This website presents information on the life and work of Mimi Lobell. It is maintained by her widower, John Lobell, whom you can contact at JohnLobell@mac.com.
Mimi Lobell (1942-2001) studied architecture at the University of Pennsylvania with some of the leading architects of her time, worked in in major architectural offices, and was a professor of architecture at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. She was a pioneer in women’s spirituality and in the study of myth and symbol in architecture. She traveled throughout the world studying architecture and presenting at conferences.
While at Penn she married John Lobell, a fellow Penn student, and they moved to New York. In the late 1960s she became involved in the New York art scene and in the woman’s movement in architecture. Her continuing studies included mythology, Tai Chi, Buddhism, Shamanism, and the Goddess. She sought to bring all of her interests together in her teaching and her work, which included the design of a contemporary Goddess Temple.
Encountering glass ceilings in architectural offices, Mimi started teaching at Pratt, becoming only the second woman there to receive a full time appointment and tenure in architecture, where she taught until her death. Her teaching brought together her interests in ancient and non-Western cultures, mythology, and spirituality. Many of her students remember her to this day as an important influence on their lives.
Mimi is the author of the book, Spatial Archetypes: The Hidden Patterns of Psyche and Civilization, a rich presentation of the psychologies of cultures and the lives of our inner psyches. It absorbs Oswald Spengler’s morphological patterns, Joseph Campbell’s mythological insights, and Carl Jung’s depth psychology. And then, with a realization that architecture is the crystallization of culture in form, it goes further than any of them in understanding the patterns of human development.
Cultures are symbolic entities, a notion seldom understood in today’s materialistic approaches. Mimi’s approach of spatial archetypes sees cultures moving through symbolic periods that she identifies as the Sensitive Chaos—the world of the hunter-gatherers, the Great Round—the Neolithic world of the Goddess, the Four Quarters—the world of Bronze Age warrior chieftains, the Pyramid—the world of hierarchical nation-states, the Radiant Axes—the world of empires; the Grid—the world of commerce, and Dissolution—the world of decline.
Archetypes are psychological centers buried so deeply in the collective unconscious they cannot be known directly by the conscious mind, but they do shape our ideas and forms of expression—art, architecture, music, literature, relationships, social structures, cosmologies, world views. Archetypes help us to understand not only the world’s cultures, but also our innermost selves.
Spatial Archetypes is available on Amazon.