R.I.P. 1931-2017

Paul Matt of MATT Construction passes away at 85

Architecture West
Paul Matt, pictured center and co-founder of MATT Construction, passed away earlier this month at age 85. (Courtesy MATT Construction)
Paul Matt, pictured center and co-founder of MATT Construction, passed away earlier this month at age 85. (Courtesy MATT Construction)

Paul Matt, Chairman of MATT Construction, the builder behind many of Southern California’s most iconic architectural works like the Louis Kahn–designed Salk Institute, the Philip Johnson–designed Crystal Cathedral, and the Diller Scofidio + Renfro–designed Broad Museum, passed away earlier this month at age 85.

In a memorial posted to MATT Construction’s website, Steve Matt, MATT CEO, said:

My father loved his work and the people he collaborated with. During his recent battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, he continued to apply his amazing passion for building. All of us at MATT take great solace that he lived to see his dream fully realized … building a company of great builders and great people. We will proudly carry on his legacy.

The senior Matt was born in Rome, New York in 1932 and earned a degree in structural engineering from Oregon Institute of Technology as a beneficiary of the G.I. Bill. Matt originally got his start in construction working as a welder on the Dalles Dam in Oregon outside of Portland. He later worked as a surveyor for the George A. Fuller Company, eventually landing the superintendent position for Kahn’s Salk Institute in 1962. During the course of the project, after the client scrapped the project in lieu of a complete re-design, Matt developed thoughtful approaches for constructing the complex’s iconic concrete formwork walls. The collaborative interchange between Matt, Kahn, and the client would go on to imbue Matt’s construction philosophy with the type of flexibility, ingenuity, and know-how necessary to cater to the needs of the era’s visionary architects.

MATT Construction will hold a public celebration in honor of Paul later this month. See the MATT Construction website for more details.

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