Cesar Pelli: Renowned global architect helped build Yale school's identity


Argentina's César Pelli who has died at age 92 was a "great architect" who designed Malaysia's iconic Petronas Twin Towers, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

A senior associate architect at Pelli's CT studio, Anibal Bellomio, confirmed on Saturday that Pelli died peacefully on Friday at his home in New Haven. "I want to convey my condolences to his whole family, his friends and his team".

His son Rafael Pelli, a partner in his father's New Haven-based firm Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, confirmed the death.

Pelli, who studied architecture at the University of Tucuman, became dean of Yale University's School of Architecture in 1977. The Unicredit Tower in Milan, the One Canada Square in London and the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco are all Pelli designs.

"The works he leaves throughout the world as a legacy are a pride for all Argentines". Built in 1998 and standing at 1,483 feet (452 meters), the glass, steel and reinforced-concrete structures replaced Chicago's Sears Tower as the world's tallest buildings.

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Pelli was born into a humble background in the northern Argentine city of San Miguel de Tucuman; he once told an interviewer that his grandfather's inheritance was nine loaves of bread in an oven. He was also awarded the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal among his many accolades.

By the 1970s, he was designing the US embassy in Tokyo and was selected to be the dean of the Yale School of Architecture. He also received an honorary degree from the school where he was a lecturer.

Other Pelli projects are as varied as the three-tower Shanghai International Finance Centre, the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, a chapel at Xavier University in New Orleans, and the BOK Center arena in Tulsa.

The firm's best-known work is Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Towers, twin 88-story skyscrapers linked by a 41st-floor sky bridge.

This year, Pelli endowed a professorship in landscape architecture in honor of his late wife, Diana Balmori, the influential landscape designer and educator who passed away in 2016. After graduating, he moved to Los Angeles, where he later taught at the University of California.