In Memoriam

MJ Long, beloved Yale architecture instructor and alumna, passes away

Education International Obituary Professional Practice
Yale architecture professor and 1964 alumna MJ Long died earlier this week at her home in Sussex, England. Shown here: Long speaking with Cesar Pelli in 1978. (Courtesy Yale SoA)
Yale architecture professor and 1964 alumna MJ Long died earlier this week at her home in Sussex, England. Shown here: Long speaking with Cesar Pelli in 1978. (Courtesy Yale SoA)

Yale University’s esteemed, long-time architecture faculty member and alumna Mary Jane “MJ” Long passed away last Sunday at her home in Sussex, England. She was 79.

Born in the United States in 1939, Long moved to England after finishing her master’s degree at the Yale School of Architecture in 1964. She then worked for Colin St John Wilson & Partners, eventually becoming director of the firm and marrying principal Colin “Sandy” St John Wilson. With Wilson she designed many major projects in Great Britain including the British Library at St Pancras, which took 15 years to complete—one of her most famous works. From 1974 to 1996, she also ran a separate practice designing artists’ studios.

Alongside her Wilson colleague Rolfe Kentish, Long established a new practice in 1994, Long & Kentish. Together they designed the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, the Jewish Museum in Camden, and an extension to the British Museum in London. Over the last few years, Long taught part of the third-semester core studio at Yale, teaching students how to build detailed daylight models to simulate direct sunlight and interior illumination.

“MJ always stayed close to Yale, returning to teach an advanced studio with Colin St John Wilson and then several times as a studio critic,” said Dean Deborah Berke in a statement. “MJ’s legacy will continue through the pedagogy at the school, the generations of students she inspired, and the many pioneering buildings she designed.”

Long is survived by her daughter Sal and her son Harry as well as three grandchildren. Her partner, Colin St John Wilson, died in 2007 at age 85.

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