Famed architect of Miami's Arsht Center Cesar Pelli dies at 92

Architect Cesar Pelli speaks during the grand opening news conference for the Aria Resort & Casino at CityCenter December 16, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for CityCenter

MIAMI – Argentine-American Architect César Pelli, who was renowned in South Florida for designing Miami's Arsht Center and around the world for his tall skyscrapers, died Friday in New Haven, Connecticut, the Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects firm announced Saturday. He was 92.

The former dean of the Yale School of Architecture left his mark in many of the world's most important cities including Buenos Aires, Argentina; Mexico City, Mexico; Seville, Spain; Doha, Qatar; Osaka, Japan; in Hong Kong and in China's Beijing, Chengdu and Wuhan.  

Pelli designed the World Financial Center in New York, the Pacific Design Center and Brookfield Place in Los Angeles, the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, the XJH Centre in Shangai and the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.  

"I want to send my condolences to the family and friends of the talented César Pelli," Argentine President Mauricio Macri wrote in Spanish on Twitter. "The works he leaves around the world as a legacy are a pride for Argentines."

Miami's center for the performing arts is shown as it nears opening day October 3, 2006 in Miami. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Adrienne Arsht, founding chairman of the Adrienne Arsht Center Foundation, lauded Pelli's work on Saturday afternoon for inspiring "the transformation of an entire city. His creative genius will forever be a part of Miami." 

Pelli was born Oct. 12, 1926, in San Miguel de Tucumán, a city built around a neoclassical cathedral and on the slopes of the Aconquija mountains in Argentina. His father was a government employee and his mother was a teacher. 

He attended the Universidad Nacional de Tucumán and later received a scholarship to the University of Illinois. After graduating, he moved to Los Angeles, where he later taught at the University of California.

By the 1970s, he was designing the U.S. embassy in Tokyo and was selected to be the dean of the Yale School of Architecture. 

2006 File Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In 1991, the American Institute of Architects named him one of the 10 most influential living American architects. Four years later, he earned the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal. 

Two years after the Adrienne Arsth Center for the Performing Arts opened in 2006, Yale University gave him an honorary doctorate degree. Arsht Center President Johann Zietsman said Pelli continued to be involved with the center for years after its grand opening. 

2006 File Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

"We are incredibly grateful for his indelible contribution to our skyline," Zietsman said. "His masterful imprint will forever be an icon of Miami’s cultural transformation."

In the United States, Pelli also designed buildings in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Houston and Las Vegas. 

About the Author:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.