BIAAS: Blogs by Jane King Hession


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BIAAS Austro-Americana Blog Series

Jane King Hession, an architectural historian and the author of Elizabeth Scheu Close: A Life in Modern Architecture (University of Minnesota Press, 2020), presents the first of a two-part series on Minnesota’s foremost female architect. Elizabeth Scheu Close–otherwise known as “Lisl”–was born in Vienna in 1912 and grew up in a house designed by Adolf Loos. The Scheu House, with its modern design and its international visitors, influenced the trajectory of Lisl’s life in significant ways: her worldview, career and immigration to the United States in the early 1930s. 

From Vienna and the Scheu House: Elizabeth Scheu Close, Architect, Part One
Excerpt: Elizabeth “Lisl” Scheu Close (1912-2011) was Minnesota’s first modern architect. As the designer of more than 250 custom residences, several medical and laboratory facilities, and dozens of prefabricated house models from which 10,000 homes were produced, she was also one of the most prolific Austrian-born architects of the 20th century. Although she lived all but twenty of her ninety-nine years in the United States, her life and career were profoundly shaped by her early years in Vienna, notably her family history, her architecturally significant home, and the many international visitors she encountered there.

To learn more, visit the BIAAS website.

A European Modernist in America: Elizabeth Scheu Close, Architect, Part Two
Excerpt: In 1932, when Elizabeth Scheu left Vienna to complete her education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), she came armed with considerable knowledge of European modern architecture, a subject about which little was popularly known in the United States at the time. However, her arrival coincided with a groundbreaking exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art that introduced Americans to a revolutionary new take on architecture and coined the phrase the “International Style.”

To learn more, visit the BIAAS website.