Close, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Close

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Dates of Birth and Death

June 4, 1912-November 29, 2011


Vienna, Austria

Years of practice

1943–1973 (estimated)

Professional organizations

  • Joined AIA in 1953
  • Became AIA fellow in 1969

Related websites




Early Life and Education

Elizabeth Scheu Close was born in Vienna, Austria in 1912 and her childhood family home was designed by Adolph Loos, one of the earliest modern architects. She began her architectural training in Vienna and won a scholarship to MIT, where she received BA and MA degrees in Architecture from 1934-35.

Career in Architecture

Following completion of her studies, she held a position with an early modern architect, Oscar Stonoroy, where she worked on an early housing cooperative. When her career began women in the profession were rare and her achievement is greater because of this. She has been in partnership with her husband, Winston Close (also an FAIA) and much of their work has to be considered together.  While he was an advisory architect to the University of Minnesota, she maintained and expanded the architectural practice. In 1938, few architectural offices in the community concerned with modern architecture and contemporary work. The unique association of this husband/wife team contributed importantly to the development of modern architecture in the Minneapolis area. The contributions of the partnership included simplicity, modular planning, strong site relationship, and integration of building technology as a design element.Early Career: Draftsman at Stonoroy, Philadelphia, 1935-36

  • Designer, Mahney & Tusler, Minneapolis, 1936-38
  • Firm: Elizabeth & Winston Close, Architects, beginning 1940
  • Fellow, American Institute of Architects, for Achievement in Design, 1969

In addition to her work in design, the nomination also mentioned achievement in the science of construction (commercial application of developed wood techniques) and urban design (the Garden City project in Brooklyn Center, MN, 1957, and the Hazeltine Village project in Chaska, MN, 1966).

Major Buildings and ProjectsAwards/Press

(responsibility to both Elizabeth and Winston Close)

  • Luyten House,  Minneapolis, MN 1940 – Architectural Forum, 1941
  • Interstate Clinic, Redwing, MN   1940 – Architectural Forum, 1942
  • Beach Cabin, Farmington, WI 1941 – Progressive Architecture, 1948
  • Hathaway House, Minneapolis, MN, 941, Progressive Architecture, 1947
  • Rood House, Minneapolis, MN, 948
  • Duff House, Wayzata, MN, 1957, Minnesota Society of Architecture Honorable Mention
  • “Golden Age” Homes, Minneapolis, MN, 1960, Minnesota Society of Architecture Honorable Mention, Public Housing Administration Honor Award for Design and Excellence, AIA Homes for Better Living Award, Northwest Architect, 1964, Journal of Housing, 1962
  • Roosevelt Memorial Completion, Washington, DC, 1960
  • Oskam House, Edina, MN, 1963

Press and Awards

  • House and Home Award of Merit for Garden City Development Housing, Brooklyn Center, MN, 1957
  • St. Paul Junior Association of Commerce Home Beautiful Awards for Nixon House and Solem House, 1966

Other Published Work

  • Hoffman House, Tyrol Hills, MN, Popular Home, 1949
  • Bennett House, Wayzata, MN, Northwest Architect, 1960
  • Oskam House, Edina, MN, Northwest Architect, 1961