Cesar Pelli


“Society is the ultimate recipient of all buildings. Citizens have the right to expect that every new building will contribute to a better city and a more humane world.”

For over four decades, Cesar Pelli led the firm to create some of the world’s most recognizable buildings, driven by his conviction that places must express their local, cultural, and historic roots and contribute deeply to the urban fabric. Throughout his career Cesar won hundreds of architecture awards, including the gold medal from the American Institute of Architects and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

Cesar was born October 12, 1926, in San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina. From an early age, his parents instilled within him a love of reading, learning, and the arts. Shortly after graduating from University in Argentina, he won a scholarship to study at the University of Illinois for one year. His experiences there led to a job offer from Eero Saarinen, which brought Cesar into the orbit of one of the most influential architects of his generation where he embraced a highly creative, energetic, and inclusive studio culture. A passionate educator and thinker, Cesar went on to serve as Dean of the Yale School of Architecture and founded the firm with Fred Clarke and Diana Balmori in 1977.

Cesar’s work has been widely published and exhibited, including his book Observations for Young Architects, an insightful treatise for students and practitioners of all ages. The recipient of thirteen honorary degrees, Cesar graduated from National University of Tucumán in Argentina and the School of Architecture at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Cesar passed away on July 19, 2019.