Pioneers of architecture in the Juan March

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Domesticity and power: Eileen Gray and E.1027. Beatriz Colomina. /// Thursday, November 8, 2018. Lilly Reich: the spirit of the material. Carmen Espegel. /// Tuesday, November 13, 2018. Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky. Fuensanta Nieto. /// Thursday, November 15, 2018. Charlotte Perriand: architect of the Modern Movement. Angela Garcia de Paredes.
19:30 h
Fundación Juan March. Castelló 77, 28006 Madrid. Spain

Eileen Gray

Eileen Gray (1878-1976) is an architect and furniture designer born in Ireland. She is considered one of the most influential women of the 20s in those fields.

In 1901 she enrolled in drawing at the Slade School of Fine Arts in London, and during his visits to the Victoria and Alberto Museum he developed her admiration for the Asian works of lacquer and in 1902 she settled temporarily in Paris to continue her studies in drawing at the École Colarossi. Gray settled permanently in Paris in 1906. She practiced little as an architect due to the restrictions that women had at that time in the architecture profession. Among his scarce projects are Villa E-1027 and Villa Tempe á Pailla, on the Costa Azul.

She obtained more fame as an interior designer and furniture designer. Although after the Second World War was losing this reputation little by little. Only in her last years of life did she return to that fame when the designer Zeev Aram took control of the rights of her work and rediscovered it to the world.


Lilly Reich (b. Berlin, Germany, 16 June 1885 - d. Berlin, Germany, 14 December 1947). In 1908 she moved to Vienna, where she worked at the Wiener Werkstätte, an association of artists, architects and designers who prusued the integration of all the arts in a common project, without distinction between major and minor arts, after training to become an industrial embroiderer, Lilly Reich began working briefly at the Viennese studio of architect, Josef Hoffmann. In 1911, she returned to Berlin and met Anna and Hermann Muthesius.

In 1912, she became a member of the Deutscher Werkbund (German Work Federation, an association founded in 1907 formed by industrialists, architects and artists that defined the German industrial design). In 1920, she became the first female member of its board of directors. She was also a member of the Freie Gruppe für Farbkunst (independent group for colour art) in the same organisation.

In 1914, she collaborated on the interior design of the Haus der Frau (woman’s house) at the Deutscher Werkbund exhibition in Cologne. She managed a studio for interior design, decorative art and fashion in Berlin until 1924. In the same year, she travelled to England and Holland with Ferdinand Kramer to view modern housing estates. Until 1926, she managed a studio for exhibition design and fashion in Frankfurt am Main and worked in the Frankfurt trade fair office as an exhibition designer.

Reich met Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1926 and collaborated closely with him on the design of a flat and other projects for the Deutscher Werkbund exhibition held in Stuttgart in 1928. In 1927, she moved into her own studio and apartment in Berlin. In mid-1928, Mies van der Rohe and Reich were appointed as artistic directors of the German section of the 1929 World Exhibition in Barcelona, probably owing to their successful collaboration on the Deutscher Werkbund exhibition in Stuttgart. In late 1928, Mies van der Rohe began to work on the design for the Tugendhat House in the Czech town of Brno. This was completed in 1930 and, alongside the Barcelona Pavilion, it is considered to be a masterpiece of modern architecture. The interior design for Tugendhat House was created in collaboration with Lilly Reich.

In 1932, Lilly Reich played an important role at the Bauhaus in Dessau and Berlin. In January 1932, the third Bauhaus director, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, appointed her as the director of the building/finishing department and the weaving workshop at the Bauhaus Dessau. She also continued to serve in this capacity at the Bauhaus Berlin, where she worked until December 1932.

In 1934, Reich collaborated on the design of the exhibition Deutsches Volk – Deutsche Arbeit (German people – German work) in Berlin. In 1937, Reich and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe were commissioned to design the German Reich exhibition of the German textile and clothing industry in Berlin. This was subsequently displayed in the textile industry section of the German Pavilion at the Paris World Exhibition of 1937. In 1939, she travelled to Chicago and visited Mies van der Rohe there. Following her return to Germany, Reich was conscripted to the military engineering group Organisation Todt (OT). After the war (1945/46), she taught interior design and building theory at Berlin University of the Arts. Reich ran a studio for architecture, design, textiles and fashion in Berlin until her death in 1947.

Margarete Lihotzky

Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky (1897-2000) was the first female Austrian architect, known primarily for the design of the Frankfurt' Kitchen in 1927.

