Obit> Jon Jerde, 1940–2015

Architecture Obituary West
Jon Jerde (Jerde Partnership)

Jon Jerde (Jerde Partnership / Sabatellafoto.com)

Jon Jerde, founder and chairman of Venice, CA–based Jerde Partnership, died Monday after a longstanding illness. Jerde, whose firm has designed more than 100 urban places worldwide, was known for reinventing shopping centers as energetic entertainment destinations, bringing Hollywood pizazz and big city walkability to the once staid world of retail design.

Universal City Walk (Jerde Partnership)

Universal City Walk (Jerde Partnership / Sabatellafoto.com)

Some of his firm’s most famous projects included LA’s City Walk at Universal City, San Diego’s Horton Plaza, Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills, and Las Vegas’s “Fremont Street Experience,” a four-block “outdoor lobby,” for a once deserted stretch of that city. All replaced typical retail buildings with meandering urban and landscape conglomerations, merging public and private space in a typology that later fell under the emerging category of “placemaking.”

Jerde also created the look of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, a colorful, tactile example of the architect’s passion for designing spaces for everyone, not a select elite. It worked: Jerde Places—still being created by his firm after his death—are now used by over one billion visitors each year, and have been followed by countless imitations. AN will publish a tribute to Jerde later in the month, and we will keep readers posted about an upcoming memorial service for the architect.

Universal Citywalk (Jerde Partnership/ Sabatella Photo)

Universal Citywalk (Jerde Partnership/ Sabatellafoto.com)

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