Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon

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Anna Lovisa Branzell


Pioneering architect, first woman to earn a degree at KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Anna Branzell was the first woman to graduate from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. She was also the first woman to qualify as an architect in Sweden.

Anna Branzell was born in Mandal in Norway in 1895. However, her background is only little known, apart from the fact that she was a clergyman’s daughter and that as a child she longed to become a doctor. Severe scarlet fever and a consequent hearing defect stopped that dream. In 1919, Anna Branzell graduated as an architect at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Studies at KTH were at that time still only open to "young men"; women were only allowed to study there after having been granted exemption. Agnes Magnell had been the first woman to be granted exemption in 1897. She studied architecture but never got to the point of taking her examination.

During the period of her studies, Anna Branzell worked on her book about Swedish gardening: Svensk trädgårdskonst 1917, that came out in 1918. During the same period, she carried out measurements for among other places the castles at Östanå, Steninge and Vennegran.

Anna Branzell did her internship with the established architects Gunnar Asplund, Sigurd Lewerentz and Hakon Ahlberg. After that she was employed by Arnstein Arneberg in Oslo and New York. In 1923 she married Sten Branzell, who was also an architect. Together with her husband she participated in a competition in 1926–1927 for designing the funeral chapel and churchyard at Kviberg in Gothenburg. They won second prize with “Liffsens träd”. Anna Branzell also translated Palladio’s I quattro libri dell’ architettura in 1928, together with Ebba Atterbom. During the course of the years, she additionally made study trips to the USA and Italy.

During the years 1943—1960, Anna Branzell worked as an architect at the city planning office in Gothenburg. She was interested in children’s rights and aspects of the social life in the community, like communal housing, leisure activities, parks and playgrounds. That interest was united with her work as the person responsible for among other projects the rebuilding and extension of the Barnavärn Foundation’s landshövdingehus (a style of building unique to this city) in Gothenburg.

Several architectural plans by Anna Branzell have been preserved in the Regional Archives in Gothenburg. She died in 1983 and is buried at Kviberg Cemetery in Gothenburg. Anna Branzells gata/street in Kviberg in Gothenburg is a fitting memorial to her.

Anders Svensson
(Translated by Alexia Grosjean)

Published 2020-03-02

You are welcome to cite this article but always provide the author’s name as follows:

Anna Lovisa Branzell,, Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon (article by Anders Svensson), retrieved 2024-06-24.

Other Names

    Maiden name: Mohr

Family Relationships

Civil Status: Widow
  • Mother: [Uppgifter saknas]
  • Father: [Uppgifter saknas] Mohr
  • Husband: Sten Gunnar Branzell
more ...


  • Yrkesutbildning, : Praktik hos arkitektfirma Gunnar Asplund, Sigurd Lewerentz, Hakon Ahlberg


  • Profession: Arkitekt, Arnstein Arnebergs arkitektkontor i Oslo och New York
  • Profession: Arkitekt, stadsplanekontoret i Göteborg


  • Colleague: Ebba Atterbom
  • Colleague: Arnstein Arneberg
  • Colleague: Gunnar Asplund
more ...


  • Svenska Arkitekters Riksförbund (SAR)


  • Birthplace: Mandal, Norge
  • Mandal, Norge
  • Stockholm
more ...




Further References

  • 'Anna Branzell död', Göteborgs-Posten, 1983-08-01

  • 'Lekplatserna bör få ökade anslag', Arbetartidningen, 1952-03-21

  • Palladio, Andrea, Fyra böcker om arkitekturen, [2. uppl.], övers. från italienska originalets första upplaga av Ebba Atterbom ; med biträde i tekniska frågor av Anna Mohr Branzell ; inl. förord av Martin Olsson, Vinga bokförl., Göteborg, 1983[1928]

  • Werner, Helena, 'Kvinnliga arkitekstudenter vid KHT', Kvinnliga arkitekter: om byggpionjärer och debatterna kring kvinnlig yrkesutövning i Sverige, Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, Diss. Göteborg : Göteborgs universitet, 2006, Göteborg, S. 89-126, 2006