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Michael McKinnell, co-designer of Boston's City Hall, dies from coronavirus complications

United States Architecture News - Apr 2, 2020 - 11:04   7873 views

Michael McKinnell, co-designer of Boston's City Hall, dies from coronavirus complications

British-born American architect Michael McKinnell, co-founder of the Kallmann McKinnell & Wood, has died at 84 from coronavirus complications on March 27, 2020, reported The Boston Globe.

The architect was tested positive for Covid-19 and he was at 84, according to McKinnell's wife, Stephanie Mallis, who had also been a partner at the firm.

Michael McKinnell was the co-designer of acclaimed Boston City Hall in Massachusetts and he was known for his love-or-hate brutalist building. Michael McKinnell and his partner, Gerhard Kallmann won a competition in the early 1960s to design Boston’s City Hall.

Michael McKinnell, co-designer of Boston's City Hall, dies from coronavirus complications

Boston's iconic city hall in the 1960s. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Daniel Schwen.

The other key projects of the architect include Boston's Hynes Convention Center, American Academy of Arts and Sciences headquarters in Cambridge, red brick Visitor Center in Philadelphia. 

McKinnell was born in 1935 in Manchester, England. Michael McKinnell has been involved in every process of all the firm’s projects since it was established in 1962. McKinnell graduated from the University of Manchester in 1958 and received his Master's in Architecture from Columbia University in 1960. 

In 1962, McKinnell, who was a Columbia University graduate student at the time, and Columbia professor Gerhard Kallmann submitted their proposals to design the Boston City Hall. 

Michael McKinnell, co-designer of Boston's City Hall, dies from coronavirus complications

Boston's City Hall. Image courtesy of Utile and Reed Hilderbrand

They won the competition and the building was opened in 1968 by maintaining the old functions of Old City Hall. The Boston City Hall was a controversial and a prominent work of Brutalist architecture at that time.

Then shortly after, he moved to Boston and established his own firm Kallmann McKinnell & Knowles (later Kallman, McKinnell and Wood).

He was a tenured professor at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University and McKinnell has pursued a distinguished career in architectural education for over forty years. 

His unique and profound involvement in the theory and pragma of architecture has made him an outstanding and influential teacher for many generations of architectural students.

McKinnell taught at many high-profile universities including, MIT School of Architecture (1996-2003), Yale University in 1976, Columbia University (1960 - 1962), Columbia University (1976 - 1977), Harvard University (1966 - 1986).

He has received BSA Award of Honor in 1994, Louis Sullivan Award for Architecture in 1987, Arnold Brunner Prize, National Institute of Arts in 1969 and Royal Manchester Institute Silver Medal in 1958.

Michael McKinnell, co-designer of Boston's City Hall, dies from coronavirus complications

American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Image via Daderot/Wikimedia Commons

In 1984, Kallmann McKinnell & Wood was awarded the AIA Firm of the Year Award. The firm completed several iconic educational building, institutions, governmental buildings, including University of Missouri, Kansas City Health Sciences Building School of Pharmacy & School of Nursing, National Institute of Education, Phase I Campus Master Plan & Design Nanyang Technological University, Washington University, St. Louis George W. Brown School of Social Work Brown Hall Renovation.

Harriet Harriss, Dean of Pratt School of Architecture, said: "The Architecture community has lost a much loved Brutalism champion to Covid-19: Michael McKinnell. Boston City Hall is a 'superior public building in an age that values cheapness over quality as a form of public virtue,' (Ada Louise Huxtable)."

Docomomo US paid their tributes on Twitter account and said: "As many have already heard, we lost Boston City Hall architect Michael McKinnell yesterday. We want to remember Michael they way he wanted, to see a renewed BCH through our eyes. Glad he was there to see that happen."

Michael McKinnell is the third loss in the architecture world due to the coronavirus pandemic. American architect, author and educator Michael Sorkin passed away last week and modernist Italian architect Vittorio Gregotti lost his life in March from Covid-19. 

Top image courtesy of Kallmann McKinnell & Wood

> via The Boston Globe