to teach one day at a school, which is to take the industrial structure -- the traditional industrial structure of Philadelphia -- and pattern it on a map. Manayunk would figure in it.

PR: North Philadelphia.

DSB: North Philadelphia, enormously. It would be along rail lines, and along truck lines, and some of it is in warehousing like this. And that's the part that doesn't work as industry anymore.

PR: Like your office, you mean.

DSB: Yes. And all of it has got the possibility of parking associated with it. And all of it has residential environments tied in with it. Where people used to walk to work. Well, think through that pattern, and think how you could use that land now and into the future. Some for industry, some for housing, some for commerce, some for research. And think of the housing patterns in relation to it. Well, there's an interesting housing problem, too, to think of: under reformulation of industrial policy, and reindustrialization in America, what you would do with all the old housing. So those are the kinds of housing patterns and problems that interest me.

PR: Is the City Planning Commission interested in these kinds of projects?

DSB: No, they're not. I'll tell you why. I was talking to Sheldon Hackney about it, and he immediately got thrilled. He said, "Let's get a grant." And I said, "I don't want to teach at the moment, but that's a project someone should teach." At the same time -- by the way, I had got the basics of that idea from Joe Egan. Now, Joe Egan is someone I met while I was working on South Street, and there was a situation where he was a young planner in the Redevelopment Authority. And quite soon we're talking at each other -- I don't want to sound arrogant and say over everyone else's heads, but to some extent -- and we could see that we were two very bright people.

PR: Well, it become a dialogue, anyway.

DSB: Yes. And we've known him since then. He likes us very much. He got very, very mad once when someone wrote a nasty letter about Bob. Someone wrote a letter to the Forum or one of those magazines -- which said, "Once there was a pushcart vendor, and he pushed his pushcart in the streets of Philadelphia. And 'Son,' he said, as his gold tooth gleamed in the sunlight, 'Always put the shiny apples up front, and the rotten apples behind.' And that was Mr. Venturi teaching his son, Robert." Can you believe that? And they published it. And Joe Egan wrote an angry letter to the press saying, "This is not what you should write about a talented American architect." So he's been very sort of on our side, ever since. Anyway, what was I saying? He said to me, "Have you ever thought of all this industrial land?" Because he was then working at PIDC [Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation] and he was very aware of it.

PR: Yes. Well it's for someone who likes the city -- likes the urban environment, one would hope a developer or the city would combine forces and deal with this.

DSB: But can you see that I can also help evolve this other pattern? And down to the last eighth of a millimeter -- or the last millimeter -- eighth of an inch -- sixteenth of an inch.

PR: Denise is pointing to the fabric pattern. You call it the --

DSB: Grandmother pattern. And the shape of this chair -- the grandmother pattern chair -- the Queen Anne chair. In fact, it's really more the Chippendale that I really worked with Bob. Because it's very, very beautifully worked out there, that silhouette. And also talk about wanting to study a regional strategy of housing related to industry, which is another pattern that has beauty and interest and challenge. I like the whole range -- from the one, through to the other. And not missing out the architecture in between either, by the way.

PR: Right.

DSB: Did I tell you my story about the book by Isaiah Berlin, who became a good friend of ours over the National Gallery? He's an English philosopher -- English/Jewish. He comes from Lithuania, where my family came from. It's funny because I amazed him by knowing people he'd known in the early days, just because of certain connections. So I had his hair standing on end about his early life. And we became good friends. But he wrote this book called The Fox and the Hedgehog, and it's about two ways of seeing life. One, in great breadth, and then the other in great detail. I think the hedgehog is in breadth, and the fox is in detail. I never remember which. And then he goes on to describe a character who is both fox and hedgehog, put together, thereby making it very difficult to understand the content of his book. And these people who in an inspired way say, "Life's not that simple. Yes, that, but the other. I am this and that. I am both and." Well, he's very much that way. I'm that way. That's why people can't understand what I'm about. And I will ardently support something on one side -- but as soon as its supporters come, I will take the other side. Because both have a truth. And in the end, the resolution of both truths -- both falsehoods -- is what I'm after. But it makes very bad copy.

PR: Isn't it Ruskin who said, "Truths may be opposite but not contradictory."

DSB: Yes.

PR: Something like that.

DSB: And it's working in that mud puddle, that's my life. And I get rather muddied. And then no one can quite discern my outlines to mix a few metaphors. [laughs] [end of side two, tape eight] Sixth interview, November 9, 1991

PR: You've written a number of articles. Did you want to mention sources [?] that you consider autobiographical?

DSB: Yes. This is the last tape, and I want to kind of sum up, and in some way deal with the fact that the detail of these tapes will have been really my early life, up until Bob and I married and joined in practice. So to start, I feel that I should leave a record of the fact that I've written material that's vaguely autobiographical, and so have other people. I want to put our firm's bibliography, which contains my bibliography, as part of this record. And most of the works I refer to can be found there. But when I turned fifty, I seemed to need to sum up my life somewhat. So around about that time, there were several roughly auto-biographical articles. One is available in my book Urban Concepts. It's the first chapter, although it was written in the very early 80s. And it's on urban design pedagogy. But it's basically the story of my experience in most of the schools that I had spent considerable time in, in several countries. Then there's another one from about that time called "A Worm's Eye View of Recent Architectural History." And there's another one written for planners called "Changing Family Forms." Since then, Bob and I have written an article called "Two Naifs in Japan," which is again an account of personal experience. I have written an article about the National Gallery which hasn't been published yet, so it's not got a certain title. But it's really about influences back and forth between England and Italy and America -- historically and on us as it affects our design for the National Gallery. So you'll be able to find it by the description of its subject matter. Presumably its title will reflect some of that. And then there are articles that are being written about us which are also available in the bibliography in the first section. Paul Goldberger wrote a fairly important one in about 1971 about both of us. And that's the last time he ever wrote about me, until maybe this year, where he has mentioned me on occasion. But it took twenty years to get even a footnote from Paul. There are interviews that Bob and I have both given in the same bibliography. There's an article on my connections with the I.G. in England -- that's the Independent Group in England -- which I've described in this record, but at the same time, I guess, can be found an account of it. There's an article on me in a magazine called Savvy in the mid-80s. There's also a book called Particular Passions, which has a chapter on me. There's an Italian book called Le Spose del Vento -- "Wives of the Wind." A rather sad set of chapters about obliterated women through marriage. Someone else is also doing a piece on me right now. She's writing a book on women of achievement and how their marriages relate to their achievements. Her name is Andrea Gabor. I'm not sure what her book will be. There's an article in Working Woman on mentors, of which I'm part. Those are probably the important ones. But there have been various other ones in other journals all along, at this point, and a whole lot by the English press, in which I figure peripherally. Except for one article, very mean, by Jonathan Glancey, which attacks me as a cat among the pigeons. The pigeons being the billing and cooing press. Have you heard the English press billing and cooing?

PR: So presumably, you think these articles are fairly accurate?

DSB: Well, no -- Oh, there's another one in a magazine called The Insider, which is a Jewish magazine in Philadelphia -- And they each get a dimension of me. Some have some of their facts wrong. But I'd say none of them is a totally wrong conception of me, and none of them is completely right. One further thing I'd like to enter into the archive is the one piece of edited text that I have done. It can go in with my pencil edits on it. These are a good indication of how I work on manuscripts -- my own and others.

PR: Right. These are the transcriptions of these interviews, roughly pages 110 to 120.

DSB: Yes. And I'd be happy to include that as an example. I tried to explain to you last week, the way that Bob and I write together, and how the different texts are attributed differently, based on who wrote the first draft, although the ideas are shared long before the first draft. I feel that most of the work -- oh, in Campidoglio [A View from the Campidoglio] -- that's the other book. Part of this should be, of course, Learning from Las Vegas and A View from the Campidoglio, and peripheral to it, but also important, is Complexity and Contradiction, where you will see I'm thanked by Bob at the introduction. By the way, that same year I was thanked by Bob in an introduction, by Herbert Gans in an introduction, by Al Lowenstein in part of his text.

PR: Who is he?

DSB: He was the very famous liberal politician who ran the "dump Johnson" movement. And he wrote a book called Brutal Mandate about his experiences in Southwest Africa. And he thanked me anonymously because it was not a good idea for my name to appear, but I helped him edit his book.

PR: Was he at Penn?

DSB: No, he wasn't. I knew him through a friend. He was a friend of a friend. And also I was thanked by Walter Izard in a paper he wrote on non-monetary pay-offs, in an attempt to document human economic behavior numerically, without losing the important aspects of behavior which are not economic. So non-monetary pay-offs, put in economic terms, into economic formulae, is their way to measure some of the pay-offs we work for -- like respect, acclaim -- as their way of measuring skill [and] creativity, sufficiently to put them into economic models of behavior. So I critiqued that as well, in the same year. That's quite a nice span for one year. I think that's all the articles that I want to refer to. As I said, in our book the Campidoglio, there's also in the introduction a taking things further than in the introduction to the revised edition of Learning from Las Vegas. There's also a little bit of autobiographical material there. And I mention in Campidoglio that most of Bob's writings since we've been married, and even from before -- notably Complexity and Contradiction -- have had comments from me. And since we've been married, I've really edited much of his writing. Not all of it, but by far the majority. Every now and then a little something escapes me. Some of that is wonderful. Most of it is so dense, such contracted, conflated language, that it's difficult to understand. And my main role in editing Bob is to tease those apart so they can be understood without losing his staccato rhythms or his personal style, which has to do with juxtapositions. So I try not to make him into my much more flowing style. To leave those things, but to leave them the way that they can be understood.

PR: And are those articles that appear as "By Robert Venturi," a single author, or are those co-authored articles?

DSB: A few of them appear as co-authored, but I do virtually all of the ones that are called "Robert Venturi," as well. And many, many of the letters that he signs. A letter has just gone to a certain client, who shall be nameless -- no, potential client; I guess we won't get this job -- and when Bob got on the phone, the client's Project Manager said, "You write as good a letter as you design buildings." But it was my letter. After that, I think I want to think through the span of our career from 1967, when Bob and I married, you could say in terms of chronology, and then in various other ways, as well. So that I've got a series of cross sections to take through that total span and see where we get. Where should we start? Let's just take a simple chronology. We married in 1967, and I, of course, moved to Philadelphia. We began to work together in the sense that I helped Bob and John in the struggling little office for free for a year or so, while I also spent a little time writing, and while we were trying to have a baby, and also settling our lives. We started off living in the Vanna Venturi House, up on the top. It felt like living under a tent. Every morning I'd go out on that balcony and comb my hair, and look out onto that little wilderness there. And as we got settled in, six months later --

PR: Was Bob's mother alive then?

DSB: She was alive then. And we were also finding a way for her to live alone. And after that, we moved into an apartment in Society Hill Towers. It took us a long time to move because we've always been very busy. Now, at the same time, I started teaching with Bob. And that's when we ran the two studios at Yale. One on "Learning from Las Vegas," and the other "Learning from Levittown." I merely took the kinds of studios I'd been teaching in planning school and adapted them for architecture. But they became very famous. I had a miscarriage, and it became apparent that we couldn't have a child. I remember the gynecologist saying, "Take the kid to Chicago, if that's what she likes to do, to give a lecture." It seemed rather funny terminology. But he said, "Just lead your lives, and do your work, and do your teaching, and don't go through the pain of trying to conceive when it's almost impossible, and all the physical machinations you'd have to put yourself through to probably no avail." So I was actually pregnant while I was teaching one of those studios, but I had a miscarriage shortly after that. And then we went on, and I'll talk in another context about the work we were doing and the acceptance we've had. But we decided that -- it became possible for us to adopt a child, and we decided we wanted to. And then when we did adopt the child, we got him when he was six days old -- Jimi Venturi. When we did, we began to realize that -- we put it this way -- "He's better than a graduate student." We were working at the other end of the human mind as it began to appear -- make itself visible. And that was very fascinating. To a teacher, anyway. But we felt we should stop teaching and start looking for work in the time that we had to teach, and also raise our child. And from then, for the next almost twenty years, we did our work and raised our child, and tried very hard to make our practice grow. In 1969 I became a partner, and I started to be paid. I worked also for Yale on the first studio, which was "Mass communication on the people freeway or Piranesi is too easy." Again, my choice. Most of the topics I set up, and helped Bob run it with Brewster Adams. And they didn't pay me for that. But the next semester they found a little money to pay me, so I got a little bit of money -- three thousand four hundred dollars, I think -- for the Learning from Las Vegas studio. Then the Learning from Levittown, I named my price. I think I told you that story. But meanwhile, we were struggling as architects, and Bob's fruit and produce company began to have difficulties, too. His cousin died. I started to try to help, but no one would listen to me much. And we went a very, very, very rocky road in 1969, with also the need to maintain Bob's mother. I don't want to go through the kinds of worries I went through then, except I have several other times again, and now that we've got real bad worries during this recession. During the 1970s recession we had a very bad spell, and again now, it's very, very hard for us to not see catastrophe much too close. It's like the wolf at the door, and somehow the snapping -- you manage to avoid it somehow.

