Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky


Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky was born in Vienna in 1897. In the year 1919 she enrols at the Vienna Arts & Crafts College and studies architecture under Oskar Strnad and building engineering under Heinrich Tessenow. After graduation her activities include work on residential estate construction in the offices of Oskar Strnad and on model construction for a theatre project of Max Reinhardt in Berlin. Following a period in Amsterdam Schütte-Lihotzky is involved with various estate building projects in Vienna. Already during this period she holds lectures at the Siedlerschule and designs kitchenette and washing kitchen facilities in cast concrete for industrial series production.

In 1926 Ernst May appoints her to the styling office of the Structural Engineering Department of the City of Frankfurt. Here the architect is occupied with the rationalization of home economics and their implementation in residential building. She develops her first projects for residential building, such as terrace-type houses for the districts Praunheim and Ginnheim. Between 1926 and 1930 she lectures at housewife associations, other societies and city works throughout Germany. She begins a far-reaching publication undertaking focussed on the keynotes of her design themes. At the exhibition »The New Dwelling and its Interior Design« in the year 1927, Schütte-Lihotzky presents her kitchen programme and thereby achieves widespread attention. Subsequently she is commissioned by the Frankfurt Structural Engineering Department with other construction projects concerning women.

For the cooperative exhibition at Weissenhof in Stuttgart Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky undertakes construction management for the prefabricated house presented by the Structural Engineering Department, one of her kitchens is also exhibited. In October 1930, as member of the May group, Schütte-Lihotzky is appointed to Moscow for planning new towns.

After leaving the Soviet Union she moves to France where she decides to join the resistance. It proves to be a decision with grave consequences: she is arrested by the Gestapo in Vienna and, following application for the death penalty, she is sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

Following her release in 1945 she returns with her husband to Vienna and designs the Department Building and City Planning at the exhibition »Vienna Constructs« in the Rathaus. After numerous further construction assignments and exhibitions in the subsequent years she embarks on journeys to China and Cuba, where she holds lectures and develops a design system for schools for the Cuban Ministry of Education. In the sixties she completes her »Building Design System for Kindergartens« and develops a »Modular Building System for Day Nurseries« for Austria. A lengthy succession of honours, prizes and awards follow for her life’s work. In January 2000 Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky dies just a few days before her 103rd birthday.