Early life and education
A native of Varna, Bulgaria, Bliznakov received her master’s in architecture from the State Polytechnic of Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1951.
Career in Architecture
After graduating in 1951, she spent the next two decades practicing architecture in Bulgaria, France, and the United States, where she immigrated to in 1961.
After receiving her Ph.D. in architecture from Columbia University in 1971, Bliznakov embarked on what would become a distinguished academic career, first at the University of Texas, where she helped establish the Institute of Modern Russian Culture.
In 1974, Bliznakov joined the architecture faculty at Virginia Tech in 1974 and continued her research and teaching in advanced design in urban environments. During her tenure at the university, Bliznakov established a solid reputation as one of the most effective and respected scholars of her generation and was a recognized authority on Russian constructivism and the avant-garde movement.
Frustrated by the lack of primary research materials on women architecture, Bliznakov founded the International Archive of Women in Architecture in 1985, which documents the history of women’s contributions to the built environment. It continues to collect and archive the professional papers of women architects, landscape architects, designers, architectural historians and critics, and urban planners, as well as the records of women’s architectural organizations.
Press and Awards
Bliznakov received many honors and awards throughout her academic career, including the Parthena Medal for excellence in architecture from the Bulgarian government, two Fulbright Hays Fellowships and two International Research and Exchange Grants. She was also given a National Endowment for the Arts Grant and was named a Wilson Center of the Smithsonian Institution Scholar in 1988.
University of Texas; Virginia Tech