Pietro Belluschi

Pietro Belluschi (August 18, 1899 – February 14, 1994) was an Italian architect, a leader of the Modern Movement in architecture, and was responsible for the design of over 1,000 buildings.[1]

Born in Italy, Belluschi's architectural career began as a draftsman in a Portland, Oregon firm. He achieved a national reputation within about 20 years, largely for his 1947 aluminum-clad Equitable Building. In 1951 he was named the dean of the MIT School of Architecture and Planning, where he served until 1965, also working as collaborator and design consultant for many high-profile commissions, most famously the 1963 Pan Am Building. He won the American Institute of Architects' Gold Medal in 1972.

Pietro Belluschi
Pietro Belluschi
BornAugust 18, 1899
DiedFebruary 14, 1994 (aged 94)
AwardsAIA Gold Medal
National Medal of Arts
BuildingsEquitable Building
Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption

Early life

Pietro Belluschi was born in Ancona, Italy, in 1899.[2] 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.[2] Serving in the army he fought against the Austrians at the battles of Caporetto and Vittorio Veneto.[2] After the war, Belluschi studied at the University of Rome, earning a degree in civil engineering in 1922.[1]

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.[1][2][3] 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,[2] living in Goose Hollow.[4] 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.[2]


At Doyle's office, Belluschi rose rapidly, soon becoming chief designer. After Doyle died in 1928, the firm 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.[1] 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.[2]

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.

Awards and honors

Belluschi was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1952.[5] In 1953, he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member, and became a full member in 1957. He served as a presidential appointee on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts from 1950 to 1955.[6] He 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.[1] He was awarded the National Medal of Arts by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1991 for his lifetime achievements.[7] Belluschi was on the jury that selected the winning design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.[8]

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 Belluschi was married first to Helen Hemmila on December 1, 1934, the mother of his two sons, Peter (b. 1939) and Anthony (b. 1941). After her death in 1962, he married in 1965 Marjorie or Margaret (1920-2009). Pietro Belluschi died in Portland on February 14, 1994.[2]


Commonwealth-Equitable Building - Portland Oregon
Commonwealth Building in Portland.

Belluschi's designs include:


  1. ^ a b c d e Belluschi, Pietro. (2007). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved September 22, 2007, from: Encyclopædia Britannica Online
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Gragg, Randy. "Belluschi revered as creative, 'spiritual' architect". The Oregonian, February 15, 1994.
  3. ^ Birkland, Dave (February 16, 1994). "Pietro Belluschi, 94, Helped Design Seattle Convention Center". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
  4. ^ Prince, Tracy J. (2011). Portland's Goose Hollow. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-7385-7472-1.
  5. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
  6. ^ Thomas E. Luebke, ed., Civic Art: A Centennial History of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, 2013): Appendix B, p. 540.
  7. ^ National Medal of Arts: Medalists. Archived 2011-07-21 at the Wayback Machine National Endowment for the Arts, accessed September 22, 2007.
  8. ^ a b Clausen, Meredith L., Pietro Belluschi: Modern American Architect, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London 1994, ISBN 0-262-03220-1
  9. ^ a b c d Architects Associated with Oregon State Hospital Archived 2008-10-06 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ a b Gregg, Robert D. 1970. Chronicles of Willamette, volume II: Those eventful years of the President Smith era. Salem, Or: Willamette University.
  11. ^ http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Peter_Kerr_House.html
  12. ^ MacColl, E. Kimbark (1979). The Growth of a City: Power and Politics in Portland, Oregon 1915-1950. Portland, Oregon: The Georgian Press. ISBN 0-9603408-1-5.
  13. ^ Central Lutheran Church: Building History Archived 2007-07-30 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ Salem Online History, The YWCA: Celebrating 90 Years in Salem
  16. ^ Marion County Circuit Court:The Marion County Courthouse: A Historical Perspective Archived 2008-05-01 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ http://nwda.orbiscascade.org/ark:/80444/xv64644
  18. ^ A Guide To Baltimore Architecture, Third Edition, Dorsey & Dilts, 1997 ISBN 0-87033-477-8, pg. 333-334
  19. ^ a b c "Raising Baltimore's Skyline" Gunts, Edward. The Sun [Baltimore, Md] 27 Dec 1987: T11.
  20. ^ University of Oregon News release: "UO Gallery Shows Drawings by Pietro Belluschi Archived 2004-05-29 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ A Guide To Baltimore Architecture, Third Edition, Dorsey & Dilts, 1997 ISBN 0-87033-477-8, pg. 347
  22. ^ The Unitarian Universalist Church Archived 2011-04-10 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "Saint Joseph's Roman Catholic Church (Roseburg, Oregon)". Building Oregon. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  24. ^ "Finally Looking Like A Church", Gunts, Edward. The Sun [Baltimore, Md] 02 Jan 1997: 2B.
  25. ^ Clausen, Meredith L. Spiritual Space: The Religious Architecture of Pietro Belluschi, University of Washington Press; First Edition, August 1992.
  26. ^ George Fox University: Centennial Clock Tower Archived 2008-09-26 at the Wayback Machine,
  27. ^ George Fox University Athletic Facilities, Newberg, Ore.
  28. ^ University of Portland: Campus Ministry: Prayer Schedule

