Women in Danish architecture:
A new history of gender and practice

With this research project, we wish to investigate women’s contribution to Danish architecture, landscape architecture, and planning. We focus on the period 1925–1975, during which the first generations of women entered the design profession in Denmark.

Through publications, digital communications, and PhD courses, we will reveal the hitherto untold history of women’s role in architecture, landscape architecture, and planning. In doing so, we wish to contribute to a more comprehensive history of architecture, and to new ways of understanding architectural practice as an expanded field.

Three women looking at a plan drawing
In 1937, Ragna Grubb (left), Karen Hvistendahl, and Ingeborg Schmidt won an architecture competition launched by the social housing association fsb for new apartments aimed at large families. An innovation in the three women’s design was to give every family member their own room. Their plan was realized in Block 7 in Kantorparken, a residential area of Copenhagen. Photographer unknown.

Little knowledge about women architects

Danish architectural history concentrates primarily on a few well-known male architects, and often focuses on a small number of significant projects and formal innovations, particularly buildings. This means that in Denmark we have little historical knowledge about the practice of women architects, even though this has increasingly been a topic of international research in recent years. This knowledge gap is the main motivation of our project.

Revealing untold histories

The aim of the research project “Women in Danish Architecture” is to bring untold histories of Danish architecture to light by focusing on women’s contribution to architectural practice in the period from 1925 to 1975.

We will map women’s role, work, and significance across various forms of practice, such as landscape architecture, urban planning, interior design, and design education and critique. Our aim is to contribute to a new historical understanding of architecture as an expanded field in which multiple actors collaborate, take up different positions, and influence one another.

The project will add historical depth to the ongoing gender debate, which in recent years has gained increasing attention in discussions of urban space, public landscapes, and education. The project will also contribute to discussions about how to reconfigure the architecture of Denmark’s 20th-century welfare society in the future.

Read more in the article “Where Are the Women in Danish Architecture History?” (in Danish)

Project participants

Name Title Phone E-mail
Frida Irving Søltoft Student +4535327418 E-mail
Henriette Steiner Associate Professor +4535331033 E-mail
Liv Løvetand Rahbek Graphic Designer. +4535333328 E-mail
Svava Riesto Associate Professor +4535331768 E-mail

Advisory board

Name Title E-mail

Barbara Penner

Professor, University College London

E-mail

Despina Stratigakos Professor, University at Buffalo E-mail
Meike Schalk Associate professor, KTH Stockholm E-mail

Contact

Svava RiestoProfilbillede af Svava Riesto
(Project Leader)
Associate Professor, PhD
svri@ign.ku.dk
Tel.: +45 3533 1768
Mobile: +45 2980 8175

Henriette SteinerProfilbillede af Henriette Steiner
(Project Leader)
Associate Professor, PhD
hst@ign.ku.dk
Tel.: +45 3533 103

Funded by













Karin og Georg Boyes Fond


Project period:
 2020-2023