Honorary Degree Recipient
Doctor of Humane Letters
College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, May 17, 2003
Elizabeth S. Close, a pioneering woman and role model in the field of modern architecture, is one of the first women to practice architecture in the state of Minnesota and head a firm. Lisl Close, as she prefers to be called, developed an interest in architecture that took her from the University of Vienna to MIT in the 1930's, where she received both a B.Arch and M.Arch degree. She and her husband, Winston Close, established their firm, Close Associates, in Minneapolis in 1938, which became known for its modernist approach to design. She designed some of the first modern houses to be built in the Twin Cities as well as leaving her mark on the University of Minnesota, designing the music school as well as laying out the West Bank, Duluth and Waseca campuses. In addition, she designed fourteen of the 103 houses in University Grove. She focused on designs that fit in with the natural environment and on using environmental elements to enhance energy efficiency. Some of her signature design ideas are standards of the industry today. She chaired several committees and also served as a member of numerous boards including the Governor's Commission on Minnesota's Future. Her designs have won honor awards and in 2002 she received the AIA Minnesota Gold Medal.
Biographies are as-of time of award presentation.