In our lives, we always come across people who attempt to change the world with their work and thoughts. The architecture fraternity is huge and Architects are credited to make the lives of people better and easy. Some great architects in the world influence us with their work and set benchmarks for the generations to come. They leave an everlasting mark in the history of time with their style and work. 

Let us remember 10 great architects we lost in the last decade, whom we shall be forever grateful for their contribution towards architecture and beyond.

1. César Pelli (1926-2019) | Great Architects in the World

“I see my buildings as pieces of cities, and in my designs, I try to make them into responsible and contributing citizens.”

The architect behind the famous Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur and World Financial Centre, New York, César Pelli designed some of the world’s largest buildings. Born in Argentina, Pelli studied architecture at the National University of Tucumán and the University Of Illinois School Of Architecture. Pelli worked with the great modernist Euro Saarinen in the earlier days of his career, before setting up his architecture practice. His buildings witnessed great experimentation of various types of glasses. He also served as the Dean of Yale’s School of Architecture. Pelli died at the age of 92 in New Haven, Connecticut.

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Cesar Pelli ©
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Petronas Towers ©
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stainless-steel and glass entrance in the National Museum of Art in Osaka, Japan ©
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The Winter Garden at the World Financial Center in New York ©

2. I. M. Pei (1917-2019)

“You cannot defend your design without knowing what you’re designing for.”

The winner of the 1983 Pritzker Prize, Architect I.M Pei was known for his progressive modernistic style. The Chinese-American architect studied at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. Pei established his independent design firm, I.M. Pei Associates in 1955. Pei was often considered a disciple of Walter Gropius for this reliance on abstract forms and material selection such as stone, concrete glass, and steel. His famous works include John F. Kennedy Library, Boston, Le Grand Louvre, Paris, Bank of China Tower, Hong Kong, National Gallery of Art, etc. He was quite criticized for the controversial Glass Louvre Museum, which later became the most iconic representation of his work. Pei died at the age of 102 in New York.

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I.M. Pei ©
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Louvre Museum ©
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Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ©

3. Zaha Hadid (1950-2016) | Great Architects in the World

“There are 360 degrees, so why stick to one?”

Dame Zaha Hadid was known as the ‘Queen of the curve’ for the bold and dynamic curves she used in her splendid designs. Zaha Hadid was a British-Iraqi architect and the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize in 2004. Hadid studied architecture at the AA School of Architecture, London. She established her independent practice, Zaha Hadid Architects in 1990. Her major works include London Aquatics Centre in London, Daxing Airport and Galaxy SOHO in Beijing, Heydar Aliyev Centre in Azerbaijan, etc. She served as a guest professor at various architecture schools. Her style of architecture was a distinctive amalgamation of deconstructivism, neo-futurism, and parametricism. Zaha Hadid died of a heart attack at the age of 65 in Florida, the USA.

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Zaha Hadid ©cc
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Heydar Aliyev center, Baku, Azerbaijan ©
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Galaxy Soho, Beijing, China ©

4. Oscar Niemeyer (1907-2012)

“Curves are the essence of my work because they are the essence of Brazil, pure and simple.”

Oscar Niemeyer was a Brazilian architect considered to be one of the key figures in the development of modern architecture. His designs reflected abstract forms and curves, he was attracted to free-flowing sensual curves instead of straight lines or straight angles. He graduated from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and was the 1988 Pritzker Prize winner. White concrete, primary colors, and graceful curves were his signature elements. His famous works include Niemeyer’s International Cultural Centre in Spain, Copan Apartment Building in Sao Paulo, The National Congress of Brazil in Brazil, Cathedral of Brasilia, etc. Oscar Niemeyer died in 2012 at the age of 104 in Brazil.

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Oscar Niemeyer ©
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Brazilian National Congress ©
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Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia ©

5. Paolo Soleri (1950-2013) | Great Architects in the World

“If an architect’s ego is very small, he is done for it; if it is vast then he might make some very important contributions.”

Paolo Soleri was an Italian architect, writer, and an academician. Paolo studied at The Polytechnic University of Turin, Italy. He coined the concept of ‘arcology’ – a synthesis of architecture and ecology as the philosophy of a democratic society. He designed the experimental prototype town ‘Arcosanti’ on the concept of arcology, in Central Arizona. He authored several books including The Bridge between Matter & Spirit is Matter Becoming Spirit and Arcology – City in the Image of Man. Paolo Soleri died at the age of 93 in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

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Paolo Soleri ©
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The Paolo Soleri Amphitheatre ©
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A view of Arcosanti experimental town ©
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Arcosanti neighborhood combines apartments, workshops, and spaces for students ©

6. Charles Correa (1950-2015) 

“The complex and ambiguous relationship between man and nature is central to Indian architecture”

