Photography Exhibition by Iconic Architect Teaches Us How to See

Experience the larger-than-life photography of pioneering architect Denise Scott Brown, whose images reveal “untraditional places and directions” and show her  “uncanny ability to know where to look.”


The Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University is pleased to present Learning to See : Denise Scott Brown (May 20–September 19, 2021)—a unique exhibition examining the iconic architect Denise Scott Brown’s thoughts and ideas on both architecture and the built environment, primarily through her photographic work.

Learning to See : Denise Scott Brown permits viewers to experience the way a legendary architect and urbanist witnesses and observes across global landscapes and decades, and how these experiences influenced her renowned work as co-founder of the celebrated Philadelphia architecture firm, Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates.

“[S]cott Brown...has long made an art of looking in untraditional places and directions…[H]er photographs and her approach to urbanism and design reflect the same singular talent: an uncanny ability to know where to look.” – Architect Magazine

Scott Brown helped redefine contemporary architecture. With partner and husband Robert Venturi, her evolutionary concepts have challenged and inspired practitioners in many fields. The work of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates has received more than 140 major design awards; and Scott Brown’s awards include the United States National Medal of Arts, the Topaz Medallion for Architecture Education, and the Vilcek Prize. In 2016, Scott Brown and Venturi became the first joint recipients of the AIA’s Gold Medal—Scott Brown becoming the first living woman to receive the prize.



Located in Temple Contemporary—Tyler's visionary center for exhibitions and public programs—Learning to See is organized especially for this gallery space into four distinct-but-connected rooms, intersecting geography, time and themes such as “Communication” and “Activity as Pattern.” In some instances, photographs will literally be larger-than-life, taking up entire gallery walls, allowing viewers to immerse themselves in the landscapes.

These photographs document Scott Brown’s travels, inspirations and interests through the lens—from the rural vernacular of South Africa to the beauty and banality of European cities, to the significance of pop culture in the American built environment, like the Las Vegas Strip, through its gas stations, billboards, roadside stores, signs, advertisements and more. The final gallery is dedicated to her work in and of Philadelphia.

“To present Denise Scott Brown’s work in Philadelphia gives us a chance to reflect and celebrate her importance and impact as an architect and planner,” said Kate Wingert-Playdon, associate dean and director of Tyler’s Architecture & Environmental Design Department. “She was one of only a handful of women in design professions in that generation. This exhibition allows us to understand how important a role she has played in helping us all learn to see.”


Learning to See : Denise Scott Brown
May 20–September 19, 2021

Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Temple Contemporary
Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University
2001 N. 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Note: Visitors are permitted to visit Learning to See: Denise Scott Brown. All visitors must be met at the Security Desk at our Norris Street Entrance and escorted to the gallery. All proper health protocols must be followed. For more information, please see Temple University's COVID-19 Policy page.

Associated Events

“Learning to See: Revisiting Denise Scott Brown’s Work and Ideas”
Virtual Zoom Panel
April 22, 4 p.m. EST

Join nationally recognized architect Peter Exley, FAIA, and curator Carolina Vaccaro as they discuss the photography of iconic architect Denise Scott Brown, which captures the beauty and banality of cities. Brown’s work will be featured in the exhibition Learning to See at Tyler.

Register Here


Learning to See : Denise Scott Brown is presented by Tyler’s Department of Architecture & Environmental Design and Temple Contemporary. The lecture is also presented by the Society of Architectural Historians, Philadelphia Chapter. Images: ©Denise Scott Brown