Force of Nature

Alina Scholtz and the Empowerment of Women on Mid-Century Landscape Design

More Info
expand_more

Abstract

To answer the question of women’s empowerment in mid-century landscape architecture, this essay will focus on the legacy of the “mother founder”1 of Polish landscape architecture, Alina Scholtz admitted for her immense independence and involvement at work.
Scholtz was a designer and educator, serving as a professor of landscape architecture at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences. Her diverse portfolio ranged from palace gardens to housing estates and playgrounds. Her realisations were changeable in time, as a living matter of plants, which are led by the sun and water, create an architectural mass and systems of components in the urban landscape.

From the beginning, landscape architecture, similarly to interior design, was treated as a “decorative” addition to “prime” architecture.2 Women dominated the discipline. Over the course of her career, Scholtz has worked with many aspiring women architects, landscape architects and urban planners whose names are unknown. Alina Scholtz was an exception to the rule. She was the leader of the landscape architecture team strongly feminised - in the „Zieleń” („Greenery”) studio at the Biuro Odbudowy Stolicy (BOS)3. She made major contributions to the International Federation of Landscape Architects4 and the SARP5 conferences, promoting the value of greenery designs in reconstructing cities after WWII and advocating Poland’s opinions on the subject on a global scale.
The methodology will include an analysis of the documents belonging to archives of the BOS in Warsaw, the Landscape Architecture department, archives of the Museum of Architecture in Wrocław, archives of the Frederyk Chopin Museum in Żelazowa Wola and National Archive in Warsaw, Otwock section, an interview with the Centrala Group, Małgorzata Kuciewicz and Simone De Iacobis, who were responsible for the exhibition on Alina Scholtz in Warsaw, in 2022, and study of photographs, official correspondence as well as letters to the Scholtz family and drawings and publications related to the subject.

1 Czerniewska-Andryszczyk, Klara, Ewa Perlińska-Kobierzyńska, Natalia Budnik, Małgorzata Kuciewicz, Simone De Iacobis. Alina Scholtz Projektantka warszawskiej
zieleni. Warsaw: Muzeum Warszawy, 2021., P. 8
2 Czerniewska-Andryszczyk, Klara, Ewa Perlińska-Kobierzyńska, Natalia Budnik, Małgorzata Kuciewicz, Simone De Iacobis. Alina Scholtz Projektantka warszawskiej
zieleni. Warsaw: Muzeum Warszawy, 2021., P. 9
3 Biuro Odbudowy Stolicy (BOS) - an institution established in 1945 by a decree of the National Council to rebuild Warsaw, destroyed during World War II.
4 Scholtz was a foundation member of IFLA in 1948
5 Stowarzyszenie Architektów Polskich (SARP) - founded in 1934, the national professional association for Polish architects.