Charles Mark Correa was a famous architect, an urban planner, a writer, and an activist of Indian origin. Known for his contribution to the modern architecture of post-independence India, Correa has designed nearly 100 buildings in India, from low-income housing to luxury condos. His designs saw a beautiful amalgamation of outdoor spaces and terraces with the indoors. Correa studied architecture at the University of Mumbai and the University of Michigan. His famous works include Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur, MP Legislative Assembly in Bhopal, National Craft Museum in New Delhi, Ismaili Centre in Toronto, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Boston, etc. He authored several books including Housing and Urbanisation, A Place in the Shade: The New Landscape, Form Follows Climate, etc. In 1984, he founded the Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI), Bombay which aims to protect the built environment and the urban communities. Correa died at the age of 84 in Mumbai, India.

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Charles Correa ©
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Cidade de Goa ©
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British Council, New Delhi ©

7. Robert Venturi (1950-2018)

“If you’re lucky you live long enough to see the bad results of your good ideas.”

The father of post-modern architecture, Robert venturi was an American architect of the twentieth century. He coined the maxim ‘less is bore’ and favored eclectic and playful style in his designs. A graduate from Princeton University, Venturi was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1991. He established his firm, Venturi-Scott Brown and Associates, with his wife, and focused on shaping the way the architects, planners, and the students experience the built architecture. His famous works include VannaVenturi House in Philadelphia, Seattle Art Museum in Seattle, Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery in London, etc. He also served as a professor in various architecture institutes and authored famous books including Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, Learning from Vegas, The View from the Campidoglio, etc. Venturi died at the age of 93 in Philadelphia.

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Robert Venturi ©
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Curtis Institute of music, Philadelphia ©
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VannaVenturi House ©

8. Charles Jencks (1950-2019) | Great Architects in the World

“I do believe architecture, and all art should be content-driven. It should have something to say beyond the sensational.”

Charles Jencks was a renowned architect, theorist, historian, and a landscape designer from America. He received his art degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Jencks focused on landform architecture, especially in Scotland, which can be seen in Jupiter Art Land and The Garden of Cosmic Speculation. Jencks authored over 30 books on the topic landscape, postmodernism, critical modernism. Jencks also appeared in various programs featuring films on television for his work. He co-founded self-help centers, dedicated to his late wife, for the treatment of cancer patients. The centers provided social and psychological support to the patients. Charles Jencks died in London at the age of 80. 

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Charles Jencks ©
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The Garden of Cosmic Speculation in Scotland ©
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Charles Jencks book ©

9. Michael Graves (1950-2015)

“In any architecture, there is an equity between the pragmatic function and the symbolic function.”

Michael Graves was an American architect, product designer, and educator. He was believed to have a major influence on New Urbanism and New Classicism. Michael designed over 350 buildings around the world but was recognized for the products he designed, the pepper mill, and the teakettle. He studied at the University of Cincinnati and Harvard University before starting a 40 years career as a professor at Princeton University. His notable works include Portland Building in Oregon, Denver Public Library in Colorado, and Humana Building in Kentucky, etc. He rejected the fact that ornamentation was a crime (Adolf loos) and rather viewed it as a way to convey meaning to his designs. He designed nearly 2,000 household products ranging from furniture, accessories, kitchenware, etc. Michael Graves died at the age of 80 in Princeton, New Jersey. 

Great Architects in the World
Michael Graves ©
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Walking canes for the physically impaired ©
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Tea kettle for Alessi ©
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St. Coletta of Greater Washington ©

10. Michael Sorkin (1948-2020) | Great Architects in the World

“Are computers now meant to DREAM for us as well as to DRAW?”

A famous and outspoken public intellectual, Michael Sorkin was an architecture critic, designer, and educator of the American origin. Sorkin received his architecture degree from the University of Chicago and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He had a keen interest in Urban Planning and Green Urbanism. Sorkin was known for his vocal criticism and believed that it is important to question architecture to bring out truth and help and save the world. He penned numerous articles and books on the subject of contemporary architecture, urban dynamics, and the role of democracy in Architecture. He authored books including Go Blow Your Nose-New York, All Over the Map: Writing on Buildings and Cities, Twenty Minutes in Manhattan. He also gave urban design proposals for cities like Brooklyn, Penang, Leipzig, etc. Sorkin died at the age of 71 in Manhattan, New York due to COVID-19.

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Michael Sorkin ©
Great Architects in the World
Michael Sorkin’s Book ©, Great Architects in the World

Neha is an architect, learner, and a voracious reader. She loves to explore new places and experience the beauty, food, and people of different regions. She inclines research and experimentation and wishes to spread awareness through education. She believes in teaching minds, touching hearts, and transforming lives.