PR: If we can back up for one second -- the studios at Yale, the Learning from Las Vegas -- how were these received by other faculty members? Was this scandalous? Were you highly criticized?

DSB: At Penn and at Yale people were very critical of Bob. The faculty thought I was difficult, I think, at Penn. At Yale we came and did our work and left. But our students were able to see that, while everyone else was still floundering away not knowing what to do in the studio, we had a plan and we were on our way. And six weeks into it we had more work than they'd done in the semester before. Our students were a bit too cocky around the place, and that made the other students kind of jealous and hostile, and the other faculty -- we just never heard from them.

PR: Because you came and went.

DSB: Yes. But also because I think they were sensing something that was not too good for them in this sort of suppressed excitement around our studio, and then this air of superiority that our students had no right to be asserting, but probably did --although we had very good students. You see, many students didn't come to our studio because it looked like too much work. That was a very lazy time at Yale. It was the middle of the revolution there, and people were not thinking of working. They had jobs, they were thinking of all sorts of other things. Someone said, "Yale is a large bag of jelly, and you punch it here, it bulges there." Well, we put a lot of structure into the jelly, and a lot of demand. And a couple of students left, if I remember. But the ones that stayed really wanted to work, and were proud of themselves. So they were working very much harder than everyone else. And many, many students came to our juries to see what was happening, even if they didn't choose to join it. We had the right number. I think we had twelve or fifteen in each one, which was the number we wanted to handle. But we probably couldn't have gotten more, because no one wanted to do that kind of work.

PR: Were the juries controversial?

DSB: Yes. Vince Scully came to one jury and was profoundly distressed about our embracing consumer culture. And that's when he later said, "Bob is led astray by his wife, Denise Scott Brown." But many people were very intrigued, as well. And thrilled. And the juries were pretty tough, but they were also very good exchanges. And we had people like Allan Lapidus there, you see. And that's where he said that wonderful thing. He said, "Las Vegas is a place where people are afraid something wonderful might happen." And I think he hit the nail on the head of a kind of atmosphere that's around in Las Vegas.

PR: When did you coin the phrase "Las Vegas is almost all right?" In other words, you weren'tnecessarily supposed to buy it hook, line and sinker, you're supposed to look at it in a somewhat detached --

DSB: Bob said in Complexity and Contradiction, "Is not Main Street almost all right?"

PR: Okay.

DSB: That was his phrase. And then we used "Almost all right," for everything. Our wedding napkins said, "Marriage is almost all right." Did I tell you that?

PR: I've read that somewhere. I thought that was very funny.

DSB: Yes. So that means we stopped teaching after 1971. To my ire, the Seattle newspapers are saying, "Robert Venturi is an academic architect. He's not used to building buildings." They're saying that because the contractor there is trying to make a claim for a large amount of money.

PR: This is contemporary criticism that you're talking about.

DSB: Yes. But in actual fact, it's the contractor's public relations person posing as a journalist. Or giving information to journalists. Bob stopped teaching in 1971, and those people profoundly misunderstand what professional education is, as opposed to academic education. We were never academics. We were professional educators -- people who practice and teach. But we stopped, at least full-time, in 1971. That gives Bob twenty years to be non-academic, before they ever started writing about it. Anyway, continuing. The mid-1970s was a pretty bad time, but we built-up small projects, and we had this reputation of being kind of radical and there too -- some people thought that we were just very good at public relations. And some people would say to us, "Who is your public relations agent, because you're always in the papers?" Of course it wasn't true. And some architects were very jealous of us for reasons of that. But we didn't [have one] and we weren't doing these things to attract attention. We were writing as we did to sort out ideas in our minds, and building as we did for the same reasons, and to make beautiful architecture. And it was a surprise, in the slightly late 70s, I think it was, that someone did an image study of us in Philadelphia, and we learned, to our surprise, that we weren't perceived that way. We were perceived as good designers working very hard.

PR: Was this a poll among the public or among the architectural community?

DSB: I can't remember exactly. I think it was done among the kind of educated public, but with a few architects in it as well. So we were perceived as hard-working, being responsible about modest budgets, and doing very good design, which helped us a lot. It helped Bob change his view. When he sits across the table and sees a series of clients his vibes are, "I know you all hate me," which, of course, is not the best way to try to look for work. [laughs] Well, he's learned to look out across that table and see more appreciation than that, and to trust more. Or I say sometimes, "To find the water is not totally hostile, and to walk on them." Because when you lecture, you walk on water. You gauge the stormy water, and you tread out on it. And if you're lucky, you will float on their approbation. So you have to do that. And he began to learn to do that. A very wonderful thing happened to us at the end of the 70s. Princeton hired us for work. And that gave us a seal of approval, which helped us no end. January 31, 1980 we moved to our new offices in Manayunk. There's a tale in there, there's no time for it. But at that time we were twenty-five people, and it was a statement of faith that we could support this office in this place. But we just knew we had to move for reasons quite basic, including that they were selling the building that we were in.

PR: You were, at that time, at Sixteenth and Pine?

DSB: Yes. We were very clever. We didn't expand too quickly. We started in one room there, and then moved back to a larger room, and then moved upstairs. And by the end, we filled the whole building. But it took us from about 1964 until about 1978 to do that. So we didn't bankrupt ourselves by a big building purchase and renovation, or anything like that. And then we did move in 1980, when we had the Princeton work. And shortly thereafter --

PR: The Princeton work was Wu Hall?

DSB: Yes, at that time. But of course it went on. We had twenty-one different contracts with Princeton, in the end. Although some were for very little projects. But twenty-one total. And within that, four new buildings. All large additions. So that's been very wonderful for us, and we are eternally grateful to Bill Bowen for risking us. Because someone had to go out on a limb and fight for us, and he did.

PR: And he was the Princeton contact?

DSB: He was the President of Princeton. And he fought for us. And you need that in your lives, but in our lives, it came very late. We've never had a patron before, and that's really the only one.

PR: And presumably there's a connection that Bob went there -- had graduated from there.

DSB: Yes. For all the years before, you couldn't get work there if you'd gone there. And in the early 70s, we finally wrote a kind of summary letter to the then President, and said, "Bob is certainly one of the most illustrious of your graduates, and we have work in other colleges. Isn't this enough for Princeton now? And we haven't even ever been asked to lecture there, let alone do work." And this resulted in an invitation to lecture. We then had to wait about four or five more years for a new President who wanted -- his aspiration, I think, must have been to raise the most money that's ever been raised for the school, or maybe ever for a small college of that size, at all. A small university of that size. And also to leave his mark on the architecture of the campus, and to help turn that around, because it had become very, very pedestrian. So we were part of his vision. During this time, we began to talk about marketing, and I began applying the kind of knowledge I've had through economics and sociology, to thinking about our market position. If you can talk about market segments for housing, you can also talk about market position for firms like us. At about that time we met Weld Coxe. And he began to advise us, too, about marketing of architectural services. And I evolved a description of our client profile. During the "Learning from Levittown" Studio, we had the students go and talk to an advertising person in New York, Jerry Marder. And he described the profile of the person who buys pickles. So I translated this also to, "Let's get our profile." And our profile is almost exactly Bill Bowen. Which means someone who's an individualist, who wants to match wits with us, be involved with the thing. Did I tell you all of this?

PR: You talked about this a little bit last time. Weld Coxe? Who is he?

DSB: Weld Coxe had worked for many years for Vincent Kling in his marketing -- Vincent Kling being an architect in Philadelphia. He then branched out on his own to advising architects about marketing. Kind of teaching them. And he came into our orbit at about this time. And we spent the next few years in a way being coached by Weld about different aspects of the management of our practice. Because when you grow from twenty-five people to forty people, you begin to have management problems. You can't do things the way you did before. And I began to get into this when John more or less said, "There's no management going on in this office, and I may be called the Managing Partner, but I'm not doing it." So I began trying to think about what it meant to manage this office, in the beginning with some help from Weld.

PR: He gave good advice?

DSB: Yes. In the main he gave good advice. At the end, I think he didn't understand some aspects of our firm. And at the end, some of the advice he gave us probably wasn't pertinent to us. But mostly what we've got from him has been very good advice. He also introduced us to Mary Hayden, whom he later married, and she became our financial officer for a while. At this time, we also began to branch out. I think in the early to mid-80s, you could say everything came to fruition, and we had all of this work. Now John Rauch always used to say, "We will get our work when our followers come in." Now, we've always used this sassy phrase which is, "Marx said he was not a Marxist, and Freud said he was not a Freudian, and we are not Post-modernists." But as Post-modernism began to flourish, so there was more work for us. Although of course our followers and those people who produce bland versions of our work and misunderstood versions of our work got by far the majority of the work. And I thought of Picasso saying, "Others will follow me and make my painting beautiful."

PR: Did they get the commercial clients?

DSB: Not only. They also got most of the big university clients.

PR: Institutional, as well.

DSB: Yes. I've written an article called "Architectural Taste in a Pluralistic Culture," and I describe there the different markets I think there are for different kinds of architects. And our role, whether we like it or not, is the high culture architect, with all the pluses and minuses of that. And there are other people who become brand names to upper middle culture, which is what most universities are. Not all, but most. Harvard is upper middle culture and it used [Jose Luis] Sert for years. Sert being the brand name that followed Le Corbusier. Poor old Le Corbusier got a teeny little job at Harvard, and Sert got all the millions. And Le Corbusier was probably very bitter about Sert, as we feel when we see the formerly Modern architects hiring students and making themselves Post-modern, and getting all the work.

PR: Would you name some of these?

DSB: No, I won't. There are very few I wouldn't characterize as such. I think there are some good buildings that have come out of Kohn Pedersen and Fox. I think Richard Keating out of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has done some very good buildings. Now, of course, everyone's dropping Post-modernism like a hot brick, and they're going to India and coming back with a totally new view of design. So they've got the next bright fashion. But I notice that Mike McKinnell who, of course, put La Tourette in Boston, is now putting watered down Post-modernism on various campuses, and it's much loved. Let's not say watered down. Let's say beautified, simplified. We don't do Post-modernism. Our thing is much more agonized, more fractured, more socially relevant. It looks less pretty for those reasons. So we're still not getting the job, except from a very few chosen clients. I mixed up chronology and everything else.

PR: That's all right.

DSB: Jimi grew up in this time, and I can write a whole book about the child of working parents growing up in the spaces between adults, and somehow being brought up by the whole community, and never getting sick. [laughs] I'm very, very happy with how Jimi is leading his life, even if he isn't at college. He did his growing up well in those spaces. And I used to sometimes say of him, "He's growing himself up. But I am there to help that grown up come out." And I stress judgement with him. As a little boy, he used to say, "Was that good judgement?" He's still saying it, in a way. So that's happened. Suddenly we have much less work. We're out of fashion. So let's talk about acceptance. In the beginning we were young turks. And the young people who followed us had much less difficulty than we did, because although they were young, they were working in a now accepted style. So then there's a group of clients who will hire a young person, partly because they're cheaper. But that young person doesn't have to be a radical. They're working in a style that's accepted. So we had a problem when we were young, we were also radical. People who don't want to match wits with us will hire the prettifiers, as I've said, and also legitimately make things beautiful. As I said, there's still a role for young people from clients who don't want to spend a great deal, and also there's a big issue of control. I think clients are afraid that they'll have less control with us, and a Bill Bowen will wager the loss of control for the access, and the addition of creativity. He'll ride that uneasy road, and roll with the punches a little, because he thinks he'll come out much, much better at the end. And he does. With us, at any rate.

PR: It requires a trust on the part of the client.

