RARE ARCHITECTURAL PIDGEON
IN the postwar period women were rare in the world of architecture yet, as editor of Architectural Design magazine from 1945 to 1975, Monica Pidgeon became a key figure.
She stood up to big-name architects but had the charm to persuade them to publish in her magazine.
Monica Lehmann was born in Chile in 1913 to a French father and Scots mother. They moved to England when she was 16.
She studied interior design at University College London and married contemporary Raymond Pidgeon in 1936. She worked as a furniture designer up to the Second World War. She then went to Architectural Design as assistant to the editor. She was promoted to editor in 1945 and divorced from Pidgeon the following year.
The 1940s and 1950s were a period of great optimism among architects who believed they were shaping a new world out of the destruction of war.
In the 1950s Architectural Design supported international Modernism and scientific planning, but shifted in the 1960s to a more humane approach.
In 1961 Pidgeon met the visionary US designer Buckminster Fuller who proposed that architectural schools carry out a 10-year study into how the world's resources could be distributed more fairly.
In 1962, in Peru, she met housing architect John Turner who showed her the self-built shantytowns of Lima - the barriadas. He was studying how informal building techniques could provide better quality housing as well as humane urban planning. Later, she advised President Allende of Chile on architects to help resolve the country's housing crisis. His death in a 1973 coup brought the project to an end. From 1971 to 1976 Pidgeon was one of the international experts advising on the replanning of Jerusalem.
In the early 1970s, Architectural Design 's focus moved from buildings to alternative energy and lifestyles, studying many issues high on the environmental agenda today.
Until her late 80s, she recorded architects and designers. The archive is on www.pidgeondigital. com. - The Times News Service