Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On January 18

On this day in ...

... 2000, Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky (right) died in Vienna, Austria, where she'd been born 102 years earlier. She'd been the 1st woman to study at the arts university where painters like Kokoschka and Klimt were teaching; soon Austria's 1st woman architect, after World War I she helped design housing for veterans. After moving to Germany in the 1920s, she created the design for which she became famous: the Frankfurt Kitchen (below left), forerunner of today's built-in kitchens. The design derived from the belief of Schütte-Lihotzky, who'd "'never cooked'" herself, that
women’s struggle for economic independence and personal development meant that the rationalization of housework was an absolute necessity.
Schütte-Lihotzky and her husband worked in the Soviet Union in the 1930s; they lived as well in France, England, and Turkey. From the last country, she and another exile returned to Nazi-controlled Austria to serve in the Communist Resistance movement. Soon arrested, Schütte-Lihotzky remained in a Bavarian prison. Despite the need to rebuild after the war, on account of her Communist beliefs she found both work and acclaim hard to come by; she did some consulting in Cuba, East Germany, and China. One her 100th birthday she remarked:
I would have enjoyed it, for a change, to design a house for a rich man.

(Prior January 18 posts are here, here, and here.)

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