Graduate Architecture

  • Drawing by Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky from internment in Vienna, ca. 1941.

Sophie Hochhäusl: Memories of the Resistance: The Defiant Life of a Female Architect, 1938-1945

Wednesday, April 1, 2020 6:30pm
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Meyerson Hall, 210 South 34th Street, B3

Sophie Debiasi Hochhäusl is an Assistant Professor for Architectural History and Theory at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design. Before joining the Faculty at the Weitzman School, she was the Frieda L. Miller Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced study at Harvard University.

Today Austrian architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky (1897-2000) is widely recognized as one of the pioneering female figures in modern design, who worked in Vienna, Frankfurt, the Soviet Union, and Turkey in the 1920s and 1930s. Yet, these decades of professional work were marked by a drastic break between 1940 and 1945, when Schütte-Lihotzky was interned for her participation in the Communist resistance against by the Nazi regime. Her recollections from the years of internment became the subject of the 1984 German-language book Erinnerungen aus dem Widerstand (Memories of the Resistance), currently edited by Hochhäusl and translated by Raphael Koenig and Christianna Bonnin.

The lecture “Memories of the Resistance” explores Schütte-Lihotzky’s book as a critical historical document that exemplifies the spatialization of organized dissent in the 1940s. It also provides a glimpse into resistance as lived practice and how it became activated by human solidarity and collective action. Finally, the lecture comments on why Schütte-Lihotzky’s activism led to the ostracization of the important architect in postwar Austria, where her struggle for spaces of collective memorialization remains largely forgotten until today. The talk will include excerpted readings from the English language book, which is currently edited and translated by Sophie Hochhäusl, Raphael Koenig, and Christianna Bonin.

Hochhäusl’s scholarly work centers on modern architecture and urban culture in Austria, Germany, and the United States, with a focus on the history of social movements, environmental history, and women’s and gender studies. Currently, she is working on two forthcoming book projects. The monograph Housing Cooperative: Politics and Architecture in Vienna, 1904-1934, which elucidates the role of cooperatives in shaping architectural debates in interwar Vienna. The interdisciplinary history and translation project Memories of the Resistance: Women, War, and the Forgotten Work of Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, 1938-1989, illuminates the Austrian architect’s participation in the Communist resistance against the Nazi regime.

In the past Hochhäusl has received a Carter Manny Award and the Bruno Zevi Award. Her research has been supported by the Graham Foundation, the Botstiber Foundation for Austrian-American Studies, the Clarence Stein Fellowship for Landscape and Urban Studies, the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education and the Viennese Mayor’s Office.

Hochhäusl holds an M.Arch. from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University in History of Architecture and Urbanism. Together with Torsten Lange (ETH Zürich), she organizes the European Architectural History Network’s interest group Architecture and the Environment.

This event is free and open to the public. Reception to follow.