Elsa Gidoni

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Elsa Mandelstamm Gidoni
Photo of Elsa Gidoni.jpg
Elsa Mandelstamm

(1901-03-12)March 12, 1901
Riga, Latvia
DiedApril 19, 1978(1978-04-19) (aged 77)
Washington, D.C.
EducationTechnische Hochschule in Charlottenburg, Berlin
Known forArchitecture
MovementInternational Style
Spouse(s)Alexander Gidoni, Alexis L. Gluckmann

Elsa Mandelstamm Gidoni (March 12, 1901 – April 19, 1978) was a German-American architect and interior designer.

Early life[edit]

Gidoni was born Elsa Mandelstamm in Riga, Latvia, into the Lithuanian-Jewish family. Her father Fayvush (Pavel) Mandelstamm was a physician[1]. She studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg from 1916-1917 and at the Technical University in Berlin in the mid-1920s. She then operated her own interior design firm from 1929 to 1933.

In 1933, after Adolf Hitler became Chancellor, Gidoni left Berlin and settled in Tel Aviv. There, she designed an economics school[2] and worked on various projects such as planning the Swedish Pavilion at the Levant-Fair and the Café Galina.[3] Much of Gidoni's work was of the International Style[4], an architecture style that became popular after World War I and is characterized by the use of industrial materials, lack of color, and flat surfaces.[5] In 1938, she left Tel-Aviv due to increasing conflict within the political landscape[6], and moved to New York where she worked as an interior designer for Heimer & Wagner before eventually finding work as a project designer at the architectural firm of Kahn & Jacobs.[7]

She became a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1943.[8] In 1960, she was one of 260 women in the AIA and only one of 12 working in New York.[9]

Her first husband was the art critic and writer Alexander Gidoni. She later married Alexis L. Gluckmann, an engineer. In April 1978, she died at the age of 77 at her home in Washington, DC.[10]

Select works[edit]

Hecht Co Department Store, Ballston, Virginia
  • Swedish Pavilion at the Levant Fair with Genia Averbuch, Tel Aviv, 1934
  • Apartment house, Tel Aviv, 1937
  • General Motors Futurama pavilion, 1939 World's Fair
  • Research Library, 23 West 26th Street, New York
  • Hecht Co Department Store, Ballston, Virginia

Further reading[edit]

  • Stratigakos, Despina. "Reconstructing a Lost History: Exiled Jewish Women Architects in America." in Aufbau (The Transatlantic Jewish Paper), Vol. LXVIII, No. 22, p. 14. October 31, 2002.
  • Stern, Robert A.M., Thomas Mellins and David Fishman. New York 1960: Architecture and Urbanism Between the Second World War and the Bicentennial. New York: The Monacelli Press, 1995.
  • Torre, Susana. Women in American Architecture: A Historic and Contemporary Perspective. New York: Whitney Library of Design, 1977.
  • Gagnon, Lisa. "Women In Architecture Celebrated During Wikipedia Edit-a-thon". School of Architecture and Planning University at Buffalo. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  • Meyer-Maril, Edina. "Architects in Palestine: 1920-1948". Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved 5 June 2017.


  1. ^ Pioneering Women: Elsa Gidoni-Mandelstamm
  2. ^ "Unfurling the Canvas". Haaretz. 2008-11-27. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  3. ^ "Architects in Palestine: 1920-1948 | Jewish Women's Archive". jwa.org. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  4. ^ "Building on the Past". National Women's History Museum. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  5. ^ "Art & Architecture Thesaurus Full Record Display (Getty Research)". www.getty.edu. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  6. ^ Stratigakos, Despina. "Gidoni [née Mandelstamm], Elsa | Grove Art". doi:10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T2271571. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  7. ^ Stratigakos, Despina. "Building on the Past: A History of Women in Architecture". Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation. Archived from the original on 7 September 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  8. ^ "Elsa Gidoni (1901-1978)". The AIA Historical Directory of American Architects Wiki Pages: ahd1015844. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  9. ^ Ennis, Thomas W. (March 13, 1960). "Women Gain Role in Architecture". The New York Times. ProQuest 115037462.
  10. ^ "Obituary 5". The New York Times. April 21, 1978. ProQuest 123739203.

External links[edit]