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César Pelli dies aged 92

United States Architecture News - Jul 20, 2019 - 05:40   8995 views

César Pelli dies aged 92

Argentine-American architect César Pelli has passed away at 92 - Pelli was inventive and prolific architect who shaped the skylines of some major cities from Los Angeles to San Francisco, New York City, and Kuala Lumpur. 

According to Reuters, the acclaimed architect has passed away on July 19, 2019. Pelli's death was reported by the governor of Argentina's Tucuman province, where the architect grew up. "With much regret we receive the sad news of the death of the great architect César Pelli," Juan Manzur said in a post on Twitter

"I want to convey my condolences to his whole family, his friends and his team. He was without doubt a creator and his legacy will endure forever in each of his works."

Pelli, who was a senior principal of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, was known for his iconic Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, which is the most significant buildings of the architect alongside One Canada Square in London, World Financial Center in New York City and the National Museum of Art in Osaka.

Pelli was born in Argentina, where he earned his Architecture Degree from the University of Tucumán. He first worked in the offices of Eero Saarinen, serving as Project Designer for several buildings, including the TWA Terminal at JFK Airport in New York and Morse and Stiles Colleges at Yale University. 

César Pelli dies aged 92

Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. The towers were the highest building of the world when completed in 1996. Image via Wikipedia.

After this apprenticeship, he was Director of Design at DMJM and, later, Partner for Design at Gruen Associates, both in Los Angeles. Throughout these years, he designed several award-winning projects, including the San Bernardino City Hall in San Bernardino, California, the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, California, and the United States Embassy in Tokyo, Japan.

In 1977, Mr. Pelli became Dean of Yale University’s School of Architecture and founded Cesar Pelli & Associates. He resigned his post as Dean in 1984, but continues to lecture on architecture. Since the firm’s establishment, Mr. Pelli has worked with the principals to originate and direct the design of each project. In 2005, the firm was renamed Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects in recognition of the increased role of the firm’s principals.

Pelli's architectural approach has avoided formalistic preconceptions in his designs. He believed that buildings should be responsible for citizens, and the aesthetic qualities of a building should grow from the specific characteristics of each project, such as its location, construction technology, and purpose. In search of the most appropriate response to each project, his designs have covered a wide range of solutions and materials.

César Pelli dies aged 92

Salesforce Tower in San Francisco by Pelli Clarke Pelli. Image © Jason O'Rear

Mr. Pelli has also written extensively on architectural issues. In 1999, he wrote Observations for Young Architects, published by The Monacelli Press. His work has been widely published and exhibited, including nine books and several issues of professional journals dedicated to his designs and theories. 

He has received 13 Honorary Degrees, over 300 awards for design excellence, and is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Academy of Design, the International Academy of Architecture, and of l’Academie d’Architecture de France.

In 1995, the American Institute of Architects awarded Mr. Pelli the Gold Medal in recognition of a lifetime of distinguished achievement in architecture. In 2004, Mr. Pelli was awarded the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for the design of the Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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> via Reuters