External links

555 California Street

555 California Street, formerly Bank of America Center, is a 52-story 779 ft (237 m) skyscraper in San Francisco, California. It is the fourth tallest building in the city, the largest by floor area, and a focal point of the Financial District.

Completed in 1969, the tower was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River until the completion of the Transamerica Pyramid in 1972, and the world headquarters of Bank of America until the 1998 merger with NationsBank, when the company moved its headquarters to the Bank of America Corporate Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. A 70 percent interest was acquired by Vornado Realty Trust from foreign investors in March 2007 with a 30 percent limited partnership interest still owned by Donald Trump, managed by the Vornado Realty Trust.

Alice Tully Hall

Alice Tully Hall is a concert hall at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York City. It is named for Alice Tully, a New York performer and philanthropist whose donations assisted in the construction of the hall. Tully Hall is located within the Juilliard Building, a Brutalist structure, which was designed by renowned architect Pietro Belluschi, and completed and opened in 1969. Since its opening, it has hosted numerous performances and events, including the New York Film Festival. Tully Hall seats 1,086 patrons.As part of the Lincoln Center 65th Street Development Project, the Juilliard School and Tully Hall underwent a major renovation and expansion by architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro and FXFOWLE completed in 2009. The building utilizes new interior materials, state-of-the-art technologies, and updated equipment for concerts, film, theater, and dance. The expansion of the Juilliard Building created a three-story all-glass lobby and sunken plaza beneath a new, cantilevered extension, “projecting a newly visible public identity to Broadway.”

Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption (San Francisco, California)

The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, also known locally as Saint Mary's Cathedral, is the principal church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco in San Francisco, California. It is the mother church of the Catholic faithful in the California counties of Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo and is the metropolitan cathedral for the Ecclesiastical province of San Francisco. The Cathedral Clergy includes Reverend Arturo Albano, Rector and Pastor, Reverend Sebastine Bula,VC, Parochial Vicar. Reverend Mr. R. Christoph Sandoval, senior Deacon and Reverend Mr. Alex Madero, Deacon.

The cathedral is located in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. The present cathedral replaced one (1891–1962) of the same name. The original Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception was built in 1853–1854 and still stands today. It is now known as Old Saint Mary's Church.

Chapel of Christ the Teacher

The Chapel of Christ the Teacher is a chapel on the University of Portland campus, in Portland, Oregon, United States. It was designed by Pietro Belluschi and completed in 1986.

Commonwealth Building (Portland, Oregon)

The Commonwealth Building is a 14-story (59.13 m (194.0 ft)) commercial office tower in Portland, Oregon, United States. Located at 421 SW 6th Avenue between Washington and Stark Streets, it was designed by architect Pietro Belluschi and built between 1944 and 1948. The building was originally known as the Equitable Building and is noted as one of the first glass box towers ever built, pioneering many modern features and predating the more famous Lever House in Manhattan.

