Elizabeth (Lisl) Close (1912-2011): A Pioneer of Modern Architecture

Close, jpgElizabeth (Lisl) Close, a pioneering woman in the field of modern architecture, would have celebrated her 100th birthday today. She died of pneumonia in November 2011.

Close developed an interest in architecture that took her from the University of Vienna to MIT in the 1930's, where she received both a B.Arch and M.Arch degree. She and her husband, Winston Close (B.Arch '27), established their firm, Close Associates, in Minneapolis in 1938, which became known for its modernist approach to design. She designed some of the first modern houses to be built in the Twin Cities and left her mark on the University of Minnesota, designing the music school as well as laying out the West Bank, Duluth and Waseca campuses. In addition, she designed fourteen of the 103 houses in University Grove.

Close was the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the College of Design in 2003. Her son, Bob Close (BLA '76), is the founder of Close Landscape Architecture and Director of Landscape Architecture for AECOM.

A memorial service was held today to celebrate the centennial of her birth.

1 Comment

Thank-you Lisl Close for the years of mentoring while I worked on my thesis and after graduation from the UM Architecture program. It was such a treat to work next to you and absorb complexities and simplicities in your approach to design, to people, and to our environment.