Blanche Lemco van Ginkel

Blanche van Ginkel, née Lemco (b at London, England 14 Dec 1923), architect and planner of van Ginkel Associates, Toronto, in partnership with her husband, H.P. Daniel van Ginkel. Established in 1957, the firm is well known for its Modernist design projects, particularly Bowring Park in St. John's, influential studies of Old Montréal and Manhattan, and the initial planning of Expo 67. The van Ginkels' interest in combining architecture and planning and their predilection for bold, undecorated forms may have been influenced by Blanche Lemco van Ginkel's experience in the Atelier Le Corbusier in Paris in 1948, where she worked on the famous Unité d'Habitation in Marseille, considered a masterpiece of European Modernism.

In addition to her career as a practitioner, Blanche Lemco van Ginkel is distinguished as an architectural educator. Following her graduation in architecture from McGill (1945) and in city planning from Harvard (1950), she taught at the University of Pennsylvania (1951-57), Harvard, Université de Montréal and McGill. In 1977 she joined the faculty of the University of Toronto, where she served as dean of the faculty of architecture and landscape architecture from 1980 to 1982. She has also acted as an examiner and consultant to other schools of architecture in Canada, the United States and Iceland.

As a pioneering woman in a field dominated by men, Blanche Lemco van Ginkel has been especially influential. When she first registered as an architect in Québec in 1952, there were only 3 other women members of the Province of Québec Architects Association (now the Quebec Order of Architects). She subsequently became the first woman elected as a council member and as an officer of the PQAA, the first woman elected as an officer and as a fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, and the first woman (and first Canadian) to serve as president of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. As dean at the University of Toronto, Lemco van Ginkel was the first woman to hold such a position at a Canadian school of architecture. She is the author of numerous articles on women architects, architectural education and 20th-century city planning.