The La Jolla Historical Society inaugurated a new public garden at Wisteria Cottage in September 2018. The centerpiece is a pergola designed in 1996 for the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) by Venturi Scott Brown and Associates (VSBA), founded by Robert Venturi and his wife and partner Denise Scott Brown. The Venturi Pergola is an architectural fragment that originally flanked the north side Prospect Street colonnade courtyard entrance to MCASD.
LJHS recognized the importance of VSBA to the history of postmodern architecture, and knew this was the only VSBA project in San Diego. LJHS also recognized the relationship with the work of early 20th-century architect Irving J. Gill. Gill designed the La Jolla Woman’s Club in 1914, and the pergolas there influenced the VSBA design concept, and he remodeled Wisteria Cottage in 1909, adding a redwood pergola appropriate to the Arts & Crafts style.
LJHS relocated and restored the pergola to the original condition designed by VSBA, including the red “Contemporary Art” lettering. This provided a historic preservation mitigation strategy, offsetting the loss of the VSBA-designed museum entryway. The pergola’s new location is 300 feet from the original placement, where it remains part of the Scripps-Gill Cultural District.