Renowned Architect to Speak at Yale

Award-winning architect and educator Cesar Pelli will speak at Yale University as the next Chubb Fellow on February 20 at 4:30 p.m. in the Yale University Art Gallery’s McNeil Lecture Hall.

This event is free and open to the public. Entrance to the auditorium is from High Street.

Pelli was born in Argentina, where he earned a diploma in architecture from the University of Tucumán. In 1954 he received his master’s in architecture from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His first position was in the offices of Eero Saarinen, serving as project designer for such buildings as the TWA terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York and Morse and Stiles colleges at Yale. Following his apprenticeship, he was director of design at DMJM and, later, partner for design at Gruen Associates, both in Los Angeles. In those positions he designed several award-winning projects, including the City Hall in San Bernardino, California, the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, and the United States Embassy in Tokyo.

From 1977 to 1984, Pelli was dean of the Yale School of Architecture and concurrently founded Cesar Pelli & Associates. Since the firm’s establishment, he has personally originated and directed the design of each of its projects.

Known for his exploration of the aesthetic and construction possibilities of building materials, his attention to detail and his artistic approach to facades, Pelli believes that buildings should be “responsible citizens” and that the qualities of a building should grow from the specific characteristics of each project, including its location and purpose. According to Time magazine, “His very big buildings are thoughtful, likable, rich in detail, humane.” Newsweek described his work as “lyrical, technically sophisticated buildings that are neither ‘modern’ nor ‘postmodern.’ Each attempts to please on many levels at once, captivating clients and public.”

Pelli writes extensively on architectural issues. In 1999 he authored the book, “Observations for Young Architects” (Monacelli Press). His work has been widely written about and exhibited, with nine books and several issues of professional journals dedicated to his designs and theories. He has received 12 honorary degrees and over 200 awards for design excellence. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Academy of Design, the International Academy of Architecture and l’Academie d’Architecture de France.

The American Institute of Architects honored Pelli in 1991 as one of the 10 most influential living American architects, and in 1995 awarded him its Gold Medal, in recognition of a lifetime of distinguished achievement. In 2004 he received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for the design of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Chubb Fellowship is designed to encourage Yale College students to meet with leaders in the fields of government, culture and public service. Established in 1936 through the generosity of Hendon Chubb (Yale 1895), the program brings three or four distinguished women and men to campus every year to give public lectures and interact informally with students. Recent Chubb Fellows have included poet Rita Dove and activist-author Gloria Steinem. Previous architects honored as Chubb Fellows include Tadao Ando and Frank Gehry.

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