From the United States to Malaysia, Cesar Pelli’s legacy looms large in skylines around the world.
The famed architect, known for his innovative skyscrapers and use of colored glass, died at the age of 92.
“He was a gifted architect and teacher, two callings he effortlessly combined as one. I am profoundly grateful to my great friend and partner.”
Cesar Pelli won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for designing the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Credit: Artur Widak/NurPhoto/Getty Images
The Pacific Design Center in California opened in 1975, but is still viewed as an example of cutting-edge architecture. Credit: RobynBeck/AFP/Getty Images
Pelli also designed New York’s World Financial Center, now called Brookfield Place.
The glass-enclosed Winter Garden greenhouse is a highlight of Pelli’s World Financial Center in Manhattan, now called Brookfield Place. Credit: VW Pics/Universal Images Group Editorial/Universal Images Group via Getty
But much of Pelli’s legacy endures not in his buildings, but in his teachings.
He served as dean of Yale University’s School of Architecture in 1977 to 1984 and wrote several books on his approach to architecture.
“Mr. Pelli has avoided formalistic preconceptions in his designs,” his firm’s website says.
‘”He believes that buildings should be responsible citizens, and the aesthetic qualities of a building should grow from the specific characteristics of each project, such as its location, construction technology, and purpose.”
Pelli designed the Piazza Gae Aulenti in Milan, Italy. Credit: Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Architecture critics like Paul Goldberger credited Pelli with advancing the designs of modern skyscrapers.
“He was a warm and gracious man, a civilizing presence in his life and his work, an architect of great dignity and lively creativity who did as much as anyone in the last generation to evolve the form of the skyscraper.”