The Modern Projects of Architect Poldi Hirsch


Havre de Grace, MD
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For Docomomo Tour Day, the Women in Architecture Committee of the Baltimore Chapter of the American Institute of Architects will offer a inside peak of the modern projects of Poldi Hirsch from the 1960s and 1970s in Havre de Grace, Maryland. She was the first woman corporate member of the AIA Baltimore Chapter and is featured in an exhibit on Early Women of Architecture in Maryland that is touring the state. Poldi Hirsch immigrated to the US in 1953 after completing her architectural training in Switzerland. She and her family settle in Havre de Grace when seeking a place to start her husband’s medical practice.

Poldi's architectural training was heavily influenced by Le Corbusier with a strong commitment to design of the time, something quite unusual for this small traditional town of Havre de Grace. She undertook the financing and construction of numerous projects as well as their design, reflecting her core belief that buildings should be “built well and organized.” By the mid-1960s, her projects included residential duplexes (built at a minimalist style at minimal costs to serve as starter homes for families); larger apartment complexes; office buildings; and private homes. Today, there survives over 24 modern structures in Harford County as a testament to her professional perseverance. We will offer a tour of 8 of these, with a rare glimpse of the interiors of 4 of them.