Sophie Hochhäusl

Memories of the Resistance: Women, Dissent, and the Forgotten Work of Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, 1938-1945


Sophie Hochhäusl (Architectural History and Theory, University of Pennsylvania) with a commentary by Raphael Koenig (Comparative Literature, Harvard University) and Christianna Bonin (History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture + Art, MIT) 

Today Austrian architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky (1897-2000) is widely recognized as one of the pioneering female figures in modern design, who worked in Vienna, Frankfurt, the Soviet Union, and Turkey in the 1920s and 1930s. Yet, 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The lecture “Memories of the Resistance” explores Schütte-Lihotzky’s book as a critical historical document that exemplifies the spatialization of organized dissent in the 1940s.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 also provides a glimpse into resistance as lived practice and how it became activated by human solidarity and collective action. Finally, the lecture comments on why Schütte-Lihotzky’s activism led to the ostracization of the important architect in postwar Austria, where her struggle for spaces of collective memorialization remains largely forgotten until today. The talk will include excerpted readings from the English language book, which is currently edited and translated by Sophie Hochhäusl, Raphael Koenig, and Christianna Bonin.

Sophie Hochhäusl

Architectural History and Theory at the University of Pennsylvania

Sophie Hochhäusl is an Assistant Professor for Architectural History and Theory at the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining the Faculty at Penn Architecture she was the Frieda L. Miller Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced study at Harvard University.

Hochhäusl’s scholarly work centers on modern architecture and urban culture in Austria, Germany, and the United States, with a focus on the history of social movements, environmental history, and women’s and gender studies. Currently, she is working on two forthcoming book projects. The monograph Housing Cooperative: Politics and Architecture in Vienna, 1904-1934, which elucidates the role of cooperatives in shaping architectural debates in interwar Vienna. The interdisciplinary history and translation project Memories of the Resistance: Women, War, and the Forgotten Work of Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, 1938-1989, illuminates the Austrian architect’s participation in the Communist resistance against the Nazi regime.

In the past Hochhäusl has received a Carter Manny Award and the Bruno Zevi Award. Her research has been supported by the Graham Foundation, the Botstiber Foundation for Austrian-American Studies, the Clarence Stein Fellowship for Landscape and Urban Studies, the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education and the Viennese Mayor’s Office.

Hochhäusl holds an M.Arch. from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University in History of Architecture and Urbanism. Together with Torsten Lange (ETH Zürich), she organizes the European Architectural History Network’s interest group Architecture and the Environment.