Pietro Belluschi

Pietro Belluschi

Infobox Architect

caption =
name = Pietro Belluschi
nationality = Italian
birth_date = birth date|1899|08|18|mf=y
birth_place = Ancona, Italy
death_date = death date and age|1994|02|14|1899|08|18|mf=y
death_place =
practice_name =
significant_buildings = Equitable Building
Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption
awards =AIA Gold Medal|

Pietro Belluschi (August 18 1899February 14 1994) was a Portland, Oregon architect. He was a leader of the Modern Movement in architecture, and was responsible for the design of over one thousand buildings.Belluschi, Pietro. (2007). In "Encyclopædia Britannica". Retrieved September 22 2007, from: [http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9015298 Encyclopædia Britannica Online] ] The native of Italy won the 1972 AIA Gold Medal for his work. His designs are concentrated in New England and the West Coast of the United States. Several of these works are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Early life

Pietro Belluschi was born in Ancona, Italy in 1899.Gragg, Randy. "Belluschi revered as creative, 'spiritual' architect". "The Oregonian", February 15 1994.] He grew up in Italy and served in the Italian armed forces during World War I when Italy was allied with Great Britain, France, and later the United States. Serving in the army he fought against the Austrians at the battles of Caporetto and Vittorio Veneto. After the war, Belluschi studied at the University of Rome, earning a degree in civil engineering in 1922.

He moved to the United States in 1923, despite speaking no English, and finished his education—as an exchange student on a scholarship—at Cornell University with a second degree in civil engineering.cite news |url= http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19940216&slug=1895440 |title= Pietro Belluschi, 94, Helped Design Seattle Convention Center |last= Birkland |first= Dave |publisher= "Seattle Times" |date= February 161994 |accessdate= 2008-07-01] Instead of returning to Italy, he worked briefly as a mining engineer in Idaho earning $5 per day, but he then joined the architectural office of A. E. Doyle in Portland. He remained in the U.S., as friends in Italy had cautioned him to not return home because of the rise to power of Benito Mussolini and the Fascist government.


At Doyle's office, Belluschi rose rapidly, soon becoming chief designer. Doyle took him into partnership in 1933. By 1943, Belluschi had assumed control of the firm by buying out all the other partners and was practicing under his own name. In 1951, Belluschi became Dean of the architecture and planning school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a position he held until 1965. When he accepted the position of dean and moved to Massachusetts, he transferred his office in Portland to the architecture firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. The move reduced his annual income from $150,000 to a salary of $15,000, but was prompted by health concerns attributable to the long hours of managing his office while still designing buildings.

Belluschi emerged as a leader in the development of American Modern architecture, with the design of several buildings reflecting the influence of the International Style and his awareness of the technological opportunities of new materials. Most important was the Equitable Building (1944–47) in Portland, Oregon: a concrete frame office block clad in aluminum, and considered the first office building with a completely sealed air-conditioned environment.

Belluschi's churches and residences differed from his commercial works. Although of Modern design, they fit within the development of the Pacific Northwest regional Modern idiom as they frequently used regional materials (particularly wood) and were often integrated with their suburban or rural sites.


Belluschi was a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and was awarded the AIA Gold Medal, the highest award given by the institute, in 1972. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1991 for his lifetime achievements. [ [http://www.nea.gov/honors/medals/medalists_year.html National Medal of Arts: Medalists.] National Endowment for the Arts, accessed September 22 2007.] Belluschi was on the jury that selected the winning design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.Clausen, Meredith L., "Pietro Belluschi: Modern American Architect", MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London 1994, ISBN 0262032201]

Later life

After leaving MIT in 1965, he continued to work. Belluschi would design and consult on both buildings and issues surrounding urban planning. Pietro married Marjorie, and they had two sons: Peter and Anthony. Pietro Belluschi died in Portland on February 14 1994.


Belluschi's designs include:
* 555 California Street, San Francisco, California
* Baxter Hall, Collins Hall, and library building (now Smullin Hall) at Willamette University, Salem, OregonGregg, Robert D. 1970. "Chronicles of Willamette, volume II: Those eventful years of the President Smith era". Salem, Or: Willamette University.]
* Bennington College Library, Bennington, Vermont
* Breitenbush Hall, Oregon State Hospital, Salem (NRHP) [http://www.preservehistoricsalem.com/2007/11/24/architects-associated-with-the-oregon-state-hospital/ Architects Associated with Oregon State Hospital] ]
* Burkes House, Portland
* Centennial Tower and Wheeler Sports Center, George Fox University [ [http://www.georgefox.edu/maps_loca/inter_map/campus-quad/tower.html George Fox University: Centennial Clock Tower] ] [ [http://www.georgefox.edu/athletics/about/facilities.html George Fox University Athletic Facilities, Newberg, Ore.] ]
* Equitable Building, Portland (NRHP)
* Federal Reserve Bank, Portland
* The Juilliard School within the Lincoln Center, New York City
* Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco
* Marion County Courthouse, Salem [ [http://www.ojd.state.or.us/mar/courthousehistory.htm#Third Marion County Circuit Court:The Marion County Courthouse: A Historical Perspective] ]
* Pan Am Building, New York City (with Walter Gropius)
* One Boston Place, Boston, Massachusetts
* One Financial Center, Boston
* Oregonian Building, Portland
* Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company Building, Portland
* Peter Kerr House, Gearhart, Oregon
* Portland Art Museum (NRHP)
* Portsmouth Abbey School campus, Portsmouth, Rhode Island
* Reed College psychology building, Portland
* Rohm and Haas Corporate Headquarters, Philadelphia
* Sweeney, Straub and Dimm Printing Plant, Portland (NRHP)
* Uncle Toby's Story House, Blue Wing Lodge, Guardians' Lodge, Kiwanis Lodge, Camp Namanu, Sandy, Oregon
* YWCA building, Salem [ [http://www.salemhistory.net/culture/ywca.htm Salem Online History, The YWCA: Celebrating 90 Years in Salem] ]

Churches and synagogues

* Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, San Francisco (collaborating with Pier Luigi Nervi)
* Central Lutheran Church, Eugene, Oregon [ [http://www.uoregon.edu/~uocomm/newsreleases/latest/sep99/P091499.html University of Oregon News release: "UO Gallery Shows Drawings by Pietro Belluschi] ]
* Central Lutheran Church, Portland [ [http://www.centralportland.org/history.htm Central Lutheran Church: Building History] ]
* Chapel of Christ the Teacher, University of Portland [ [http://www.up.edu/campusministry/default.aspx?cid=3601&pid=65 University of Portland: Campus Ministry: Prayer Schedule] ]
* Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Longview, Washington
* First Lutheran Church, Boston
* First Methodist Church, Duluth, Minnesota
* First Presbyterian Church, Cottage Grove, Oregon (NRHP)
* Immanuel Lutheran Church, Silverton, Oregon
* Sacred Heart Church, Lake Oswego, Oregon
* St. Philip Neri Catholic Church, Portland
* St. Thomas More Catholic Church, Portland
* Temple Adath Israel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
* Zion Lutheran Church, Portland (NRHP) ()


External links

* [http://bluebook.state.or.us/notable/notbelluschi.htm Oregon Blue Book biography]
* [http://artarchives.si.edu/oralhist/bellus83.htm 1983 interview] from the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art

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