Los Angeles lost an important figure in the architecture and preservation community last week. News reached AN of the passing of Karol Lautner Peterson, president of The John Lautner Foundation, which plans to host a memorial celebration in the Los Angeles area. The organization shared the following remembrance:
Karol Lautner Peterson died early in the morning of August 25, 2015, in her home. She was surrounded by close, loving family members.
One of Los Angeles‘ most influential architects, Jon Jerde, who recently passed away, was known for the ebullience and animation of his designs. So it was only fitting that his funeral be held at LA’s stunning Union Station, inside the Grand Concourse, accompanied by nothing less than a full Mariachi band. When Eavesdrop finally goes to the Page Six in the sky, this is exactly how we would like to go out.
Artist Chris Burden created, among many other things, Urban Light, an installation of 202 antique cast iron street lights outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Metropolis II, a city model inside the same museum immersed with 1,200 matchbox cars. Burden has passed away at age 69, reportedly from a battle with Melanoma.
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.
Donald Olsen, one of Northern California’s purest modern architects, has died. Known for open, light-filled residences with glass and concrete walls, white cladding, and a few quirky details, Olsen—a student of Walter Gropius—brought drama to an area whose architecture often lacked it.
Jon Jerde, founder and chairman of Venice, CA–based Jerde Partnership, died Monday after a longstanding illness. Jerde, whose firm has designed more than 100 urban places worldwide, was known for reinventing shopping centers as energetic entertainment destinations, bringing Hollywood pizazz and big city walkability to the once staid world of retail design.
Kenji Ekuan, 1929–2015, was the designer behind the Kikkoman soy sauce bottle (1961), the Narita Express (1991), and the Yamaha VMAX motorcycle (1985). The former monk drew inspiration from Hiroshima’s atomic devastation and founded GK Industrial Design Group in 1952. Sadly, Ekuan died of a heart problem in Tokyo on Saturday.
Sad news for California architecture. Los Angeles architect Duncan Nicholson, known for ambitious residential work like a multi-use addition to John Lautner’s Sheats Goldstein House, passed away last week after a battle with cancer.
A statement from his firm, Nicholson Architects, is a beautiful tribute to Nicholson’s creativity and his ability to inspire those around him. “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our founding principal, mentor, and friend, Duncan Nicholson, who succumbed to his brief battle with cancer earlier this week (Jan 20). He was a man of simple truths and timeless beauty, two rare things in this world.”
Jordan Gruzen of Gruzen Samton Architects died on Tuesday at the age of 80. His firm traces its heritage back to 1936 and the firm of Kelly & Gruzen, founded by his father Sumner Gruzen with Colonel Hugh A. Kelly. Gruzen and his MIT classmate Peter Samton joined forces in 1967 and formed their still very active firm, Gruzen Samton (now associated with IBI Architects). They have had a significant impact on the city of New York where the firm focuses on university buildings, high density housing, and other institutional and educational projects. A full obituary of Gruzen will appear in the next issue of AN.
The Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates website went to a black background this weekend to announce the passing of its dynamic, South African–born president Paul Katz. Katz had a quick penetrating mind but was an open and generous person who “trained and mentored” many young architects at the firm. The Architect’s Newspaper will publish a longer obituary in its next issue.