Architect of the Week: Rosemary Stjernstedt

Rosemary Stjernstedt (1912-98) was an English architect, best known for her post-war social housing projects at London County Council.

Born and raised in Birmingham, Stjernstedt (née Owen-Smith) studied architecture at the Birmingham School of Art. After graduating in 1934 she worked as a furniture designer prior to joining architect Robert Atkinson’s Art Deco practice where she worked on drawings for the Barber Institute for Fine Arts. Whilst working for Atkinson, Stjernstedt undertook a town planning course at the Architectural Association resulting in her to move to Sweden in 1939, where she embarked on a career as a town planner.

Returning to England after World War II, Stjernstedt commenced work for the London Country Council (LCC) Housing Division. She was the first female architect to achieve Grade I status at LCC, and later became the first woman to reach Senior Grade I status in any British county council division. Her best known project was the Alton Estate – a pioneering Roehampton housing estate – for which she led the design team between 1951-55.

LCC was dissolved in 1964, at which point Stjernstedt commenced work for Lambeth Borough Council under Ted Hollamby, where she led on a number of award-winning social housing projects including the Central Hill Estate.

Read more in our Directory of Architects and Designers.