DSB: Yes. At least a certain level of trust. The National Gallery client and Seattle have done the same thing. I think they've said, "You're an artist. We're involved in the arts. There's your leeway and our leeway, and we're in for higher stakes. It will look a whole lot uglier until it becomes a whole lot more beautiful. You can put it that way, too. So in the 80s, and particularly around the National Gallery building, we suddenly had much more acceptance. We did a great many lab buildings, working in association with lab architects. We did the working drawings for three museum buildings. We designed and built two museum buildings, and designed another one. We have another one yet being built now.

PR: Can I ask a question about the lab buildings?

DSB: Yes.

PR: In some of these, the collaboration as I understand it -- your firm was responsible more for the exterior, and the collaborating firm specialized in laboratory design, was more responsible for the interior.

DSB: Yes.

PR: Did that prohibit your working from the inside out, and the outside in, as you've described it? Did it limit your involvement?

DSB: Well, let me just say one thing first. Bill Bowen made that first marriage between us and Payette. He said, "Could you work this way?" And it wasn't just the exterior skin. It was the siting of the building -- very, very important. And the landscaping. Now, we had already made a model down the driveway along College Walk, and that was Wu Hall. So Payette looked to Wu Hall. We didn't try to interfere with the lab design. But they, for the entrance, took Wu Hall as their model. And we worked with them at the ends -- on those little bays where there are little seminar room, coffee room places, which are much loved. And we suggested that they be there, and they took a kind of vocabulary of plan shapes, again from Wu Hall, for those. So it was more than just the facade. But we didn't presume to tell them how to do labs. They know how to do that very, very well. And the proportions that came out of the lab buildings we accepted as honorable proportions, honorably earned, which we then had to work with. And it does look like a very, very large shoebox. And we tried to mitigate that, but in the end accepted it. We mitigated it by pattern, by the use of brick work, and very much by siting, and the siting of trees along it. So you never see a great length of the building from the walk. It's always with a beat of trees in front. And the trees are green and pretty, and the brick is behind the trees, and the shadows shine on the brick. And the whole thing is kind of very soft and mellow.

PR: So this was a successful collaboration.

DSB: Yes. And the one at UCLA is also successful in that way, and there's a loved building at UCLA. It seems also that the National Gallery and the museum in Seattle are going to be loved more than they're hated. That is, most of the people who are in the National Gallery love it. And the visitors love it. It's the architects who are not so sure. And there's even more simple-minded enjoyment at Seattle, as far as we can see. So there's been a great deal of acceptance until we went to being old fogies. So we're still horrifying some people, and being called old fogies by others. We simply went from being young turks to being old fogies, without being too much establishment in between. And there was a brief period of six months when we didn't look for work. Part of that was at the request of Simon Sainsbury. And he didn't say that. He voiced a worry, and when Bob said, "I've had this request to be interviewed by this other firm in England, and I don't know what to do, but I think I can't do it, because I think I haven't the time," Simon said, "There, you see, you've answered your own question." And really they didn't want us to. And really we should not have listened to them. Because that would have been the time to strike while the iron is hot, and find us work while we could. And we've paid a great deal for putting our full backbones, minds, heart -- the marrow of our being into those buildings, and not stepping back and saying, "Hey, I have to look for work." And now, of course, it's hard to find work. So at an interview at Harvard Law School, we were asked the question, "You will pardon me for asking, Mr. Venturi, but will you tell me, aren't you passé young architects would like to think we are. My belief is that the history books will show that we are head, shoulders, waists and hips above most of what's going on in America at the moment, or the world." But, of course, I'm accused of being an architect's wife when I say that. [laughs] But I've looked around a lot, and I've seen a lot. I don't see people giving the level of thought we give. And I don't see the level of talent. I see some talent emerging that's exciting to see. But in general, I look at the plans illustrated in books, and I think, "What lost opportunities." But, of course, I can't really judge that because God knows what their clients told them to do. We have enough experience to see that. But I also feel that fee structures being what they are, architects can't give the time to projects that they would like to give. So clients get a lot of not altogether thought through buildings because of the budgets and the schedules, which is a great shame.

PR: Are there younger architects whose work you do admire? I mean, granted it's different from what you might do, but do you find that --

DSB: Well, as I say, I think Richard Keating's firm has done some very -- when he worked for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. I think he's on his own now. I think Steven Holl looks interesting. There's a young Canadian architect called James McKay Taylor. I think that's his name. He's from Halifax. He may turn out to be interesting. A young couple that were my teaching assistants at Harvard, Maryann Thompson and Charlie Rose, recently they won a PA award on a pretty nice building. And we think very highly of Frederic Schwartz.

PR: Your former associate?

DSB: Yes. He's about the only person I really know who's design sense Bob will trust. If Frederic is working on a project, Bob can pull away from it and let more design responsibility to Frederic than Bob would give to most people.

PR: You haven't mentioned Frank Gehry or Peter Eisenman. I'm just curious what you think of them. They represented America this year at the Venice Biannale.

DSB: Yes. I think that's a flurry. I think that's a not supportable view of architecture, that you produce unsupportable architecture which, in fact, is supported, so it's really picturesque. And that you take a functional style and rearrange it to be non-functional. You're merely doing the same thing Post-modernism is doing, but you're doing it with Modern style.

PR: In a sense, they're ducks. Is that right?

DSB: They're ducks. They're the use of the picturesque without a hard backbone behind it.

PR: Okay.

DSB: And it looks to me as if the new Disney Concert Hall is pretty adeptly arranged in shapes. But I'm not interested in something . . . I'm much more interested in playing with conventions. Now, here's the kind of the nub of our problem, I think. And that is that we indeed play with conventions. And we always want to be tied to the convention, even as we depart from it. And the game is the system that you break. But not the abolishing of a system. A system which has its roots in convention. How modern architecture is done. And it always shows through. Like at the back of the building, it's Modern, if you like. On the front in the National Gallery we're taking the convention of Classicism, and taking it a step further for today, and melding it with the conventions of Modernism. The fact that you play, which is what mannerists do, makes people think you're not serious.

PR: And yet, isn't Gehry playing, also? Playing with form, with sculpture.

DSB: Yes. He's not outraging people. The symbols in his play [don't disturb] -- it's not that he's produced something that looks like something people don't like. If they all looked like a series of upturned bottoms, which is not Gehry's thing, it's what's-his-name's -- [end of side one, tape nine] He's married to Margaret McCurry.

PR: Stanley Tigerman.

DSB: Stanley Tigerman. He would produce a series of upturned bottoms there, and that kind of play of symbolism people don't like. And things that look as if you're caricaturing them, people don't like. Take the National Gallery for an example. The Classicists are outraged because we have played with Classicism. But they would have been outraged with all the earlier plays with Classicism, too, from the first person who stuck a column on a wall and made a pilaster. That's not structural, you see. So all of those plays -- Bob has written about that in an article talking about the sources of the National Gallery. So we outrage the purists who believe we're breaking the idols. And then we outrage the Modernists because not everything we do is functional. So again, we seem to be playing on Modernism. That big hole that's there to let people in, seems to be in a way -- it goes back to the beginning of blow-you-over Modernism, looking at factories, when you're meant to be looking at classical porticos. We're going right back to "eyes which will not see" and Le Corbusier looking at the tops of ships, and saying grain elevators are beautiful -- in that funny shape that we do in the Modern part of the facade, where you've got a real 'L' shape in the opening, crossed by columns. So that is old fashioned shock-your-socks-off Modernism, as done by the early Modernists. Well, the Modernists don't like that either. They didn't like early Modernism. They found something politer rather soon. But the worst of it is that people think that you are not serious if you play. Now, if you say, "God played when he built the world," then you make them absolutely furious. So I'll take that back because it sounds as if you mean that you are God. So there's a mixture of "You're not taking us seriously, you're light-hearted about what you shouldn't be," and "You're also playing God, and you're hiring a public relations person, which only God would do." So all these jealousies come out. And there's this funny tone. There used to be this funny tone in the criticism of us. And I think I've written about this, but the fact is that if you listen to that tone -- to me, it sounded familiar. And it's the tone that the silent white majority (when they used to exist), used to use about pornography. Which has to mean that architects think that we allow ourselves slightly scandalous liberties, which they wouldn't allow themselves -- wouldn't dare to allow themselves -- and envy very highly. And it's again their misconception, because we allow ourselves no liberties. We subject ourselves to a draconian discipline, and we cry and weep and pull our hair out when we design buildings. We don't sit there saying, "How shall I blow the mind of the public once more?" And we feel great joy, as well. And it's at a saga scale. But it's much easier to see the saga in the early primitivist, like Lou Kahn, than in the latter day agonised, mannerist, like Bob Venturi. And it may be forever that that happens to us, although Michelangelo is looked upon as a very great architect, even when he's a mannerist. People don't say, "Well, the Laurentian Library is really not his best building." So maybe there is a chance that eventually mannerism is recognized. And mannerism is very far from being perverse. And none of our buildings are perverse. They're all life-affirming. But today, to be life-affirming, you have to engulf life's tragedies. You can't turn your eye from them: and life's scale. And we say the highway's been through our buildings, and it ain't going to come out again. It's been through all our lives, and you can play at being in a medieval village, but it's going to come back and bite you. Some "human scale" can be very inhuman. So that's, I think, the story of our acceptance. Now, the development of our ideas through the time that I've been in America, say, we've been through social movements, and movements of aesthetics and movements of naturalism, if you like. Intellectual movements. And they've touched on architecture all the way. And in a way, they've touched on us a great deal, too. And I think these movements effect sensibility in everyone. I think sensibilities change when times change. And I think I've described that in one of those articles -- maybe the pluralistic one. Or maybe the one on social concern -- "Discourse on Social Concern for Radical Chic Architects . . ." But the 1960s, I think I've described to you before, certainly affected me. But I came with a set of intellectual preoccupations which were to do with being an African, and coming to feel -- before ever I came to America, that aesthetic concepts could tie you down, aesthetic rules could become ruts, and that something was needed to break them. And that functionalism was a very good way of breaking aesthetic ruts, and of course you get that in Vers une architecture. "Eyes which will not see" is his way of saying the same thing. And through the brutalists in England, I very strongly imbibed that. But I was ready to hear that coming from South Africa, where the rules imposed were from England, on an alien landscape which was mine. So I was ready to hear that kind of thing. And then in the 1960s, just as . . . I had left England, beginning to be interested in commercial architecture, as the same thing as industrial architecture -- a breaker of systems. We come to America, and on the one hand, there's the social movements, on the other hand, the intellectual movements at Penn, which say, "Break architecture systems, for the sake of social reasons." And I put the two together and make a very good shotgun marriage. And I've always realized it's a shotgun marriage that is between aesthetics which are open to social concern, and social concern itself. It's been a good marriage for me. But you don't necessarily have to be socially concerned to have open eyes. You can be a dictator, and you could still have an open aesthetic. It may be very hard to do those two things because the frame of mind, but the two don't have to go together. But they were a very yeasty brew for us. Then into the social movements, and out again the other side, and bang -- what hits you -- the backlash. And Nixonism and Reaganism. And together with that, history. And then suddenly the whole kind of preservation movement begins. And in the beginning, I make a good case that you preserve South Street. The buildings are beautiful. I use the role of the expert in reverse. I say, "I'm an expert, and I say these buildings are beautiful." Whereas Paul Davidoff said, "You architects -- you're experts. You're always telling people, 'Listen to me because I'm an expert.'" Well, working for a citizen's group, I said, "I'm an expert. I know these buildings are beautiful. You listen to me." What I meant was, "Don't move people out of there." Also, I meant, "They are very beautiful." Well that marriage between history and social concern blew apart straight after the expressway was stopped. And the poor people there, in the very worst way in the world, wanted to live in new buildings. And I, weeping, couldn't stop them from wanting that. I mean, why should I want to stop them? But people said to me, "It's been said of you that you're doing a historical survey. If that isn't true, I wouldn't want it said of me." That's what happened on South Street. And the historical people said -- Margaret Tinkum said -- "Someone," meaning me, "has been telling the communities the wrong thing." So I was in the middle in that one again. But obviously we, too, reverberated to [an] interest in history that we had long before the preservation movement. And Bob and I had met trying to support the Furness Building at Penn. Can you believe they wanted to demolish it? And Bob and I were the two at the faculty meeting who first pled for keeping it. In fact, he didn't say anything. I told you that story.

PR: Yes.

