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7 Towering Designs By César Pelli, Who Died Friday At 92

Renowned architect César Pelli died Friday at 92.

Pelli grew up in Argentina and came to the United States in the 1950s for graduate studies, working for a decade for architect Eero Saarinen in Michigan and then for firms on the West Coast.

In 1977, he founded his own firm, currently known as Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, and also became dean of the Yale School of Architecture, a post he held until 1984.

Pelli is known for his high-rises — including the Petronas Twin Towers, the world's tallest buildings for a time — but his output also included a range of low-rise buildings. “I believe it’s a mistake to have a style,” Pelli once said

The following are seven examples of his work from the dozens of buildings he designed worldwide.

Petronas Twin Towers

Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Completed: 1998

Designed to herald the emergence of Malaysia into the global economy, the 4.2M SF Petronas Towers were the world's tallest buildings from 1998 to 2004.

Though a distinctive postmodern design, each tower's floor plate is also based on geometric forms found in Islamic art, with two interlocking squares creating a shape of eight-pointed stars. 

World Financial Center (Brookfield Place)

World Financial Center (Brookfield Place), Manhattan

Location: Manhattan

Completed: 1987

An office building and retail complex in Lower Manhattan, the World Financial Center (Brookfield Place) was designed to give a formal context to the World Trade Center — softening the height of the Twin Towers by surrounding and stepping up toward them.

Though damaged in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the World Financial Center was fully restored. The complex is also known for its soaring, 10-story Winter Garden.

Pacific Design Center

Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood, Calif.

Location: West Hollywood, California

Completed: 1975

Pelli designed the first phase of the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles while on staff at Gruen Associates. That building, the 750K SF Center Blue, was followed by other phases: Center Green and Center Red.

Distinctive for its blue glass cladding, the PDC was designed to serve LA's design community, with showrooms and other spaces for interior designers, architects, decorators and other design-oriented tenants.

One Canada Square

One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London

Location: London

Completed: 1991

Done in collaboration with Adamson Associates and Frederick Gibberd Coombes, One Canada Square is a highly prominent building in the redeveloped Canary Wharf. It was the first 1M SF-plus building in London and currently is the second-tallest building in the UK.

Its skin is durable stainless steel and the building features a distinctive pyramid roof. The 50-story building was one of the first European towers to incorporate large efficient floor plates.

UniCredit Tower and Piazza Gae Aulenti

Piazza Gae Aulenti, Milan, Italy

Location: Milan, Italy

Completed: 2012

In the case of UniCredit Tower, Pelli not only designed the building, which is the tallest skyscraper in Italy, but also a modern piazza, Gae Aulenti, to go with it. 

The piazza creates a human-scale space in a context of high-rise towers while respecting the Italian tradition of open piazzas with few vertical elements.

Gran Torre Santiago

Gran Torre Santiago, Santiago, Chile

Location: Santiago, Chile

Completed: 2013

Pelli designed the Gran Torre Santiago, the tallest building in Latin America, in collaboration with Chilean architects Alemparte Barreda & Asociados.

Its structural system gives the tower a high level of protection in the event of an earthquake, and Gran Torre Santiago uses various green technologies, including a high-performance curtain wall, high-efficiency mechanical systems, and computer-controlled double-decker elevators, the first of their kind in Latin America.

Salesforce Tower

Salesforce Tower in San Francisco

Location: San Francisco

Completed: 2018

Salesforce Tower is now the tallest building in San Francisco, with Pelli Clarke Pelli's involvement beginning when it won an international competition in 2007 to design the tower and the Salesforce Transit Center at its base. 

The walls are clear glass with pearlescent metal accents, which gradually taper in depth to accentuate the building's curved glass corners. At its base, Salesforce Tower connects directly to the Transit Center, used by 11 Bay Area transit systems.