The Legendary Architect Lives Forever: Cesar Pelli
Legendary figures are born destined to achieve greatness in their lives with their significant contributions for the world to benefit at large. The legends of renowned Argentine architect Cesar Pelli will live forever for the world to marvel the fabulous design of ‘The Petronas Towers’. Cesar Pelli may have left his human body on the 19th of July 2019 for the last soulful journey. However, his marvelous creations around the world will keep him alive forever.
Johnny D elucidates the amazing journey of the legendary Argentine architect Cesar Pelli. The magnitude of this Latin American architect’s spectacular design creations has even surprised and marveled the architectural field. Cesar Pelli stands tall just like his creations of prodigious tall buildings around the world. He served the modern human civilization from as early as 1949 till his death in 2019. An outstanding 7 successful decades of remarkable achievements will always be remembered with great respect in the field of architecture.
On the 19th of July 2019, Cesar Pelli passed away peacefully to leave his legacy to inspire the younger generation at the age of 92 in his home in New Haven, Connecticut. He is renowned for designing remarkable tall iconic buildings in various continents. Anibal Bellomio, a senior associate at Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects informed the world, “With much regret we receive the sad news of the death of the great architect Cesar Pelli.”
Governor Juan Manzur of Argentina's Tucuman province tweeted, “He was without doubt a creator and his legacy will endure forever in each of his works.” The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, the World Financial Center in Manhattan, the Crile Clinic Building in Cleveland, Herring Hall at Rice University in Houston, the Green Building at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood and the Wells Fargo Center in Minneapolis are some of his magnificent creations, which has stood the test of the time as iconic landmarks.
Argentina's President Mauricio Macri tweeted, “Pelli's legacy was a pride for all Argentines.” Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad paid tribute to Cesar Pelli stating with a tweet, “I am saddened to hear the passing of Mr. Cesar Pelli, the great architect, who designed the KLCC Twin Towers in Malaysia, my condolences to his family and friends.” The architectural world mourned the sad demise of the remarkable architect around the world.
Cesar Pelli was born on the 12th of October 1926 in San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina. San Miguel de Tucumán is a small city in the northern part of Argentina. Father Victor Pelli Simonelli worked as a Civil Servant in the city. Mother Teresa Suppa de Pelli worked as a School Teacher. Little did his parents know, one day their son Cesar Pelli would achieve greatness for the world to acknowledge his design creations.
Cesar Pelli pursued architecture at the Universidad Nacional de Tucumán. In the year 1949, Cesar graduated from the Universidad. Soon after his graduation, Cesar designed low-cost housing projects. In the year 1950, Cesar Pelli married his classmate Diana Balmori. Diana Balmori is an urban landscape designer. Two years later, Cesar Pelli moved with Diana to the United States to pursue advance study in architecture at the University of Illinois School of Architecture at Urbana-Champaign.
In the year 1953, Cesar and Diana were blessed with elder son named Denis Pelli. The couple was blessed with their younger son Rafael Pelli. Denis works as Professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University. Younger son followed his father to become a reputed architect. In the year 1954, Cesar Pelli graduated with a Master of Science in Architecture degree from the University.
THE JOURNEY OF SUCCESS:
Cesar and Diana Pelli loved the United States and decided to settle down in New Haven, Connecticut with their two sons. In the year 1964, they became American citizen. Having had his Masters degree, Cesar Pelli joined Finnish-American architect and industrial designer Eero Saarinen’s firm. Saarinen was renowned for his neo-futuristic style creations. His prominent works include the Washington Dulles International Airport, the TWA Flight Center in New York City and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri.
Cesar honed his architecture skills under Eero Saarinen and learned a great deal for almost a decade. Cesar worked with the architect on the TWA Terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport, the Morse and Stiles Colleges at Yale University. In the year 1961, Eero Saarinen died because of a brain tumour. Three years later in 1964, Cesar Pelli joined Daniel, Mann, Johnson and Mendenhall in Los Angeles as a Director of Design.
Cesar Pelli worked with Daniel, Mann, Johnson and Mendenhall for four years. In the year 1968, he joined Gruen Associates as Partner for Design in Los Angeles. A year later, Cesar Pelli’s design creation of the COMSAT Research and Development Laboratories in Clarksburg, Maryland was well-received. The building was the beginning of Cesar Pelli’s legacy to follow in decades to come.
In the year 1975, Cesar Pelli’s first landmark building at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, California was unleashed for the Americans to marvel. In the same year the United States Embassy in Tokyo was completed. Pelli had designed the project in 1972. Apart from practicing architecture, Cesar Pelli also taught architecture students at the UCLA.
Cesar Pelli was indeed a very responsible architect, who believed in being responsive in what he does. In one of his earlier interviews, Pelli had stated, “I believe it’s a mistake to have a style. We architects, today we work in too many different places, too many different uses. We need to be more responsive to what we do. We need to strengthen the quality of a place and not weaken it. If you do your own thing, you are weakening the quality of the place where you build.”
From the year 1977 to 1984, Cesar Pelli served as the Dean of the Yale School of Architecture in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1977 after joining Yale, Pelli was commissioned to design the expansion and renovation of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Cesar Pelli established his own firm Cesar Pelli & Associates in 1977. The Museum of Modern Art Residential Tower and the museum’s expansion and renovation were completed in the year 1984.
In the year 1988, Cesar Pelli & Associates completed the World Financial Center in New York. A huge public space of the Winter Garden became the highlight of the project. With four decades of some magnificent creations, Cesar Pelli’s name became synonymous with his design creations. In the year 1991, the American Institute of America named Cesar Pelli as one of the ‘Ten Most Influential American Architects’.
Cesar Pelli had designed the Weber Music Hall at the University of Minnesota Duluth. In the year 2004, the University awarded Cesar Pelli an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. A year later, the Connecticut Architecture Foundation's Distinguished Leadership Award was awarded to Cesar Pelli.
Cesar Pelli was a visionary architect in his own style. He always loved to experiment with a variety of materials. At the beginning of the 90s, Cesar Pelli’s design creations were seen in various parts of the world. One Canada Square at Canary Wharf in London opened in 1991. Plaza Tower in Costa Mesa, California was also completed 1991. In 1995, the NTT Headquarters in Tokyo was unleashed for the world to expect that there was something spectacular coming out from Cesar Pelli & Associates.
In the year 1997, when ‘The Petronas Towers’ in Kuala Lumpur was completed, the world was in awe with Cesar Pelli. Sheathed in stainless steel and reflecting Islamic design motifs, ‘The Twin Towers’ was named the ‘Tallest Buildings in the World’. The title remained intact for 7 years till 2004. Cesar Pelli received the architecture prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture for ‘The Petronas Towers’.
In the year 2005, Cesar Pelli & Associates completed the National Museum of Art in Osaka, Japan. The immense popularity of his firm and growth saw Cesar Pelli rewarding Senior Principals Fred W. Clarke and his younger son Rafael Pelli by changing the firm’s name to Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects in 2005.
The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami – Florida, the Minneapolis Central Library, the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall and Samueli Theater in Costa Mesa – California, the Red Building, Sevilla Tower in Seville – Spain and the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco was some of the prominent projects of Cesar Pelli completed in the second millennium.
In the year 2008, Cesar Pelli was honoured with the Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award from the CTBUH – Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.
Cesar Pelli will always hold a special place for his Red Building. He reminisced, “I have worked on this my whole life,” he said. “It has become a very special baby for me.”
A legendary figure comes once in a while and Cesar Pelli is one legend, who will live forever for his superb design creations around the world.