DSB: In 1970, I think it was, in the Yale Mathematics Building Competition, we did our first alusions to history as such. Not Modernism giving you a kind of a suggestion of the Porta Pia, as Bob's mother's facade is. But specifically, we used a gothic quatrefoil pattern and plan, and we produced a little bit of a kind of a gothic pendentive at the back of the building. So most of it is kind of Modern with a kind of a complex and contradictory tinge to it. And at the back, it's got a little bit of actual allusion. And then, of course, we had the ironic ionic column in the Oberlin Building. But we have never just wholesale reproduced history, or taken it straight, or tried to be archeological. We said you never can be. We've used the examples of 1920s movies where the Egyptian slave has a 1920s haircut. So we said, "Why try when you really can't be?" In furniture, we find the furniture we're drawn to is the uncomfortable stuff called transitional that, sort of, is idiosyncratic and sticks out a bit too much, and its curves aren't quite polite. But very genuine and very strong. And our buildings are transitional in the same way. And they're carefully thought through. They have an argument with their environment. You can almost see them talking to their surroundings. "Well, if you do this, then I'll do that." I first had that thought when I was in Seattle, and I saw all those little houses that have to get so heroic, because they have to build into hills. You almost see the house saying, "Well, if I put my parking underground, and I lean out this way, hillside you'll let me do this, and I can do that." You can almost see it like a discussion, its elbows here; its arms there. Well, our buildings -- you can almost see the words of the discussion if you look at them, and look at their environment. As we're headed into the ecological movement, all we've done is tried to think more sophisticatedly about context than most. And we've also been very aware of social ecology. The other day at a conference -- "buildings are for users" was used as a put-down of us. The person who said it caused everyone there to clap their hands. And then I followed, and I said, "All you people who are clapping, listen to this." And I said, "You need to use all your architectural skills to serve a community. A person who brings a rhetoric to a community meeting is being coals to New Castle. So you have to get a lot more sophisticated about what you mean by 'buildings are for users.'" But what I didn't add is that piety is the last resort of scoundrels, and social concern is often the last resort of poor designers. It's a tragedy. It shouldn't be that way. And I don't believe it is with us. But obviously, there's a very careful user analysis in all our buildings, and I could have given them chapter and verse of how we do it. But all I did was I quoted Lou Kahn, and he said it about people who say, "The city is for people" -- the same thing as, "The buildings are for users" -- he said, "Sure the city is for people. But the guy who tells you it, you reckon he learned it yesterday."

PR: So this person who is criticizing you or the firm for the social --

DSB: For being socially derelict for not caring about social things. For only talking about architectural qualities like decoration or light. Therefore, because you talk about those, you don't care about social things. "And look at my building. My building is the best of its kind in the world, if you take as the category" -- And that's what he said -- "if you take as the category, drawing in the public." And, of course, I couldn't see enough of his building to see if I thought it was a good building or not. But the point is that he seemed to feel that because we talk about light or decoration, we therefore don't find out about what people want. But it's not as simple as going and asking people, "What do you want?" As an urban sociologist, I can speak three hours on that subject alone. Who are users? Who speaks for the users a hundred years from now in the National Gallery? Are trustees users? Are staff users? Is the person who goes by in a bus a user? Is the person who goes in a user? Is the person who goes in a hundred times, as opposed to the one who goes in one time? The one who goes in a hundred years from now? Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. So the truth is that there's a very complicated mesh between the architect who is no longer one person, and the client group who now, in one way, can be the whole world, for the National Gallery -- think where everyone comes from. And that mesh has to be the subject of careful planning and nurturing, all the way through that job, and of a lot of understanding. And that's one of the things we offer when we're hired, that we will do all those levels, from working with students, faculty, staff, being thrown to the lion's den among hostile publics, to working with presidents, trustees, and particularly to working with client's project managers, and helping them be sensitive to these issues. Sometimes when the project manager says, "Do such-and-such," I say, "Have you asked so-and-so?" "We're going to ask you to do such-and-such." "Well, what do your users feel about it?" These are the kinds of questions.

PR: Surely other firms do this to some extent.

DSB: I think many firms do. All I'm saying is we do a great deal of it, and I have a lot of skill in it.

PR: Right.

DSB: Just think of what we're doing for the National Museum for the American Indian. Consultations all over the country of Indian groups. Ann Trowbridge has just come back from Alaska. She's been at a three or four day meeting there. And we just learn what everyone wants. We minute it all very, very carefully. We spell out the physical implications as we understand all of that, and we send it back to our client groups so they understand it. We're working with those as our documents. Much more user analysis than they'll ever do.

PR: Right. And that's got to be a difficult project where Indians are here being lumped all together when, in fact, they were never a unified group.

DSB: Well, they're handling that. And they will say to me, "Don't you bother about that. We'lldeal with that." An architect came to the last meeting I was at, and he said, "How can you say that you'll give a project to Indians, because in the end, we're all Indians. How do you even know who's an Indian?" Well, they got very angry when they heard that because he should have known that there's been legislation to define who's Indian. And they have all done their homework, and made their tribal affiliations. And they said to him, "Don't you worry. We know very well who's Indian." But he was very naive to think that he's got a band of users who are so naive they wouldn't know how to do that. Do you see what I mean? So we're much more used to working with community groups than he is. And I would never have dreamed of saying something like that to them. Because the answer is, "That's our business," and it's the right answer. And we have a lot of fun working with that group. The ones who are kind of on our task force are -- they're all of different tribes, and they tease each other. They all know the kind of "in" jokes about what the Cherokee are and what the Iroquois are. So I just don't understand it. I turn to Ann, who now knows a lot more. She says, "Well, this is the meaning of that." Everyone's laughing away. So it's a lot of fun.

PR: It's a fascinating project.

DSB: Yes. So I've been talking about development of our ideas. All the way through, we worked in planning, but just a small amount and a few projects at a time. And those projects, as Republicanism and conservatism have hit cities, have changed from being projects for planning commissions and urban renewal authorities, to being projects for public/private commissions, which have fees through, say, developer fees. And then to being institutions. Institutions that want campuses planned, that want representation to the city they're in for the needs of the campus, that need transportation analyses of a whole district that they find themselves spread in. And then other institutions like art museums, who need the same thing. So I've dealt with development of ideas, acceptance, chronology: new development of the office. I talked a bit about that last time. As we started to grow, John Rauch began receding more and more, and in the end, took a sabbatical, and at the very end, he said to me, "It's not fun anymore." That's the basis on which he left. By that time, I think he truly believed that we had good management skills in place. He said that. In fact, we didn't. And we've had to spend quite a few years working them out. Because they couldn't be the way he ran things, which was kind of on horseback, cards close to his chest. And we've had to delegate a lot more -- get more people involved in what I call the "Y level" strategizing. "X level" is discreet tasks that juniors can do -- to do with ordering supplies, or keeping the technical library going. "Y level" would be hiring and firing, at least low levels of those. Person power allocations, getting together to have a kind of slave market every Monday morning. "I need a person for two and a half hours." Sorry to call it slave market. It gets called that in the trade. But what it means is they all allocate among themselves. They all know who's going to need what, so that they don't go raiding each other's jobs. But they share, and share alike, and we try to budget people terribly carefully, because that's our biggest expense. Down to like a half of an afternoon. "Well, you can have her the first half of the afternoon. Then I need her the next half. And next week she can have three days with you, four days -- later, after that, I need her." And so on. So that we carefully keep only the numbers of people we want, because we have not the working capital to be able to sort of keep people on, hoping that their job will come up. So it has to be very carefully worked out. But a lot of that is now worked out at the "Y level." Top level strategies Bob and I still do. But we also have our troika, as we call it.

PR: And who are they?

DSB: Well, typically, a troika might have four people in it, to advise us about the management of project management, the management of job development, financial management. Financial management we really do with our financial officer, who is Carol Pinard, who has a B.A. in business management, and she's very bright and sharp. She likes to work for an organization where they are involved in something other than money, and she keeps the money going. And she's very, very good at saying, "I must talk to you. Here's our financial situation. You have to think of this." She's telling us now we are top heavy. Like it or not, it's a tragedy. Like it or not, when people come off the major jobs, they just can't stay. They've been with us ten years; we still can't keep them. But I was talking to Gene Kohn of KPF, he was saying just the same thing. And that's the fee structure that we're being offered by clients who now know that architects are in a bad way. And architects are offering their services for one and two percent.

PR: Is Steve Izenour part of the --

DSB: Steve Izenour and David Vaughan are our two senior associates, so they are our top level. Steve Izenour is involved in certain projects, but he's also a lot involved in the kind of office management around job development and public relations, and around things like exhibitions, you see. That side of it. So that's his side of management, because we all take on management. So the day-to-day job proposals come in. The first person to see them will be Steve and our Marketing Manager, a person called Stephanie Hodal. I'm pushing on those two to be very, very much more selective at the moment. Because we're now well-known, and we get a great many proposals where they say, "Let's have Venturi come out to see what he looks like. He's free." I told you about that. So I'm trying very hard to get them to what I call "cold turkey" on those, and only to go for the ones where we have a chance. But Steve and Stephanie are helped by one assistant, and then I try to get various other younger people to do what's called "bird dogging," which means to follow certain job possibilities, and keep in touch with them, and keep in touch with the possible clients. And that we must get kind of C level people to do, because it's expensive, and we can't afford the B level people to do it. But to keep in touch with some of the schools, for example, and some of the health facilities, and the Japanese work. That's around marketing. Project management, and the management of management -- David Vaughan and David Marohn, and sometimes Dan McCoubrey are the people. And then they work with the Project Managers. And all of these are growing institutional arrangements, but they're not grown yet, and I wish they'd grow a little faster. We really need them. But it's difficult to grow people into roles that they haven't had. You have to do it carefully. And then begin giving some people authority, and then suddenly you find the others aren't too happy, and you find you've created a monster. People change as their role changes, and not always for the good. So all of that you kind of have to watch. And yet, we're meant to be involved in art; not business. And in making things beautiful. And in managing economically, not being unbusinesslike, but at the same time, our bottom line is making things beautiful. But we mustn't die financially. So all of this is kind of the development of the office. It's not by any means in a position where we want it yet. One other overarching theme is teaching. We left Yale, never to teach full-time again. But I did advise at the M.I.T. School of Architecture & Planning for ten years, and Bill Porter wanted me there to help about studio. In that time, I had hoped at least for one job interview. I spent ten years not only advising them, but writing up each year a careful report on where they were, for both planning and architecture.

PR: Were you part of a committee?

DSB: Yes. I was on the Advisory Committee. They have those committees. You're meant to be on them for three years, and I got re-appointed four times. So then, I'd always been telling them that they had a problem around the center of the architecture school, that their studio program was not good. And I finally sent them a very, very firm letter about it, saying, "You just have to change your structure. You're teaching a housing program in every studio except one. And you're teaching urbanism from a point of view that I, as a planner, would never do, let alone as an architect. And the categories you bring together are unrealistic ones to do with echo forms and urbanity and group forms." I said, "Where are the agonized choices that have to be made in housing? They don't know anything about economics, but they're not drawing well, either." And things like that. And I said, "You've given no problem where students can detail a small building. Your projects are so big, they can never get to get the practice of detailing." The original President and Provost, Jerry Wiesner and Walter Rosenblitt -- I liked them very much, and they liked me. I enjoyed them. They were definitely people to match wits with. Well, they left, and the Architecture Department people didn't like me any too much, and got me not reappointed, after I did that one letter. You see, I think it's a very good school in its research departments and its planning. But there's this one piece of architecture that -- it's a very nice school in its atmosphere, too. So I got removed by a little letter from the then-Provost saying, "We think you must be very busy now." So I wrote back saying, "I've enjoyed my ten years at M.I.T.," and that must have given them a great surprise, because I wasn't meant to have been there ten years. So they sent me, not a job interview, but a silver mug, engraved. [laughs] So that's the last I saw of M.I.T. I've given various -- what's the famous professor there -- the name professor lectureship I gave one year there. We've done the same thing in various other places at -- Lawrence Anderson, I think his name is.

PR: Yes. That's it.

DSB: I gave the lecture in his honor. And I went afterwards and talked to him, and I said, "You want me to lecture here and to advise you, but I really need work, and I think you're scared to hire me. And you shouldn't be scared to hire me." Well, he sank back in his chair and looked at me with wide, wide, frightened eyes. And we've never had an interview before or since. And I find that very strange behavior. Even recently they made a decision that we really couldn't hack it for M.I.T. Even within the last year. I went on the Board of Advisors at Temple, and I still am on that. I've been on the Board of Advisors at a couple of other places. And then I was kind of pushed very hard by Lee Copeland at Penn. Penn gave Bob an honorary degree. Did I tell you about that?

