Reni T. Shulman, 72, designed interiors of area landmarks

April 13, 2000|By Nora Koch | Nora Koch,SUN STAFF

Reni T. Shulman, a Swiss-educated architect who planned the interiors of a number of area schools and hospitals, died Friday of ovarian cancer at the Hospice of Washington. The Bethesda resident was 72.

The former Poplar Hill resident built a career at a time when it was unusual for a woman to do so, especially in the field of architecture.

Born Reni Trudinger in Stuttgart, Germany, she earned a master's degree in interior architecture from the Kunstgewer beschule, a university in Switzerland.

One of her first assignments was to design and oversee the interior construction of the Swiss embassy in Tokyo in 1952.

In 1959, she married Dr. Lawrence E. Shulman in Zurich. They moved to Baltimore a month later. In 1963, Mrs. Shulman joined the Baltimore architecture and planning firm RTKL Associates Inc.

She worked on the Charles Center urban renewal project, which helped stimulate Baltimore's cultural revival in the mid-1960s.

"She was a woman of many parts, but she had a great passion for modern design," her husband said. "But she was also a woman of broad interests. She had an extraordinary capacity to make and keep friends and professional colleagues."

After she left RTKL in 1969, Mrs. Shulman was a consultant in designing the interiors of City Hospitals -- now Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center -- Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland hospitals and parts of the Johns Hopkins and Catholic universities. She also designed interiors for Gilman, Bryn Mawr, Friends and Roland Park Country schools.

She retired in 1988 as founder and president of Intraplan, a Washington-based interior design and space-planning company that designed parts of the interior of the Washington Post building and Baltimore Federal Financial Bank on Lombard Street.

"She was a very accomplished interior architect," said Ted Niederman, an architect who joined RTKL about the same time Mrs. Shulman did.

"I think she was very successful in the office, as a woman professional, which was very unusual at the time. She was very dedicated to contemporary design and put her ideas across very convincingly," he said.

After her retirement, she worked for the Women's National Democratic Club and took classes at the Institutes for Learning in Retirement at American University. She enjoyed photography and traveling.

"She was very warm and a downright liberal, politically concerned from a humanitarian standpoint," said Niederman. "She was a warm, caring kind of person, especially for the community."

She was a member of Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church, 6601 Bradley Blvd. in Bethesda, where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. April 25.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by two daughters, Kathryn V. Shulman of Baltimore and Barbara C. Shulman-Kirwin of Guilford, Conn.; a brother, Peter Trudinger of St. Lucia, Italy; a sister, Veronika Rissi of Deer Isle, Maine; and three grandchildren.

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