Skip to content | Accessibility Information

Csepely-Knorr, L., 2019.

Female landscape architects and the independent Landscape Institute

Output Type:Conference paper
Presented at:Professional Women: the public, the private, and the political
Venue:LSE Library
Dates:6/9/2019 - 7/9/2019

As well as marking the 100 years of Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act in Britain, this year also marks the 90th anniversary of the funding of the Institute of Landscape Architects (today Landscape Institute), that represented the first step of the professionalisation of the discipline. Being a relatively new profession, landscape architecture was more receptive towards female designers than architecture, science or engineering. This can be proved by the fact, that two of the founding members of the institute were women, Brenda Colvin (1897-1981) and Lady Marjory Allen of Hurtwood (1897-1976), and that in the first 30 years of its history, the Institute had two female presidents, Brenda Colvin between 1951 and 1953 and Sylvia Crowe (1901-1997) between 1957-1959.
This paper will look at the parallel histories of the professionalisation of landscape architecture and the changes in the status of women as professionals during these first 30 years of the Institute. As the first full course in Landscape architecture did not open until 1930, members from various backgrounds joined the institute in its first few decades. Female members had significantly different and more varied backgrounds from their male counterparts. While the latter were mostly trained as architects and town planners, women entered the Institute with backgrounds in garden design, horticulture and other allied disciplines, that largely effected the decision not to merge the institute with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 1946. Based on the corporate records of the Institute of Landscape Architects, this paper will present a thorough analysis of the educational and professional background newly elected female members entered the institute with in its first 30 years, in order to see how the professionalisation of women affected the development of the Landscape Institute, and how it contributed not just to its "identity and symbolic strength separate from the architectural profession" but also to its international links and recognition, and to the foundation of the International Federation of Landscape Architects in 1948.