PR: Yes.

DSB: At that time, Lee then pushed me to teach. So I thought I'd better mend my fences with Lee. And I did teach, and I had a very nice time teaching.

PR: This was the Fairmount Park Studio?

DSB: Yes. At Penn. And that also sank without much reference anywhere. They could have given it a little exhibition. It was a beautiful project. But they didn't.

PR: And what about teaching at Harvard?

DSB: I'll tell you about that in a moment. So that was a semester I spent. We spent a very little while running -- Steve Izenour organized a studio at Yale, and we went to just the jury, for that. But it was in the name of the firm. And then I was called on the phone by [Rafael] Moneo. He said, "We're giving a conference on Architecture in the Present," or some name like that. "Would you come and give a talk on Robert Venturi?" So I said, "I'm extremely hurt that you don't know enough about us to know that you should be saying, 'Would I give a talk on my work, and Bob's work, and the work of our firm.'" So he was horrified. He said, "I'm awfully sorry, Denise. And I'm sorry I made that -- we'll do whatever you want." So he then organized that Allan Plattus would give the talk. And Allan called me and I said what I meant. And then he called me and he said, "Now that I've done that, I hope you will be on a panel of architects to discuss the present state of architecture." And I can't remember who all was on the panel except Peter Eisenman. And at that panel, Peter Eisenman said, "I wish Venturi wouldn't keep sending his surrogate. Why does he always send Denise Scott Brown to these things?" And the whole audience booed. And Peter Eisenman's wife came up to me -- his new young wife -- she said, "Why don't you kick him?" And Peter came and he said, "Denise, you know what I mean. After all, I published you before anyone else did." But the rumor is that the people from Princeton who were looking for a Dean were at that panel, and he got crossed off the list as a result of that. Yes. That's the rumor. Then Moneo called me and I said to him, "You know, you saw that happen. One of those happens to me every day. Every day of my life something like that happens to me." And then he said to me, "I want you to teach a studio at Harvard next semester. I want you to be Elliot Noyes Visiting Professor." So I said, "No." I said, "I've just got too much to do," etcetera, etcetera. "I've got to watch my health." And he said, "Denise, after what you have done and said, you cannot say no." So I said, "All right." And again, it was a wonderful studio, and I really, really loved it. And their students were terrific.

PR: What department was it in ?

DSB: Architecture. Which, by the way, the one at Penn was, as well. And when we taught at Yale, it was also architecture.

PR: What was the studio at Harvard?

DSB: It was called the Architecture of Well-Being, and it had a very complex aim. It said, first of all -- and this goes way back to my early years of teaching -- there's a new theme in this society, which is health. And I kind of documented that in many ways. And in all former times, there's been a wonderful architecture of health. Think of the Roman baths, the Japanese baths, the Finnish sauna, the European spa -- think of all those fantastic architectures of health. What's happened to us today? There's nothing. Saunas are in locker rooms. So I said, "Let's try to understand this emerging institution, and what its architecture should be." And we did, as all my studios do, research, design, research, design. We also did this time individual and community. So that our first research was into human physiology, and very many other things -- the architecture of spas and saunas, and various ways in which health has been looked after across the broad spectrum of the population. From the very poorest to the very richest. So you're not only looking at saunas, you're looking at doss houses, and what do they call them now? Places where the homeless go.

PR: Shelters.

DSB: Shelters.

PR: That's what I was going to ask. It got down to that.

DSB: Yes.

PR: What I call the nuts and bolts of community health.

DSB: Yes. It looked at all of that. But then the first design was completely subjective. I said, "Design yourself a sauna." We also looked at all the equipment of health -- the lifting metal stuff, and the shoes, and the fact that now all this health equipment is in the home, and the design problems of the equipment in the rest of the house -- we looked at a very broad range, much more than I had. We had a doctor with us all the way. He was an emeritus from the Public Health & Student Health at Harvard. Warren Wacker. He was wonderful. And he went along with us. We had the man who wrote the book called The Relaxation Response come and lecture. So we really went into the whole issue of health as a fad, but health as the notion of jogging now, and all the health and fitness things that are going on, and the effect they have on the city. We've pointed out that every new fad takes a form in the parks; so you get jogging trails through parks now. I'll show you a copy of that. Its introduction is kind of lovely. Then we said, "This sauna is completely your personal thing, and also for about five of your friends. And you may put it anywhere at all. You may put it on an island in the Aegean, you may put it on a rooftop in New York. You think where to put it. You may put it in a Winslow Homer watercolor. But wherever you put it, its environment must be a very important part of it. There must be a sequence between it and its environment." I said also, "This is an invitation for luxury, for color, for anything that you want, for making a model that suggests all of this. Very, very personal." It's another piece of my pedagogy. If you tell people it's time for a personal odyssey, they'll take it very seriously. And then I gave them a lot of reading. Again, part of what I feel about teaching. You must get architects reading in the context of design, or they won't read. They must have to read to do their design, and then they'll want to read. Then they'll use reading professionally, to help them in their work, which is the thing you want most. You help them do that. Partway through this I began thinking, "I'm a middle-aged to elderly lady, and I've got a bad back, and I've chosen a problem for me. What will they make of it? Will they make of it a sexual orgy? I wondered. Because they're young. And active.

PR: Right. And where are they at?

DSB: Yes. Do you know what they made of it? They made of it an interpretation of life and death. So many of them had some figurative way of crossing the [River] Styx: you went up a mountain to the light. And many of them, rather consciously, had phallic and vaginal symbolism in it, whether they were a girl or a boy. They were discussing all this among themselves. But they set it in the China Seas, they set it on the coast of Mexico. Someone did take a rooftop in New York, and set it between two billboards, and in what looked like a piece of air conditioning. And also, one of those circular water towers. That was a marvelous one, done by a Swiss guy who is very talented. He made a neat, sweet, little Swiss plan, with all the detailing. Just beautifully done, but with detailing of light fixtures on billboards, and things like that. Beautiful.

PR: Was any of this studio published?

DSB: No, it hasn't been published. Time. They wanted to publish it, and they have a little money left, but I don't have the time. And then we went on and we said, "Now, let's take health into the community. And let's use Cambridge as our source. And let's document how all these health institutions lie out on the land." And I got them to do a Nolli map of Cambridge, and then to locate all the health institutions. And one kid took a health directory -- health and social work directory of Cambridge -- and she mapped everything that was in the directory, and she photographed most of it. And we had this poignant set of things from a little back alley house for dealing with addicts, to a public library. Just the whole range. To a little old place where homeless hung out. And then our students did a range of designs about health in the community. Many of them tried to think about shelters for the homeless. Some went walking out a railroad track and found little shelters -- and talked to homeless people. It was very interesting what they came back with having learned. And I tried to get them to get -- many people don't want to go into shelters, because they find the shelters even more threatening than the outdoors. I tried to get them to get to the point in that problem where it was feasible. In other words, if you say we're going to build palaces for the poor, it's a pipe dream. So where can an architect enter into this system? On some level, that's feasible. We didn't really solve that, because it's not really soluble. But we did have a very interesting little storefront that someone chose, where on the front, on Main Street, it was a place where you could go to learn about addiction, and they'd have publicity and stuff for people walking on Main Street. There would be a very little door to the back, but there's also a back alley entry for addicts to come and dry out, and for homeless to get a shower, and things like that. Sort of cut off, but available. The two of them in one little house. A very interesting project. But I also wanted them to take up the great public sequences of an institution, and I showed them a great many of those marvelous plans of Turkish baths, of Roman baths, and things like that. And some of them did pick up on that, and did try to think of latter day health clubs and spas, public or private, as institutions in a city.

PR: The ethno-history, in a sense, of health institutions.

DSB: Yes. And that's the last thing I taught. And the students were wonderful. I had our friend, Philip Finkelpearl come to the jury. He's the one who said to Bob, "I think what you'rereally trying to write about is complexity and contradiction in architecture."

PR: Yes. He's the literary scholar, right?

DSB: Yes. And he came, and he said, "I'm so envious. You've got such wonderful students." And he was pretty good there. I also had a priest friend of mine come and be on the jury, who's from Harvard. Because some of them were into religion as part of this whole thing. And Warren Wacker pointed out that another place where people go to have a relaxation response is churches. So leaving out churches, you're probably leaving out half of your subject.

PR: Right.

DSB: So, we had Bill Opel, who's been a friend of mine since 1958, come and be on the jury at Harvard. He went to Harvard, and he's an Episcopal priest. We found that the kind of smart, chic, young, male professors at Harvard were all into demolishing the students, and turning around to me to make sure that I'd noticed how clever they'd been. And I was having a problem understanding them. And the students didn't like being demolished one bit. So I found some nurturing professors there. One was Mirka Benes.

PR: Oh, yes. I know Mirka.

DSB: She was very good.

PR: She teaches the history of landscape.

DSB: Yes. And also Lynn Jewel. She's also in landscape. And they could catch on to what we were trying to do, and be creative. And I found that if you get the feeling among the students, "We're all looking together," they will demand judgement. They won't want just advice. They'll want judgement. But you have to really get it so that the faculty are being responsible. Not just making digs to show themselves as being cleverer than the students. It's easy to be cleverer than a student. You're older. Anyway, we had very good interim crits and juries. I could never get people at Harvard to come in on time. They seem to have a whole other culture there. But it was a very warm and nurturing experience for me. And those young women were marvelous. We had as many women as men. They were terrific. And by the end, when they took me back to the airport, they used to hug me. They were very nice. There was one woman that -- she and I had a big set to. She was doing "The Emperor has no Clothes" thing. She produced something that I found astoundingly ugly, and she thought it was beautiful. And she brought her whole clack with her to clap. She specialized in doing something different from what you asked of her. And that's okay if you're also going to work very hard. But she seemed to be avoiding the problem quite a lot. Although probably not as much as I thought. I think she was very lost, as well. She had great hair like this. And Jimi Venturi came to one of my juries, and he had hair out like this, too, at that stage. Not so much anymore. And straight out like this -- [end of side two, tape nine] The jury ended in chaos, with my having told this young woman that this building was ugly. And she said no it wasn't; it was beautiful. And my having said, "I think you haven't done very much work." And everyone saying I was bullying her. But I think she hadn't done very much work. And straight after that, Jimi Venturi made a beeline for her, and he started by saying, "When you said such-and-such, I assumed you meant such-and-such. And I'm on your side, but when you did this" -- asking her very pertinent questions. And then she said, "Well, who are you?" And he said, "I'm Denise Scott Brown's son." [laughs] We made friends later. And she said she really thought that he was trying to smooth it over between her and me. It was sort of touching. Well, I've done what I intended to do. I feel I haven't given a very good survey of the development of our ideas over the period 1960 to 1991. It's going to have to be left for another time, I think. But you did ask me to do the studio at Harvard. You asked me to tell you the story about the Piero room in the National Gallery. There's two pieces to the story. The one is that they had wanted to hang their most famous -- or one of their most famous -- pictures at the end of the long, long vista, the end of the main concourse -- the Piero della Francesca. And Bob said, "The whole of the town of San Sepolchro was probably not as long as that vista. And the whole of the Italian peninsula didn't have as many people in it as London, or whatever you want to put it at. And so, the scale is all wrong. And your picture will be just blown out of the picture, so to speak, by the scale of the room. But they wouldn't listen to us. But luckily, via about two people, someone who Neil MacGregor does listen to, who's name is Carolyn. She became the editor of the Burlington magazine, after him. I don't remember her other name. And she has written a very snippy article about us. She doesn't know as much as she thinks she does. But the article sort of says, "They don't know about the Italian renaissance. They think they do, but they don't. And I do, and I'm saying this and that." So she's not maybe our favorite of people, either. But she did manage to say to Neil -- and maybe Robin Middleton had a little hand in helping -- that there is a tradition of a small room for some very precious paintings, which is what we'd been asking for, just off the main access, and last thing to it.

PR: What role did Neil MacGregor play?

DSB: He could say yes or no to anything we wanted.

PR: Okay. So you're saying he is the client.

