César Pelli Passes Away at 92
Pelli was born October 12, 1926, in Tucuman, Argentina. He attended the Universidad Nacional de Tucumán. Then in 1952, he became a student at the University of Illinois School of Architecture from which he received his Master of Science in Architecture degree in 1954.
After his graduation from Illinois, Pelli worked for Eero Saarinen in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, for 10 years. While with Eero, he worked on the TWA terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport and the Morse and Stiles colleges at Yale University.
In 1968, Pelli became partner for design at Gruen Associates in Los Angeles, where he designed the landmark first building at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, California.
In 1977, Pelli was selected to be the dean of the Yale School of Architecture in New Haven, Connecticut. Shortly after Pelli arrived at Yale, he won the commission to design the expansion and renovation of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which resulted in the establishment of his own firm, Cesar Pelli & Associates. Under that firm, he completed the World Financial Center in New York, which includes the grand public space of the Winter Garden. In 1997, sheathed in stainless steel and reflecting Islamic design motifs, the Petronas Towers were completed. The dual towers were the world’s tallest buildings until 2004 and earned Pelli the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
Pelli was named one of the 10 most influential living American Architects by the American Institute of Architects in 1991. In 1995, he was awarded the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal.
In 2008, while completing work on the Business Instructional Facility at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Pelli was awarded the Illinois Medal by the School of Architecture. The Illinois Medal is the highest honor that the school can bestow upon alumni for excellence in architecture.