She was born on January 23, 1897 in Vienna. From 1915 to 1919, she studied as the first woman at the School of Applied Arts Architecture in Vienna with Oskar Strnad and Heinrich Tessenow. This was followed by several assignments for the construction of houses, gardens and kindergartens. In 1926 she was transferred by Ernst May to Frankfurt, where she displayed her famous Frankfurt kitchen in 1927. From 1930 to 1937, she was part of the May group as a specialist in buildings for children in Russia, after which she went into exile in Istanbul. When she entered Austria in 1940 as a member of a resistance movement, she was arrested and imprisoned until the end of the war. In 1945/46, he directed the Department of Institutions for Children of the Sofia Baudirektion. In the following years she received several commissionings in Austria, Cuba and Berlin.
'Every thinking woman must be aware of the delay that domestic methods still have, and she must recognize that they hinder her own development, and, therefore, also that of her family'. (Die Frankfurter Küche, page 16).

With these words, Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky presents her Frankfurt kitchen in 1927. Guided by the question of how to improve a woman's work by making suitable housing, she presents the model for our modern and equipped kitchen. Her kitchen would be installed in more than 10,000 apartments. A year earlier, Ernst May invited her to Frankfurt to work in the Construction Department, as a typist. In 1930, she followed a call to Moscow, again together with Ernst May and many other German architects, to plan the construction of new Russian industrial cities. Among other things, the German team was commissioned to build the city of Magnitogorsk. Schütte-Lihotzky herself was employed as an expert in buildings for children. In addition, she is represented in the Werkbundsiedlung in Vienna since 1932 with two houses.

In 1937 she left Russia and spent the next three years in Istanbul, where she became a member of an anti-fascist resistance movement and continued to design buildings for children.

In 1940 she was arrested in Austria and imprisoned until the end of the war. In 1947 she participated in the first CIAM conference in Zurich. Subsequently, she develops other facilities for children, including the famous but never executed modular system, a prefabricated system that can be combined in any configuration, for the city of Vienna. In 1956 she made study trips to China and in 1961 to Cuba.

She published "One million cities in China" in 1958, "Study area in life" in 1970 and  her "Memories of the resistance 1938-45" in 1981/82. In 1989 she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Graz and received the first prize at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam for her contribution to "allowing the majority of the population to have a better daily life" (Die Frankfurter Küche, page 58). In 1993, the Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna dedicated a large exhibition to her.

In 1977 she was awarded the Joliot Curie Medal for her achievements in the World Peace Movement, and in 1980 she received the Architecture Prize of the City of Vienna. In 1988 she was offered the Austrian Medal for Science and Art, but she rejected it, as it would have been presented by the then Austrian president, Kurt Waldheim, who had been accused of hiding his Nazi past. Years later, she accepted it.

Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky died on January 18, 2000 in Vienna.

Charlotte Perriand

Charlotte Perriand (Paris, 24 October 1903 - Paris, 27 October 1999, Paris, France) has been known through her collaborations with Le Corbusier and Fernand Léger. However, at a time when it was rare for a woman to be an architect, designer and artist, Perriand's career spanned three quarters of a century and spanned places as diverse as Brazil, Congo, England, France, Japan, French New Guinea, Switzerland, and Vietnam.

Between 1920 and 1925 she attended the Ecole de l'Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs, where she studied furniture design. She also attended classes at the Grande Chaumière Academy from 1924 to 1926. Frustrated by the approach based on craftsmanship and the Beaux-Arts style defended by the school, Perriand moved away from anything of a traditional nature.

She became known at the age of 24 with her Bar sous le Toit made of chromed steel and anodized aluminum which was presented at the Salon d'Automne in 1927. Shortly thereafter she began her journey of more than ten years together with Pierre Jeanneret and Le Corbusier. In 1927 she established her first studio of her own.

She collaborated with Le Corbusier on numerous architectural projects, designing the equipment for different dwellings such as the villas La Roche-Jeanneret, Church en Ville-d'Avray, Stein-de Monzie and the Villa Savoye, as well as the interiors of the Swiss Pavilion in the University City and the Shelter City of the Armée du Salut, both in Paris. She also worked with him on the definition of the minimum cellule (1929).

In 1937 Charlotte Perriand left Le Corbusier's studio and turned her attention to more traditional materials and more organic forms. She devoted herself to research in terms of prefabrication of modulated dwellings in which she collaborated with Jean Prouvé. Perriand's collaborations multiply throughout her career, working with architects such as Lucio Costa, Niemeyer, Candilis, Josic & Woods.

Her relationship with Le Corbusier did not end there, as she would collaborate with him again after the war, developing the first prototype of the integrated kitchen for the Marseille Room Unit.

The project where all her previous explorations on prefabrication architecture, standardisation, minimum cell, industrialisation and materials come together was the winter complex of Les Arcs in the French Savoy. Between 1967 and 1982, Perriand designed and built the three ski resorts of Les Arcs, located at an altitude of 1600, 1800 and 2000 metres, where 18,000 people had to be accommodated. The initial idea was to work with the grouping of minimum cells.




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