DSB: Yes. And he said, "No, we're putting it on the wall." Luckily, I think Robin mentioned the word "studiolo" or something diminutive of studio in Italian, as the kind of space that occurs just off the main space, near the climax, in a way like a romantic landscape, where the temple is not at the top of the hill, but just off the brow of the hill. Well, the same way. And now everyone acclaims that room as being perhaps the most wonderful room in the whole thing. Just the three Pieros of their collection, and they're very small, very intimate. Nothing else. And it's just very quiet. It's like a little chapel to art in there. So now, as I say, the press loves it, and I'm sure Neil claims it. You're getting a bit of the bitterness which I'm not really intending to speak about.

PR: That you fought for.

DSB: But anyway, the story, is this. Angelica Rudenstein, at the opening, was heading down toward that room. Did I tell you that story?

PR: Yes. About the dead end.

DSB: Yes. That's it.

PR: Very funny. Very cute.

DSB: Where do we go from here?

PR: Can we go to Asia?

DSB: You wanted us to talk about Japan. Our experience is described in that article, "Two Naifs," really.

PR: Which hasn't yet appeared in the United States.

DSB: No. I hope it will, because I think it's probably best left that we talk about -- that I leave it at that. Everything else will be sort of anecdotal, and there are some funny stories. But I don't think it's worthwhile spending time on that.

PR: Because you've written.

DSB: Because we've written about what we feel about the architecture there. And how it's affecting us, and what we think about the urbanism there. And it's recent, and it's succinct. Our hope is eventually that we'll be able to work in Japan, but things are slow there now, and it may take a few years. And as Lord Keynes said, "In the long run, we're all dead."

PR: What was the exhibition that you had there? Was it an exhibition of your work?

DSB: Yes.

PR: A retrospective, in that sense?

DSB: It was a small exhibition of our architecture through photographs, and an exhibition of our decorative arts objects, through the objects themselves. And all as a means of initiating the Japanese introduction of our furniture. That is Knoll Japan are manufacturing our furniture, and selling it in Japan. So that was the reason for it. And maybe we should have gone to Japan many, many years ago. For years I used to use the fact that I hadn't been to Japan as a metaphor for the fact that I felt now is the time to stay home and work, not travel. But when we did go to Japan, I think we were very ready for it. And it was, as Bob would say, a revelation equivalent to the one when he went to Rome for the first time. [Tape Off/On]

PR: You were just showing me the studio program that you designed for a studio at Penn in 1982, called Fairmount in the City - the Park in the Cultural Landscape -- Fairmount in the City.

DSB: Yes. But I think just after that, you said, "Is anyone going to ask me to offer an article for the festschrift on Robert B. Mitchell. And I said, "The planners don't know I'm a planner, and the architects don't believe I'm an architect." And in a way, that begins to sum up this tape. And I think I'm going to try to do the end before the end, to give me enough time to do the end. And then I'll just go out talking about Berkeley and UCLA.

PR: Okay.

DSB: So I'll make sure to say everything I want to say about the end. That is this funny situation of role. I think I already described to you why Isaiah Berlin's book, The Fox and the Hedgehog seems to suit me. I seem to be a transitional person to go with the transitional architecture I described to you. My career can also be described in another variable which arches over the whole thing, and that is the one called connections or linkages. And during the earlier tapes, I talked about a great many people. Maybe an unusual number of people who'd been important in my life. So if anyone says, "Who is your mentor?" I must give them a two hour lecture. But you would also say that it represents a vast number of subjects, as well, that seem to have been important to me. I said that I couldn't really go back [return] to Africa. I think I probably said already that anyone -- that I feel -- to start a school of thought or maintain a school of thought, you need six people. And in Johannesburg, there were three. So really, I need an on-going, intellectual support system, a way of getting things done, within which I intervene creatively. Just the other day I was sitting on the phone, trying to resuscitate a contract that seemed to be dying, with a certain potential client who we would like to work for. And I don't see myself in this light, talking to this big boss and saying, "Here's what we could do for you." And, "Yes, I know that. But your staff said this, and we really meant that." I got it back on track, and I had a sense of being a wheeler-dealer on the telephone. And I also noticed I felt some sense of power. Then I said to myself, "I think of myself as a nurturer of cities, and as a maker of beautiful things. And as a worrying through of intellectually challenging problems. And also as a teacher of all these things." I should have added to the part about teaching that I still teach in the office. I really train people to be urban designers and planners, right here in the office. My teaching function has never stopped from when we left off teaching. It's gone right on with that training function in the office. That's a little aside, back to the last variable.

PR: And also very much the studio, the office, and your clients -- the work is now that intellectual support.

DSB: Well, I'm coming to that. I do a lot of teaching of my clients, too, if you want to put it in those terms. But anyway, so here I am thinking of myself in all those lights, but I'm sitting on the phone doing deals. I think, "Am I harking back to my father when I do that?" I see Jimi Venturi in need of some training in how to do deals, and he calls me. And I point out to him, "The main thing you need to do is make sure that your potential client feels as well served as you will be served by the deal. That it's going to be an advantage to both of you. Obvious to them that it will be an advantage to you, but also obvious to them it will be one to them, too. And that's the main essence of a deal." So I thought of my father when I did that. But then at the end of the little snippet called "About the Author" in Urban Concepts, I also -- because I wrote that -- I said, "What I specialize in the most, probably is making linkages between things." And so, if you start out and try to make linkages between South Africa and England -- and I've tried that in many ways, all my life. It's still important to me to confront ideas that came from both and now with America, too, by putting people in a room together and hearing them discuss. That's one of the ways. And at the same time, I said, "I feel like a circus horse rider, riding the two horses of architecture and planning," particularly during the 60s and 70s, as they diverged from each other, and it was through my rather thin (then) body, I was trying to bring them back together -- back in line. In the office, I tried to keep architecture and urban design together. Particularly now, as Bob begins to talk about urban design "do-gooders," and with some cause, because a lot of urban design as practiced is very unknowing, and doesn't have the sophistication that he needs, to work with it. It thinks it does good by making very simple pronouncements, which, in fact, when you come to the individual instance, do bad; not good. So there's another set of connections. There's probably somewhere a small child trying to keep mother and father connected. I suspect that in the back of all these motivations lies something like that. But in making these linkages in the past, my support system is listed in all of these -- like the article "Worm's Eye View" lists a lot of them. And today I'm not the youngest around, trying to bring together the lessons of my professors to teach my students, which I did a great deal in my urban design studios. I tried to make sure that the coursework they would get in transportation, economics, sociology -- got introduced to them in the introductory studio by me, and looking at them from an urban design framework. So that later they could bring that same framework to bear when they got the courses from people who were far from sympathetic towards architects' needs. So that kind of making a framework for others by making connections myself, and making linkages to my own support network, has had to change as I've got to be the oldest thing around. I said when I turned fifty that every experience I meet now, I've met three times before. And that gives me a sense of power. And that's the way I went into my middle fifties feeling. Now the connections I'm making are to do with a long experience, and the needs of these new client groups like universities and museums where I'm working with high level institutional planners, but the planning is financial and academic, or artistic. And then I have to help these people relate that to physical implications. Not only that, I quite often have to help them learn how to run an architectural project. So I'm training clients, too, when they'll let me. When I said to Simon Sainsbury, "How are you going to make decisions on this project?" He said, "That's none of your business." But he did learn how from Neil Rudenstein, who was a past master at it. Neil and I can talk well together.

PR: So he intervened, in a sense. He was a liaison between you --

DSB: Neil Rudenstein?

PR: Yes.

DSB: Neil Rudenstein played the role that I would have played if they had let me. And he's very good at doing it, and he and I would have a lot in common in that respect. He and I could talk very well about those issues. I found the same thing with the Provost of Dartmouth, John Strohbehn. It was really a joy talking with him. And a certain Professor Robert Zemsky at Penn. And I can help them find philosophies for dealing with overall campus planning, which is terribly different from the help they would get from the usual architects and planners, who would say, "Put a building on this corner." Architects probably don't even talk about where the parking should go. The planners probably do. But it's a whole different way of working with a client, which comes from being an academic myself, and liking to kibbitz, and discussing philosophies of education, and their physical implications. Or philosophies of student housing, and their physical implications. And sometimes saying to the administrators, "You know, if you talk to the student life people, they'll tell you there's welling up among the students a certain set of desires which administration isn't hearing. Do you want to hear about these or not?" So I sort of help to make the communication in the community I'm working with also operate. And that's part of my connecting job. And as I say, my new support systems are probably the disciplines and fields of the clients I'm working with, and the needs that they have, and the way I can relate to those, whether it's a medical school, or university, or several art museums. And what you call a Native American Indian museum -- heaven knows, because it isn't art, and it certainly isn't anthropology. Perish the thought, as far as they're concerned. It's to do with modern life, and all its cultural apparatus, as transmitted by an ethnic group to the public in its own way. Well, enormously interesting intellectual material comes from all of that. And they play off against each other. So I have this interesting task now of telling the Smithsonian about how Denver is viewing its Native American collection, and telling Denver about the outreach the Smithsonian is hoping to do, and then informing Seattle, who has another wonderful collection, about both of those. So there I am, happily linking away again. And I once was talking with a good friend about another friend, and she said, "Well, why do you like him?" And I said, "He has a rich red wine and dry white biscuit mind." I told you that phrase before.

PR: Yes.

DSB: But she said, "You know, that's what you have." And it gave me pieces of my identity, which made me feel very good. It made me feel, "I don't need, in the end, to look outside myself for my support system, because with the help of my friends, I think I've made it inside." And given my situation of being married to a guru who is commonly thought to be the only genius in the family, and the only artist in the family. Given -- and this is confidential, and won't be allowed to be given out to anyone for many years -- the fact that we have just, as a pair, gone up for nomination for the AIA Gold Medal, and been turned down because I was with Bob. They specifically said, "If it was just Bob, it's another matter." But because I'm with him, he's turned down. Now, we had both decided that the last thing that you listen to or look for in reading about the life of Le Corbusier or Frank Lloyd Wright is did they, for God's sake, get the Gold Medal? So, in that sense, it doesn't matter. And the reason we do it is for who comes after us. But it should be a scandal. It may or may not be a scandal, because we may or may not talk about it. But that's what happened. That's why I need to feel I've internalized that red wine and dry white biscuit. So I feel I can support myself even when things go on like that, and do my work, and earn my own self respect. Now that, I think, ends this conversation. But we can go happily on, talking about Berkeley and UCLA. Unless you want to ask a question about all of that. [Tape Off/On] I was teaching at Penn, and Jerry Carrothers called me into his office one day, and I just got a sense of what he was going to say. He said, "Tell me. Have you thought about the future and your future?" And I said, "Well, you know, Jerry, I really can't stay here too very much longer. I really must get on and get some more experience in other places."

PR: Who was Carrothers? He was on the Planning faculty?

DSB: He was on the Planning faculty, and he was Chair of the Planning Department for a while. A very non-descript, rather nasty character. Canadian. That doesn't mean because he was Canadian. [laughs] But he was not a very nice person. But I just sensed that he was going to say what he said next. He said, "I'm pleased to hear that, because we've been feeling the same way." And that's how I was told I would not be reappointed, and would not get tenure. He said, "Of course, stay another year, and be thinking about what you want to do next." So I, with dignity, got in ahead of him. But I left Penn because I was not reappointed. And I and they were right. That is, I should have gone somewhere else. And I did. I got invited, at that point, by Bill Wheaton to go and be a Visiting Professor at Berkeley. And I was going to come back. I didn't pack up my office. I said, "You'll be back next semester." So I left everything in my office. They said, "We'll have someone just use your office." So, I went to Berkeley, and I spent a semester teaching there. And after I taught there, I travelled and hung around for a while. Just one little small point -- during that semester, I got a note from Peggy Wheaton. She had married Bill Wheaton, and gone there. But she'd gone back, on a visit to Philadelphia. I got a note. She said, "Do you know that they've packed up all your books in your office and put them in cartons, and left the cartons outside in the studio?" So, that's how I was ejected from Penn, with my books about to be stolen by anyone who passed by, after the promise that they'd look after my things for me. So, it's sort of typical of the way I got treated at Penn all along. So, there I was at Berkeley, and I left everything that I knew in Philadelphia. I said goodbye to close friends. The last evening before I left, Bob and I had dinner together. It was sort of prophetic. I seemed to have wanted to be with Bob for the last night when I might be feeling sad at leaving. So, we had dinner together. And then I set off for Berkeley, and I got there, and for two weeks, I didn't know who I was or where I was. And I suffered a kind of immolation of character, you could say. During that time, I set myself up in the Women's Faculty Club, which is a very honorable building by Julia Morgan. Later wrecked by the guy who's supposedly an expert on her at Berkeley. What was his name? Historian and architect.

