Posts tagged with "Obituary":

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Paul Matt of MATT Construction passes away at 85

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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Hilary Ballon, NYU professor of urban studies and architecture, passes away

Professor of Urban Studies and Architecture Hilary Ballon passed away on June 16, 2017, at age 61. Ballon, who taught at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, was also the deputy vice chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi. She was a part of the leadership team that oversaw development of the new campus while teaching classes on urbanism and architecture. Her academic research focused on cities and the intersection of architecture, politics, and social life, especially New York City. She was a curator of several exhibitions at the Skyscraper Museum and the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY), with subjects including Frank Lloyd Wright, Robert Moses, New York's Penn Station, and the city's grid system. "Hilary's exhibition and accompanying book on Robert Moses helped re-frame our understanding of modern urban planning," Stephen Petrus, a colleague of Ballon at MCNY, wrote in The New York Times. "Hilary was the rare scholar able to earn the respect of academic colleagues and appeal to the public at large." An author of several acclaimed architecture and urbanism books, Ballon published New York's Pennsylvania Stations, Louis Le Vau: Mazarin's College, Colbert's Revenge (winner of the Prix d'Academie from the Academie Francaise), and The Paris of Henri IV: Architecture and Urbanism, which won the Alice Davis Hitchcock Prize for the Most Distinguished Work in Architectural History and is widely cited as a model for its consideration of urban planning in relation to social, political, and economic forces. As Editor of the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (JSAH), she developed a multimedia platform—including GIS and 3D models—with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Ballon served on the Board of Directors of the Museum of the City of New York, the Regional Plan Association, and the Skyscraper Museum, and was a member of the Advisory Council of the Princeton School of Architecture. She was a professor at Columbia University for 22 years, where she received various teaching awards, before joining NYU in 2007. According to the New York Times, Ballon is survived by her husband Orin Kramer, her children, Sophie and Charles, her brother Howard, and her sister Carla Gorrell. Funeral services will be held at Central Synagogue, 55th Street and Lexington Ave., on Monday, June 19th at 1pm.
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Prolific midcentury architect William Krisel passes away

Prolific midcentury modern architect William Krisel passed away this week at the age of 92. The architect is well-known for the multitudinous midcentury modern homes he designed across Southern California and the surrounding regions. Overall, Krisel is credited with designing over 40,000 homes, in addition to many other types of structures. He is also credited with helping to extend the benefits of mass-produced tract housing throughout the region and with attempting to tackle the stylistic, formal, and urban complexities of these new suburban environments. Krisel, who often worked with the Alexander Construction Company, built homes and condominiums in Arizona, Florida, and Nevada, as well. One of Krisel’s signature projects was the  90-unit Twin Palms development in Palm Springs, California, a tract home development made up of 1,600-square-foot post-and-beam style homes. According to the Krisel Connection site, the homes were designed with varied facades and rooflines, feature clerestory windows along most exposures, and are marked by exposed wood beam construction. Each 10,000-square-foot lot in the development was originally planted with a pair of palm trees—hence the development’s name—that complimented the home’s dramatic landscape designs, also envisioned by Krisel. Architectural historian Alan Hess marked Krisel’s passing in a Facebook post by calling Krisel “one of California's most influential and dedicated Modern architects” who “succeeded in bringing Modern planning and systems to… the design and construction of affordable single family homes for the general public.” With so many built commissions and a wide collection of preservation groups currently working to maintain and promote the architect’s works, it’s clear that Krisel succeeded in pioneering successful early mass housing experiments—the “Holy Grail” of modernism that according to Hess, greats like “Buckminster Fuller, Walter Gropius, and Frank Lloyd Wright sought but never achieved.” Chris Menrad of the executive board of the Palm Springs Modern Committee told the Desert Sun that the architect’s dramatic stylistic vision propelled modern architecture forward. Menrad said, “The concept for offering the builder various roof lines—flat, gables, inverted butterfly or whatever—is something that he sort of brought to the table so that they could essentially have very similar floor plans but have homes that looked quite different.” “And that look, as well as that concept, did get adopted.” Krisel was the subject of a 2016 documentary on the architect’s work titled William Krisel, Architect. The film can be seen on Vimeo.
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Bette Jane Cohen, film director and editor, passes away

Bette Jane Cohen, director, producer, and editor of the 1990 film The Spirit in Architecture: John Lautner, passed away on October 19, 2016, after a long illness. She was 62. Cohen’s work as a filmmaker and editor is widely regarded in architecture circles, with her work on Lautner’s architecture holding high prominence for its impact on the late architect’s nearly forgotten career. The film, produced during a nadir for the groundbreaking designer’s work, brought renewed attention and interest to Southern California’s midcentury modernist heritage years before appreciation for the era’s architectural works would begin to take off in earnest. Last year, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art acquired Lautner’s Sheats-Goldstein Residence as a part of its permanent collection. Cohen’s documentary showcases the only instances of filmed interviews with the architect. Cohen had recently been traveling the world in support of an updated 25th anniver25th-anniversarythe film. Writing in 2001 for the John Lautner Foundation about her experience making the film, Cohen remarked on the sheer novelty of her focus on Lautner’s work, saying, “At the time I made the film, no books had been written on Lautner.” In the essay, Cohen recalls how she did not know Lautner when she started work on the film and had not yet asked permission to use his work in the movie, saying, “I went into Lautner's office with my proposal and introduced myself. I had never made a film before but I had been a film editor on many films. He said, ‘Well it seems like a worthwhile project and you seem tall enough to do it!’ That is how we started working together.” Cohen went on to, among other accomplishments, eventually serve as a founding member of the John Lautner Foundation Advisory Board. Services for Cohen were held Friday, October 21, 2016, at the Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary in Los Angeles.
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Pictorial> Austin Kelly, 1966–2015

Austin Kelly, truly one of Los Angeles' most talented young architects, sadly passed away last month. He was only 49, and the cause of death was cancer. Kelly studied architecture at Yale and worked for Frank Israel, Frank Gehry, Eric Owen Moss, and DMJM/Keating before founding XTEN Architecture with his wife Monika Haefelfinger in 2000. The firm, based in Culver City, has been praised both for its sophisticated, origami-like forms and its brave interactions with nature, particularly in Southern California. XTEN is working on projects in Downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, and as far away as Spain and Oman. Kelly also taught studios at SCI-Arc and at USC, and had a passion for teaching and mentorship. Explore some of XTEN's residences, below. (Click on thumbnail to begin slideshow.)