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Cesar Pelli
Photo: Tracy Kroll

Cesar Pelli was born in Tucumán, Argentina.  He graduated from the School of Architecture there and came to the United States with a scholarship to attend the University of Illinois.  He worked for 10 years with Eero Saarinen, the great Finnish-born architect and spent 12 years in Los Angeles, first as director of design for Daniel, Mann, Johnson, & Mendenhall, and later as partner-for-design at Gruen Associates.

Pelli has always combined his practice with teaching and, in 1977, he was appointed Dean of the School of Architecture at Yale University.  The same year, in New Haven, Conn., he started his present firm Cesar Pelli & Associates.  Within his practice, Pelli has focused on the significance of buildings as makers of city silhouettes and the importance of designs that strengthen an existing city fabric.  His designs avoid formalistic preconceptions.  Instead, they are inspired by the specific circumstances of each commission.  Two of his best known buildings in Southern California are the Plaza Tower in Costa Mesa and the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.

Pelli's continuing commitment to enhancing a city's social and cultural makeup is seen in the Performing Arts Center of Greater Miami, the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas nestled at the base of the twin 88-story Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in Charlotte and the Aronoff Center for the Arts in Cincinnatti.

Cesar Pelli has received numerous awards and other honors for his work.  The American Institute of Architects awarded him the 1995 Gold Medal, which recognizes a lifetime of distinguished achievement and outstanding contributions.

For more information about Cesar Pelli and Associates, visit


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