PR: I don't know.

DSB: I can't remember, either. He sat on her records for years and years, and wouldn't let anyone else publish them. He had a line into the family. He finally did publish them himself, and did a rehab of the building inside, which was indescribably horrible. Anyway, I lived very happily in a little room with a very large live oak at its window. I wondered why every single night I had allergies. It was the live oak, but it was a lovely live oak, and a beautiful building, and a marvelous campus. And I had a wonderful time there, after the first two weeks when I began teaching. When I began teaching, I suddenly found out who I was again. I often think if I stopped working in this office, and Bob died, would I have the same thing? Even so much later? And I think old people do become neurotic because they lose their support systems, and they're under sentence of death. And I've seen an old lady -- she turned ninety-nine. She was Bob's mother's roommate at Friends Hall, which is where she died. She lived in Friends Hall for two years, and we made friends with a very, very old lady there. And the day Betty turned ninety-nine, she went into a tailspin. Thoroughly neurotic behavior about the law of averages. So Bob and I -- we went to visit Betty, because even when Bob's mother died, we still went visiting Betty. And Bob came and he said, "Betty, turning ninety-nine is no big deal. Now cool it!" And Betty burst out laughing. [laughs] But there is that sense.

PR: Well, when you moved to Berkeley, would you say you were in love with Bob at that point, or were you in terms of your relationship? --

DSB: We were good friends. I had very early made a decision that this is a guy consumed by his work, and that I would have a good relationship with him if I did not put any emotional demands on him. And I think I was right. And I think he had to go through publishing a book, building a house, getting some reputation, getting started in his business, and getting out of Philadelphia. And when he came to California, and he'd been working at Yale, he was in another mood -- in another view of life. He'd achieved a certain platform. And I think that's when he felt ready to think some other way. And me, too. I was not ready when I was at -- I was recovering from the death of my first husband, and I was in sorrow, and pulling myself out of a large mud puddle. So, there were many different levels. We were both of us not ready at that point. So there I was at Berkeley. I started teaching, and I set my room up as best I could, and it was kind of nice. I went down to Telegraph Avenue, and I bought a few things to make it kind of like home. I took out a few of the things I'd had in Philadelphia. And that's the last time I'd got to see Telegraph Avenue until the end of the semester, because I taught so hard. Because I hadn't given a lecture course, and I was giving an introduction to urban planning for architects -- for fourth year architects. And a seminar on urban form to graduate planners. I was lecturing three mornings a week at eight o'clock, and way into the night, I'd be getting out slides for my lectures. And I built the lectures on Bill Wheaton's course, and adding my own, and giving them a lot of reading. And this was in the middle of, not the Free Speech Movement, but the Foul Speech Movement. There was a student who put a poster up. It was on one of those billboards he walked around with. And it said "F-U-C-K" in large letters. There was a funny columnist whose name was Herb Caen, in the San Francisco Chronicle. And he wrote a parable about how a student leaned out of a window, and hung a large sign up, and it brought a university to its knees. It brought a great university to its knees. Because that one sign just was the last straw. And everything ground to a halt. And students said the sign stood for "Freedom Under Clark Kerr." And there was this whole university just in arms about one four-letter word on a billboard.

PR: It's hard to imagine that. [laughs]

DSB: Isn't it hard to imagine.

PR: In this day and age. Yes.

DSB: So that's when I arrived. And I was obviously very much for the students and the Free Speech Movement. And I gathered that one of their problems was that they didn't have the ear of their teachers. And it was true. When I sat in my office, on the fish pond, as they called it -- which was the atrium in the middle of that Brutalist building, which is the School of Environmental Design there -- everyone could see me at work. And most of the faculty were not there for students. They'd have appointment days which they may or may not keep. Otherwise they said, "You meet your professor at the airport if you want to see him at all." This wasn't true of everyone. The great Roz Lindheim was there. Dick Peters, May Arbegast, I think her name was. And these -- [end of side one, tape ten] [At Berkeley, the weel-known architecture professors were surrounded by] small groups of followers, like disciples. The school was a series of little private schools within this big public university. Of very small groups, each with a strong, young professor who had a million dollar grant. And very scornful of everyone else. And these private satrapies operated and then everyone else was left in between, with nothing. Those were the ones who formed a line at my door at night to come and talk, because I was there. So it was an interesting time. But I was told, "You have some very, very good students in there, but they learned from the course last year on introduction to landscape architecture that they didn't have to work." So, I said to the students that they'd have to work. But more than that, within the first ten days, I gave a test, and I failed over half of them. And I showed them their results. I graphed their results. It was well on the failure side -- the bell curve came well on the failure side. And I said, "We're going to do statistics in this course, too, and when you get a bell curve like that -- and particularly looking at the written papers that you wrote -- it means there's a lot of people here not doing the reading." And I had a tug of war with them all through the semester, pulling that bell curve over to where it belonged. Well, by about the second of those tests, they were beginning to get the picture, and beginning to work, a bit ashamed of how they'd been. But I could feel the actual heat waves rising, heat waves of anger rising off those students, as I came in. And they didn't have a way out, you see. Well, slowly we overcame that, and slowly they got interested in the notion that form is determined by forces within the society. Not only functions as architects derive them or describe them. That function is a subjective quality anyway, assigned by individuals. And I did a lot of showing of examples of kinds of social forces, and how they give form, ecological pressures which affect form, and so on. Transportation and other technologies, as they affect form. But also, I gave the history of city planning, and a history of sort of cities in America. Some of it they said, "Look. We learned all of that in high school. Why are you teaching us that?" And, of course, I don't know what they learned in high school, because I wasn't in an American high school. So sometimes my students have educated me that way. One student said to me at Berkeley, "I'm an architect, therefore I think in concrete terms." I've never forgotten that. And it made me realize a lot of other things, too. It made me realize, I have to go from concrete to abstract. I have to work inductively with architects. But with most other people, too. And once at Penn, I asked people students for comments on my teaching (I might have told you this story) and Paul Niebanck, who was my student then, wrote and said, "It was a pretty good course, but you didn't enumerate your goals, so how can we evaluate you?" And then one day, at the end of the course, I was collating things out in the studio, and he was kind of hanging around. And he looked at something and he said, "Look. This was a pretty good goal statement. Why didn't you give it to us?" And my hair stood on end because, in fact, it was the same program that I'd given them on the first day. On the first day it meant so little to him that he forgot about it.

PR: He didn't recognize it.

DSB: Yes. So, in other words, unless I give them enough of an experience, my generalizations learned in a lifetime of my experience mean zero to them. So I always try to simulate an experience, rather faster than mine, from which they can then understand the generalizations. But I worked that out from Paul and from the kids at Berkeley -- my two teachers. As we went on, they got more used to the idea. And then I did something else at the end of that course. I've always thought that courses should have juries, and should do projects. Because teaching for architects should be learning by doing.

PR: So, in other words, even a history course, like the history of urban design -- you would have the visual component.

DSB: Well, I would try to think if there could be a way to do it, and I've tried to bring the other faculty members into their jury, so that my urban design history course should have a crit from the transportation engineer, to help them put things together in their minds. So what I in fact did was -- I gave them a paper. And it's funny, because I simulated something I got to know very, very well as a practitioner later. But I didn't even know the words. I sent them an RFP, which said, "You are about to be hired to design a new city on the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona. Please give me a scope. Tell me what you would study to design this new city, in quite a lot of detail, and how you would do it." And I said, "I want you to work in a group -- two of you together. And I want you to argue through these issues together." So they did. And interestingly -- they formed combinations of a left-wing and a right-wing person. [Tape Off/On] Left-wing and right-wing kids got together and argued the issues of how you do planning, from a conservative and a liberal point of view. So they were pretty creative in how they dealt with it, and they all entered into the spirit of -- kind of, you see, I think teaching is a whole lot of playing. You simulate something and you pretend. "Let's pretend we're doing this." Particularly teaching studio. It's a great big let's pretend. And I noticed Bill Wheaton would always simulate an absent member of a jury. "Now I'm going to pretend I'm a farmer, and this farmer is going to have -- now here are my questions to you, as a farmer." So, anyway, they got pretty excited. We didn't have a jury of it, but we did share everyone's papers, and we did discuss it. So I left them good friends. But it took a whole semester to do it. And at the same time, I was teaching this -- you see, those were fourth year. They were kids. Another marvelous thing happened in that class -- when I told them what happens in America under urban renewal -- the whole story of how land is amassed, and then developers and architects get together and they build housing that's for upper income people, and it replaces housing of lower income people, who then push into the slums more. All of that 1960s version of urban renewal. You could hear a pin drop in that room. Sounds of absolute horror. Now, here are these socially committed students involved all over in the Free Speech Movement, yet they know nothing about social concern in their own career choice, and no one's even taught them about it. Here they are at Berkeley, and they don't know about all of that.

PR: Well, what were their backgrounds? Presumably it was suburban or California suburban, and it was not --

DSB: Charles Burchard once said about the kids at VPI [Virginia Polytechnic Institute] and SU [State University], it's now called. He called them, "My calico kids." And compared with Penn, the Berkeley students were calico kids. They were naive, bright, straight-shooting, wanting answers. But they didn't know very much. They weren't as good as the students at Penn, although Berkeley thought it had the best students in the country. But they were terrific. And it was nice teaching them. They were sort of hostile and revolutionary, and you had to give them a good fight. I didn't say, "Look how wonderful these students are, and they like me," and then go along on the coattails of the revolution. I said, "These are great students, and I owe them a good fight." Anyway, when I finished this about urban renewal, at the end of a long pause, one of the students said, "What are you going to do about it?" And I remembered my saying the same thing to Bill Wheaton when he taught the housing course. And I realized at the end of all these acronyms, it really meant no one was doing much about housing. And I gave the student the same answer: "I don't know. What are you going to do about it?" It was very poignant. One other thing that happened at Berkeley was that -- well, first of all, Brinck Jackson was very kind to me, and took it upon himself to kind of look after these widowed ladies and single ladies who are around, and have dinner with them. So I had dinner with Brinck about once a week, while he and I were both there together.

PR: Is he the same as J.B. Jackson?

DSB: Yes. John Brinckeroff Jackson. And we became very good friends then, at Berkeley. And again, he helped me enormously, because my view of how to think about the urban landscape, he'd been thinking about the rural landscape for years -- as an economic phenomenon, to be analyzed, and its form to be understood in economic and social terms. So he helped me a lot. He also pointed me to a book called The Human Uses of the Earth by an urban geographer called Paul Wagner. And I found that book, again, very broad scale, but from that, I could then turn to equivalent analyses of the city. Aldo Van Eyck came to lecture at Berkeley, and I had known him from Penn. And, of course, he was a member of Team 10, and therefore, he and I had friends in common -- the Smithsons, and others -- although I'd never met him in Europe. And when he came to Berkeley, because I'd known him, after the talk, I went to join them for dinner on Telegraph Avenue, and Norma was there, whom you certainly know.

PR: Norma Evenson?

DSB: Yes. She was the architectural historian out of Yale. Very prickly character. Very quick to tell you that she grew up in the slums of Washington. She is white, but she identifies as a poor person who got scholarships, presumably. And she's very, very prickly, and I liked her. But it's very easy to make her mad. Well, I, in my role of wanting to compare my experiences, kind of egged Aldo Van Eyck on, in comparing Europe and America. And suddenly Aldo was saying some not very nice things about America -- standard things like that you have Coca-Cola everywhere, and it's a consumer culture, and all of that. And suddenly, everyone realized that Norma Evenson was fuming -- furious. And she began by saying, "Why is it that visiting Europeans feel they can be much ruder to Americans than they would ever be to any other Europeans?" And then she said, "I want you to know, I am absolutely furious at what you have just said about my country. Do you think I like to see Coca-Cola in France? Why is it that you chose Coca-Cola from everything we have to offer? And as for materialism, why don't you take your six hundred dollars and go!" And then she said, "And by the way, your analysis is all our analysis warmed over, and it's a pretty old fashioned analysis at that. There are things wrong with America you haven't even heard of yet." It was wonderful. And he sort of looked around and said, "What's happened?" [laughs] So that was partly my fault. By the way, Norma Evenson then disappeared for a week.

