The Detlef Mertins Lecture on the Histories of Modernity
Memories of the Resistance: Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky and the Architecture of Collective Dissidence, 1938-1945
A lecture by Sophie Hochhäusl, Assistant Professor, Architectural History and Theory, Stuart Weitzman School of Design, University of Pennsylvania. With commentary by Raphael Koenig, Leonard A. Lauder Fellow in Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Christianna Bonin, Ph.D. Candidate, History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture + Art, MIT and introduction by Felicity Scott, Director, PhD program in Architecture and Co-Director of the Critical, Curatorial, and Conceptual Practices program at Columbia GSAPP.
Today Austrian architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky (1897-2000) has been widely recognized as one of the most significant female figures in modern design who worked in Austria, Germany, the Soviet Union, and Turkey in the 1920s and 1930s. 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 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).
The lecture Memories of the Resistance explores Schütte-Lihotzky’s book as a critical historical document that exemplifies the spatialization of organized dissent in the 1940s.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 provides a glimpse into resistance as lived practice and how dissent became activated by solidarity and collective action. The lecture also highlights why Schütte-Lihotzky’s activism led to the ostracization of such an important architect in postwar Austria. Her struggle for the design of Holocaust memorials became entangled with the country’s tragic politics of forgetting, where only two of her plans were realized. The talk will include excerpted readings from the English language translation, which is edited by Dr. Hochhäusl, and translated by Dr. Koenig, and Ph.D. Candidate Christianna Bonin.
Sophie Hochhäusl is an Assistant Professor for Architectural History and Theory at the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining the Faculty at she was the Frieda L. Miller Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.
The Detlef Mertins Lecture on the Histories of Modernity is an annual lecture in honor of the life and work of Detlef Mertins (1954-2011). Previous speakers include Lucia Allais, Craig Buckley, Zeynep Cęlik Alexander, Ayala Levin, and Anthony Acciavatti
“I came to focus on things that had been misunderstood or overlooked in the historical record and could, therefore, serve as mediators for new thought and design. The writing of architectural history can close down the past or open it up anew. It can bind historical experience into yet another ism …or it can unlock the life and modernité that resides even in the modernisms we already have.”
Free and open to the public. Please note this lecture will not be live-streamed and will not be made available in the online media archive.
Organized by Columbia GSAPP.