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Queen Anne Apartments Residential Street in Washington DC, 1960Rodeck Collection, IAWA, Virginia Tech
Architect Biographies

Rodeck, Melita

1914–2011

“The arts are a universal language, understandable to other nations.  The challenge is yours. Make the most of it.”
Hagerstown Morning Herald, April 17, 1968

Born in Milan, Italy in 1914, Melita Rodeck was raised in Vienna, Austria. A gifted student from a young age, she was encouraged to study architecture by her parents, Armin, an engineer, and Martha Asher, a painter. Melita received her degree in architecture from the Polytechnic Institute in Vienna in 1936. After emigrating from Austria in 1939, she eventually settled in Washington DC in 1950.

Melita began her career with the General Services Administration and became a registered architect in 1952. She joined the Washington Metropolitan Chapter of the AIA despite an unwelcoming initial meeting where she was the only woman present and was completely ignored by her male counterparts.

Following a cancer operation in 1956, she embarked on a world tour, studying  new towns, agricultural settlements, urban renewal, public housing, suburbs, and regional planning in Australia, the Philippines, Thailand, India, Italy, France, Germany Belgium, and England. Upon returning to the U.S., Melita worked with various architectural firms before starting her own in 1958. Melita Rodeck & Associates completed new constructions and alterations for residences, religious institutions, and government facilities in Maryland, Washington, DC, and beyond. She returned to government work in 1968 and retired in 1985. Her papers are archived as the Melita Rodeck Architecture Collection at the International Archive of Women in Architecture, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Mondlock Residence (Scientists Cliffs Cottage 314), Port Republic, MD, 1964
Rodeck Collection, IAWA, Virginia Tech

Timeline

1914 – Born Melita Rodeck in Milan, Italy to Armin H. & Martha Asher Rodeck

1936 – Graduates from Polytechnic Institute, Vienna, Austria with degree in Architecture

1939 – Emigrates to New York City following Hitler’s Annexation of Austria

1945-1950 – Works for various architecture firms in New York State

1951 – Receives degree in Structural Engineering  from the University of Virginia

1950-1953 – Relocates to Washington DC and works for the General Services Administration

1954-1958 – Works for various architecture firms in Washington DC & Arlington, VA

1956 – Following cancer operation, takes study trip around the world

1958 – Establishes Melita Rodeck & Associates

1959 – Joins AIA Washington Metropolitan Chapter

1963-1968 – Lectures for Department of City Planning, Catholic University of America

1967-1968 – Chairs “Society’s Reflection in the Arts” Committee of American Association of University Women

1968-1973 – Returns to Federal Government as Architect with the US Army Corps of Engineers

1969 – Co-Authors People Space, an American Association of University Women publication

1973 – Receives Master of Architecture from Catholic University

1973-1980 – Works as Architectural Research Coordinator for US Department of Housing and Urban Development

1980-1982 – Serves as President of DC Branch of American Association of University Women

1980-1985 – Works as Program Manager of Radiological Emergency Preparedness Programs

1985 – Retires from government

1986 – Becomes Member Emeritus of AIA for the Federal Emergency Management Agency

2003 – Gives Catholic University $155,000 to establish endowed fund for female scholars in the University Honors Program

2011 – Passes away on March 3 at the age of 96

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