The Real Deal National

Renowned architect César Pelli dies at 92

His firm’s projects ranged from the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami and the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia to Brookfield Place in Manhattan
July 20, 2019 10:58AM

César Pelli, and from left: Brookfield Place in New York, Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, and the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles (Credit: Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects)

César Pelli, and from left: Brookfield Place in New York, Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, and the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles (Credit: Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects)

Acclaimed architect César Pelli, whose firm designed some of the world’s most distinctive buildings, died Friday. He was 92.

La Gaceta, a newspaper in San Miguel de Tucumán, his hometown in northern Argentina, reported the news.

Pelli, who came to the U.S. in 1952 to continue his architecture studies at the University of Illinois, saw most of his success later in life, according to the New York Times. He didn’t open his own architecture firm until he was 50, when he was tapped to renovate and expand the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.

He founded Cesar Pelli & Associates Architects with his wife Diana Balmori, a landscape architect, and his former colleague Fred Clarke in 1977. Pelli’s son Rafael joined the firm as a partner in 2005, when the firm’s name changed to Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects.

Pelli, known for his innovative use of glass, and his firm handled design projects ranging from the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami and Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, to the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles and the World Financial Center in New York City, now known as Brookfield Place.

The tallest design project by his architecture firm was the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia, two 88-story buildings connected by a skybridge about 500 feet above ground.

Pelli was dean of the School of Architecture at Yale University from 1977 to 1984, and won the 1995 gold medal from the American Institute of Architects, among hundreds of other awards.

Within the last year, three other acclaimed architects have died. I.M. Pei, Karl Fischer and Constantine “Costas” Kondylis.

Pelli strived to reconcile the influence of modern and classic design, produced designs to satisfy building owners rather than challenging them.

Architects must deliver “what is needed of us,” Pelli once wrote. “This is not a weakness in our discipline, but a source of strength.”

[NYT] – Mike Seemuth


SEE RELATED:

I.M. Pei, who designed monuments of culture, dies at 102

Karl Fischer, known for ubiquitous, controversial designs, dead at 70

Costas Kondylis, the “developer’s architect,” dies at 78