Lilly Reich: The architecture and critique of an invisibilized woman

Article published in Frontiers of Architectural Research (ISSN 2095-2635), 12-1, pp. 15-27. (authors: Laura Lizondo Sevilla, Débora Domingo Calabuig)

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The architectural modernity that prevailed in Germany during the first half of the twentieth century cannot be understood without an appreciation of the work of Lilly Reich, a brilliant designer of interiors, furniture, and ephemeral architecture who exerted significant influence from her active position as a member of the Deutscher Werkbund. Despite the critical recognition she acquired in the media of the time during her solo career, her association with the architect Mies van der Rohe, far from positioning her in the field of contributions, relegated her to the role of a mere collaborator. For this reason, this article aims to shed light on the extensive legacy of Lilly Reich, a woman whose figure is being acknowledged as a result of recent research but who was nevertheless omitted from the leading books on the history of architecture. The methodology employed in the research analyses comparatively “what she did” and “what was said about her”, highlighting the convergences and divergences between “work” and “criticism”. The study and its results yield interesting conclusions regarding both the recognition that Lilly Reich received during her lifetime and the criticism she received after her death and up to the present day.