‘There are elements of tragedy – circus clowns are made up to look happy, but they’re not’ … Denise Scott Brown. Photograph: Anita Naughton
The Sainsbury Wing’s co-designer Denise Scott Brown says plans to remodel her award-winning entrance are tragically bad. Here, she explains why
The architect of the controversial Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery in London has publicly hit back at plans to completely rebuild it, accusing the new designer of “making our building look like a circus clown”.
When it was completed in 1991, the Sainsbury Wing, designed by Denise Scott Brown and her husband Robert Venturi, was derided at first by modernists and traditionalists. Yet by the time Venturi died in 2018, it was, according to the architectural historian Dr Barnabas Calder, “in the absolute top rank of postmodern buildings internationally” and Historic England granted it Grade-I listed status.