American architect Kevin Roche passed away this past Friday, March 1 at the age of 96. He was born in 1922 in Dublin, Ireland, educated at the University College Dublin (1945) and Illinois Institute of Technology (1948). In 1966, he formed Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates (KRJDA). He has designed more than 200 buildings, including renovation to the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2012), National Conference Centre in Dublin (2010), Lafayett Tower in Washington DC (2009), J.P. Morgan Headquarters in Manhattan (1992), Central Park Zoo in Manhattan (1988), The Knights of Columbus Building Headquarters in New Haven (1969), The Ford Foundation in Manhattan (1968), and Oakland Museum of California (1966). In 1982 he became the fourth Pritzker Prize winner and in 1993 was awarded the AIA Gold Medal. The following excerpt is from our 2011 interview at the architect’s office in Hamden, Connecticut.
Kevin Roche: The Latest Architecture and News
“Form-Generating is Similar to Music – You Try to Compose Music and Suddenly the Melody Comes”: In Conversation with Kevin Roche
The Pritzker Prize is the most important award in the field of architecture, awarded to a living architect whose built work "has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity through the art of architecture." The Prize rewards individuals, not entire offices, as took place in 2000 (when the jury selected Rem Koolhaas instead of his firm OMA) or in 2016 (with Alejandro Aravena selected instead of Elemental); however, the prize can also be awarded to multiple individuals working together, as took place in 2001 (Herzog & de Meuron), 2010 (Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA), and 2017 (Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramon Vilalta of RCR Arquitectes).
The award is an initiative funded by Jay Pritzker through the Hyatt Foundation, an organization associated with the hotel company of the same name that Jay founded with his brother Donald in 1957. The award was first given in 1979, when the American architect Philip Johnson, was awarded for his iconic works such as the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.
The Pritzker Prize has been awarded for almost forty straight years without interruption, and there are now 18 countries with at least one winning architect. To date, half of the winners are European; while the Americas, Asia, and Oceania share the other twenty editions. So far, no African architect has been awarded, making it the only continent without a winner.
Kevin Roche, the Irish-American architect and Pritzker laureate known whose modernist sensibility transformed America’s post-war cultural and corporate institutions, has died of natural causes in his home in Guilford, Connecticut. News of Roche’s passing was first posted to the website of his office, Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates late on 02 March. He was 96 years old.
It is rare for a father and son to share the same birthday. Even rarer is it for such a duo to work in the same profession; rarer still for them both to achieve international success in their respective careers. This, however, is the story of Eliel and Eero Saarinen, the Finnish-American architects whose combined portfolio tells of the development of modernist architectural thought in the United States. From Eliel’s Art Nouveau-inspired Finnish buildings and modernist urban planning to Eero’s International Style offices and neo-futurist structures, the father-son duo produced a matchless body of work culminating in two individual AIA Gold Medals.
Known for his progressive aesthetics and vast body of work, 1982 Pritzker Prize laureate Kevin Roche (born June 14, 1922) has headed numerous projects of varying program and scale as the design principal of his firm Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates. In 1980, shortly before the death of Roche's business partner John Dinkeloo, the firm was described by critic C. Ray Smith in 1980 as "the most aesthetically daring and innovative American firm of architects now working."
The Ford Foundation has received Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approval for renovations to its building at 320 E 43rd Street in Midtown Manhattan, reports New York Yimby. Constructed from 1963 to 1967, with a design by Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo and an atrium garden by Dan Kiley, the building became an instant architectural mecca and was made an individual and interior landmark in 1997. The proposed renovations, designed by Gensler, seek to restore a half century of alterations to the building’s appearance, in addition to subtle changes to adhere to adhere to fire and accessibility codes.
In an exclusive thirty minute-long discussion with Kevin Roche, described in this interview as "arguably the greatest living architect you've never heard of," Monocle's Steve Bloomfield hears about his early years in practice through to the evolution of his design philosophy over a career which has spanned five decades.
About twenty years after the last documentary on Kevin Roche was released, London-based film company Wavelength Pictures will produce an updated look at the life and work of the Pritzker Prize-winning architect, with a section of the film focusing on his projects in Columbus, Indiana, reports local paper The Republic. Wavelength Pictures plans to come to Columbus in 2016, filming buildings that Roche designed and conducting interviews.
Kevin Roche, the Pritzker-winning architect known for his innovative and sometimes unusual designs, turns 91 today. His firm Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates was once described by critic C. Ray Smith as "the most aesthetically daring and innovative American firm of architects now working".
This week our Architecture City Guide is headed to Columbus; Indiana that is. We have already made the trip to Columbus, Ohio. This lesser known Columbus only has a population of 44,000 people, but for what it lacks in size it makes up in architecture. Columbus, perhaps, has more notable modern architecture buildings per capita than any city in the United States. In fact, it was much harder narrowing the list down to 12 projects than finding enough for the city guide. With the buildings not on the list, it will be impossible to please everyone. Notably our list doesn’t even include Romaldo Giurgola’s Columbus East High School, Cesar Pelli’s Commons Centre and Mall, and SOM’s Republic Newspaper Building. Take a look at the 12 on our list and add your favorites in the comment section below.
The Architecture City Guide: Columbus list and corresponding map after the break.