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Léonie Geisendorf’s Collection

Léonie Geisendorf, 1914–2016. Passport photo. ArkDes collection.

Architect Léonie Geisendorf was born in Poland in 1914 and studied at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, before moving to Sweden in 1938. Léonie Geisendorf’s collection is one of the museum’s most comprehensive. It contains over 300 folders of drawings, 260 boxes of documents, hundreds of photographs, and almost 50 models that Geisendorf donated to ArkDes towards the end of her life.

For almost her entire career, Léonie Geisendorf worked from her office in her apartment in Östermalm, Stockholm, where the boundary between work and private life was thin. The material in the collection tells the story of a person who wholeheartedly dedicated her life to architecture. Although many of Geisendorf’s projects were never built, those that were have left a significant mark in Swedish architectural history. As an educator at the architecture school in Stockholm, Geisendorf had the opportunity to share her experiences as one of the most important Swedish architects of the 20th century.

Léonie Geisendorf’s collection also contains traces of her passion for ballet and photographs from her travels around the world. It includes numerous sketch drawings from her regular Thursday evenings with architect friends and memberships of various cultural associations. Letters, press clippings, and notes tell of the setbacks in her projects and her tireless struggle to make her way in a male-dominated industry – but also of accolades and support from colleagues and in the media.

Catholic Church, facade sketch. Stockholm. Not built. 1960s. Léonie Geisendorf. ArkDes collection.
Catholic Church, facade sketch. Stockholm. Not built. 1960s. Léonie Geisendorf. ArkDes collection.
Nordic Travel Agency. Stockholm. 1957. Léonie Geisendorf. Photo: Sune Sundahl. ArkDes collection.
School for Domestic Education and Sewing, facade sketch. Stockholm. 1960. Léonie Geisendorf, Charles-Edouard Geisendorf. ArkDes collection.
School for Domestic Education and Sewing, glass lamps. Stockholm. 1960. Léonie Geisendorf, Charles-Edouard Geisendorf, Thea Leonhard. Photo: Anna Riwkin. ArkDes collection.
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Skeppsholmen, Stockholm

Léonie Geisendorf

Get to know Léonie Geisendorf – the architect who never gave up.