Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon

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Brita Snellman


Architect, pioneer

Brita Snellman was the first woman to become an ordinary student of architecture at the Kungliga tekniska högskolan (KTH) in Stockholm.

Brita Snellman was born in Stockholm on 21 May 1901. Her parents were Emil Snellman, a bank manager, and his wife Gunilla Snellman, née Brännström. Her matriculation certificate shows a particular aptitude for the subjects mathematics and drawing and she considered higher studies in mathematics. Brita Snellman chose however to study architecture at the Kungliga tekniska högskolan (KTH) in Stockholm, first as a special student in 1920. In 1921, when the courses were opened to women students, Brita Snellman became the first ordinary woman student at the school of architecture. She qualified in 1924. Her choice to study architecture was probably influenced by her father, with his interest in art and architecture. He had entrusted the well-known architect Gunnar Asplund with the task of designing the family’s much written-about villa, Villa Snellman, in 1918 in Djursholm. Brita Snellman’s younger brother Ulf Snellman also chose the profession of architect.

In 1924–1926, Brita Snellman worked at Ragnar Hjorth’s architects’ office in Stockholm. In 1926 she married Dag Ribbing, also an architect, with whom she had four children. After her marriage, Brita Snellman was no longer employed at an architects’ office, but worked with her husband who, apart from his appointment at Kooperativa Förbundet’s architects’ office, ran a private practice under his own name. Even though it is difficult to distinguish Brita Snellman’s work in the architectural drawing materials, she worked continuously as an architect by the side of her husband and later also her son, Lennart Ribbing.

Brita Snellman died on 9 June 1978.

Anders Dahlgren
(Translated by Margaret Myers)

Published 2020-12-17

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

Brita Snellman,, Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon (article by Anders Dahlgren), retrieved 2024-04-20.

Other Names

    Married: Ribbing

Family Relationships

Civil Status: Married
  • Mother: Thekla Gunilla Snellman, född Brännström
  • Father: Oskar Emil Reinhold Snellman
  • Brother: Erik Snellman
more ...


  • Högskola, Stockholm: Arkitektexamen, fr o m 1921 ordinarie studerande, Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (KTH)


  • Profession: Arkitekt, Ragnar Hjorts arkitektkontor
  • Profession: Arkitekt, tillsammans med maken och sonen


  • Birthplace: Stockholm
  • Stockholm
  • Place of death: Stockholm


  • Harnesk, Paul (red.), Vem är vem?, Vem är vem bokförlag, Stockholm, 1945-1950

  • Rudberg, Eva, 'Kvinnor blir arkitekter' Kvinnor som banade väg: porträtt av arkitekter, S. 10-15, 1992

  • Werner, Helena, Kvinnliga arkitekter: om byggpionjärer och debatterna kring kvinnlig yrkesutövning i Sverige, Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, Diss. Göteborg : Göteborgs universitet, 2006

Further References