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.
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