PR: How long did you spend at Berkeley then?

DSB: I spent that semester and part of the summer, in which I took slides and I gave them -- I sorted out their slide collection, and I sorted through mine, and I gave them the opportunity to photograph a lot of my slides for their collection. Because I had built up a big slide collection of sort of pop art and everyday art in America. Not artistic Pop Art; popular culture. And they wanted those, and I had also brought a lot of slides of architecture that they wanted, and some slides from Penn that they wanted. So I spent a while doing that. And then my mother came, and my mother and a cousin and I all travelled in the southwest, and we had a marvelous time going through Colorado and New Mexico. We went to visit Brinck at his wonderful house, his adobe house outside of Santa Fe. I travelled around, and then after that, I went back, and I moved to Los Angeles, because I'd been invited, through again the help of Bill Wheaton, to teach at UCLA. I should just say a little bit more about Berkeley. In the course I taught to the planners, they were pretty civilized and pretty nice. When I first got to Penn, for the first six months, I was completely unable to visit Philadelphia. I was too busy. So the way I dealt with them for the forces and function -- FFF Studio -- was that I said, "Find me examples of how forces have influenced form in San Francisco. And each take a piece of San Francisco, and let's look at it from that point of view." And they did not very statistically accurate stuff, but nice observation. And some pretty interesting papers came out of that. And there was a solicitous and polite and highly intelligent young graduate student there at the time, who produced a pretty interesting paper. And I conceived the idea that I needed a teaching assistant. I'd had a very good teaching assistant at Berkeley, by the way. Dan Brewer. And I never knew what happened to him. I don't think he's remained an architect, which is a shame, because he had a lot of talent. And he had a wife called Iris. They were a nice couple. So I decided I needed a T.A. at UCLA, and this graduate student was looking for a job for next year, and I managed to hire him. His name was Francis Ventre, who for many, many years has been in Washington in the Bureau of Standards. But also, I had a very good time with Mel Webber there. Who else were the interesting faculty members? Of course Peggy and Bill Wheaton. I met Jerry McCue then. There were some rather hair-raising, mega-structuralists like Uli Roth. I was at a rather hair-raising jury of his, where the students were very, very bitter at having to do a mega-structure. Charles Moore was at Berkeley, of course. And eventually, also, so was Martin Meyerson. And Al Lowenstein arrived, and spent twenty-four hours in the district. He'd been teaching at Stanford. And I just went around with Al all day long. And I learned a very strange thing. Al had been helping UC Berkeley during the student riots find a way to manage the students. So he's this great student who'd also been teaching political science. So he'd been advising them. And I went with Al to visit Martin Meyerson, and Martin's eyes grew very, very wide when he saw me with Al because it was a very funny combination to put together. He thought of me in relation to architecture and the planning school, and here I was with his secret strategist.

PR: So how did you get down to UCLA?

DSB: Well, I was invited. And then I moved all my stuff, and had my stuff sent also from Penn, from Philadelphia. And George Dudley, who was to be the Dean, had had a talk with me. He had me down for an interview. He put me up in a nice hotel. It's the first time I saw those hotels where the breakfast room -- there are telephones at the breakfast table, because Hollywood moguls are doing deals at breakfast. But the language sounded sort of familiar. All those deals going on. It sounded not too different from my father. But it was all about Hollywood; not about real estate in Johannesburg. So it was sort of funny old familiarity. It's something that I don't necessarily agree with. So there it was. And they were very nice to me, and they said, "We know you want to do a book, and in that first year, while we're all preparing, you can do your book. We put in for you as associate professor." So I moved everything and went down there, got myself set up in a little cottage in Santa Monica. A marvelous little cottage. The assistant to the dean at the school took me driving, and she was horrified when I showed an interest in this, what she called, "area where people live on the cheap." But there were these teeny, little cottages, and this whole street -- Hart Avenue it was called -- someone was writing the great American novel at the top. And Linda Ronstadt later lived across the way, and she immortalized Hart Street, as everyone called it, and my house, and Charles Seeger in the back of a photograph, by having this whole street on the cover of an album. So it was lower middle class people bringing up children in these nice little houses, and the street was one block long, and there was a parking lot, and then there was the ocean, and then after that, China. And that scale of things was wonderful. So when I left there to marry Bob, I said, "Let's try to live up against something of inhuman scale. As an African, I really need this." I don't like, myself, living in a little row house in a small street in Philadelphia. I'd feel hemmed in. And you can see from the house we have, that I managed to find the equivalent of what I had in Africa -- of something with a big view. So anyway, I had this little house with a very big view from its front porch, and I just adored it. And I'd sit out on the front porch and do my UCLA work. And the kids would ride their tricycles down hill, because it was a little hill. And then they couldn't get back up because of the hill, so I'd do babysitting, as well.

PR: [laughs] You were the eyes of the neighborhood.

DSB: Yes. And there was next to me, on the other side, a sick, old couple. She had come to be a Hollywood film star, and she still wore the sort of turban and the bare midriff. She looked like a Carmen Miranda -- blonde, emaciated, and obviously very sick. And her elder sister, who was also very sick, and she had a very twisted mouth, with all sorts of wrinkles, and bright red dyed hair, and she kind of looked dirty. I tell you this because at the wedding she kissed Bob, which horrified him. [laughs] But there was one time when they said to me, "Now don't you worry, dear. We've got a nice, big dog here, and if there's any trouble at all, you just call me, and I'll just call our friends, the Hell's Angels."

PR: I love it.

DSB: Yes. So there they were, living next to me, on the one side. And at the end, I had Bob come and visit. I had all my colleagues -- Brinck Jackson came, Tim Vreeland came. And some would live in my -- I had an extra guest room. I said, "You can be put up in the guest room." And some were happy to do it. Brinck absolutely found himself a hotel. Brinck would travel around on a motorcycle, and he found himself a six dollar -- you know that about Brinck. His vehicle was this large motorcycle, and he'd travel all around looking at landscapes that way. He lived in among a group of Chicanos, and he kind of was like the señor among them. It's a very funny story -- the whole story of Brinck.

PR: These were people you invited to --

DSB: I invited them to come and lecture to my students.

PR: Okay.

DSB: I invited Bob, and he stayed in the guest room. And it turns out afterwards that when Bob and I announced our engagement, all of these neighbors had been seeing all these faculty members eating breakfast on my porch, and sometimes I'd have faculty meetings of all these men on my porch. What they thought I don't know, but when I finally announced my engagement, and Bob arrived, they said, "Well, we'd hoped it would be that one." [laughs] So, obviously, I was trying out all these others. [laughs] Little did they know they were married or whatever. So it was a funny situation. But no one seemed to think I was anything other than a straight woman and a professor. And no one seemed to think I was a loose woman. Esther McCoy told me she had a similar experience. Whatever she did, she was looked upon as being very correct.

PR: When did you meet Esther McCoy? Would you say she's been a friend of the firm?

DSB: Yes. You see, she had met Bob through this article she did on young architects. And when I went to Santa Monica, Bob said, "Oh, you must meet Esther." So, when we got together, she treated me like a long lost friend. And we used to hang out together, you see, and [we] would have dinner after class. We'd go eat at Zucky's, walk along the beach, end up in a Thrifty drug store, buying provisions. Things like that. Do a little shopping together. Just talk. And it was lovely. She was sad. She had lost her husband. He died of cancer. She was living alone there. It's very sad that in the end, my friendship with her broke up in a very tragedy filled way. But that was long, long after. It was just before she died. But at that time, we were very good friends, and I got her an appointment at Penn. So she helped me run the studio. And she was on a quarter appointment.

PR: At UCLA?

DSB: Yes. I meant at UCLA. I didn't mean Penn. I had to set up a studio there. By the way, what happened was when I got there, they said, "Sorry we couldn't get you associate professorship. You're going to be an assistant professor." I said, "I've moved all my stuff here. I came with a promise." They said, "Sorry." So I said, "Okay. You said I haven't published enough. I'll just stay home and write my book." And they said, "Well, we'll pay you." I said, "Don't pay me. Don't bother to pay me." "We'll pay you as assistant professor." So then they took me to Assistant Dean Foster Sherwood, and he was in charge of administration. And they said that this is what had happened. You see, I didn't make it through the faculty Ad Hoc Committee, and our Dean was so naive, he didn't know it existed. He promised me what he shouldn't have promised. So I said to Foster Sherwood, "I didn't expect to be associated with a school where publish or perish was taken seriously." I said, "I have worked very hard. I'm about the only person in my profession who can run the studio that you want." Because they didn't have any faculty then, they wanted two architecture faculty to run a studio and do inter-disciplinary coordination through studio, to teach students urban design. And that's what I did.

PR: This was a new program?

DSB: A new program.

PR: Newly established.

DSB: So we're setting up a new architecture and planning school, and we started with an urban design program. And I could, through my inter-disciplinary experience, go out and hire, for joint appointment, a sociologist, an economist, a planner, a transportation expert, right there in the school -- I had Cal Hamilton, who was head of the Planning Department, working for me. I was very young. I was about thirty-two or thirty-three. There I was. And Cal Hamilton was employed by me. I was coordinating him and these students. And we were doing again FFF, and then we were doing a design for the Santa Monica shore, as the design part of the studio. So I said to them, "There's no one that can set up a studio like this, except me. And you want all their semester credits to go through the studio, and you need me for that." So he said, "Join the family as an assistant professor." You could almost hear him saying, "My dear." Now, at the same time, they were offering Don Lyndon -- thirty years old, no more publication record than mine, but a California family, and about six foot tall -- not an associate professorship; a full professorship. I was absolutely furious at this. I think Don Lyndon wonders what happened between him and me, but that's what happened. I felt it was absolutely unfair. And there was also Henry Liu. Henry Liu is an architect, and he had worked with George Dudley before, as I had briefly, when I did this plan for New York Metropolitan Region. He was the chief client there. I think George Dudley felt he needed to hire people less able than he was. I think he felt inadequate. And what a big mistake he made in thinking we would be non-aggressive and non-assertive. We were both of us extremely assertive. And Henry was a very cut-throat character in many respects. And he bullied the students into doing mega-structures, got the students mad at him, and there was a time when the students . . . I ran a course the second semester. A similar kind of course about, sort of, popular culture and urban form. And I had people to come in and talk who were around Pop Art. We had a nice time with that course. But at the end of one day, the students said, "What's happening with Henry? Why is he treating us this way? Why is he doing all of this?" And Henry was listening behind the door. Can you believe that? [laughs]

PR: Paranoid.

DSB: And at the end, he walked in, and he said, "This is not the way this course is supposed to be going."

PR: Meaning yours?

DSB: Yes. Which meant he was intending to be Chair of the Department. We were looked upon as joint heads of the program, but there was no department, you see. So, we both went to George Dudley together. And I said, "You can't treat students that way. They just don't like it. They don't like to be forced to do things. They don't like it to be so obvious, you're going to publish it. You use the format that you want for publishing. And the reason you're having trouble with the students is the way you're treating them. Afterwards, George Dudley said to both of us, "Denise and Henry, both of you have problems. Denise, you have a problem that you're a woman. And Henry, you have a problem that you're Chinese." He said, "And I want you to know, Denise, you've just taken off ten years from my life." Can you imagine all that? Anyway, in the end, I got my tenure by having been there a couple of years, and knowing how to do the thing. And as soon as I got my tenure, Bob and I announced our engagement. So I did that typical female thing. But I felt they deserved it. And it had also worked out that -- Henry kept saying to me, "Denise, you be Chair of the Department. I don't want to be. I'll get my fun some other way." So I went to George Dudley and I said, "Look. Henry says he wants me to be Chair of the Department, but I'm trying to finish my book, because you need me to do that." And George said, "Look. Don't worry what Henry said, I've decided to make him Chair of the Department." And before ever I left, George Dudley announced he was leaving.

PR: And then you both left.

DSB: So the whole school fell apart. And George really was not able to run that school. But meanwhile, I had students who liked me. They asked me what I was doing next, as they heard that the Dean was leaving, and all that. And I said to them, "Well, I have various options for my future. One of them would be to stay here. Another would be to teach somewhere else. And I've had a third option, which is an offer of marriage from Robert Venturi, and that's the one I'm taking."

End of Interview

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This transcript is in the public domain and may be used without permission. Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Denise Scott Brown, 1990 Oct. 25-1991 Nov. 9, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.