Hillside, Portland, Oregon

Hillside is a Northwest Portland neighborhood in the city's West Hills. It is anchored by the Hillside Community Center, the former site of Catlin Gabel School, which was designed by noted architect Pietro Belluschi. The center features neighborhood meeting spaces, a soccer field and a basketball court. The neighborhood is adjacent to Northwest, which is home to many restaurants, bars and shops and to Forest Park.

Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

The Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, often referred to simply as the Meyerhoff, is a music venue that opened September 16, 1982, at 1212 Cathedral Street in the Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland, United States. The main auditorium has a seating capacity of 2,443 and is home to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. It is named for Joseph Meyerhoff, a Ukrainian-Jewish Baltimore businessman, philanthropist, and arts patron who served as president of the Baltimore Symphony from 1965 to 1983.

Keystone Building

99 High Street, previously known as the Keystone Building, is a high-rise office building located in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. The building stands at 400 feet (122 m) with 32 floors. Construction began in 1969 and was completed in 1971. In height, it is tied with Harbor Towers I as the 27th-tallest building in Boston. The building was the first development in Boston of the New York-based real estate firm Rose Associates, led by Daniel Rose, who went on to develop One Financial Center and Boston Wharf. The original owners were Rose Associates (New York), Central & District Properties (London), and anchor tenant Keystone Custodial Funds. The building is currently owned by TIAA-CREF .

The Keystone Building was developed as the flagship headquarters for Keystone (which was subsequently acquired and rebranded by Wells Fargo). To that end, Rose engaged architect Pietro Belluschi, a leader of the Modern Movement in architecture, to design the building's notable exterior, featuring distinctive rounded corners and grooved façade. Belluschi worked with the architectural firm of Emery Roth & Sons, who developed the construction drawings and interiors.

Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall

Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall is the concert hall component of the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, California. The 2,743-seat hall was completed in 1980 at a cost of US$28 million to give the San Francisco Symphony a permanent home.Previously, the symphony shared the neighboring War Memorial Opera House with the San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Ballet. The construction of Davies Hall allowed the symphony to expand to a full-time, year-round schedule.

Miami Center

The Miami Center is a high-rise office building located at 201 South Biscayne Boulevard in Downtown Miami, Florida. Although Miami Center is not the city's tallest building, it is a symbol of an earlier downtown. Built in 1983, it is older compared with most of the taller buildings in Miami, which have been built in the last decade. In addition, the Miami Center is immediately adjacent to Bayfront Park, and is unobstructed when looking at the skyline from Miami Beach to the east. The building is 484 ft (148 m) tall and has 34 floors. It is located on Biscayne Boulevard and Southeast 3rd Street, to the east of the Central Business District and is adjacent to the Southeast Financial Center and the Hotel Intercontinental. The Bayfront Park Metro Station is also located close to the building. The tower consists of 100% office space.

One Boston Place

One Boston Place, also known as the Boston Company Building, is a 41-story office tower located in the Financial District of Boston, Massachusetts. With a height of 601 feet (183 meters), One Boston Place is the 6th-tallest building in the city. Despite its simple appearance, One Boston Place has become a major Boston landmark due to its distinctive diagonal exterior bracing and unusual rooftop "box" design. Completed in 1970, the skyscraper has served as home to several law, financial, real estate, and corporate firms. Bank of New York Mellon is currently (July 2007) the primary tenant of the building.

One Financial Center

One Financial Center is a modern skyscraper adjacent to Dewey Square in the Financial District of Boston, Massachusetts. Built in 1983, it is Boston's 8th-tallest building, standing 590 feet (180 meters) tall, and housing 46 floors. An unusual 90 ft (27 m) tall glass-roofed lobby, known as the atrium, occupies the first two stories. The remaining stories are offices, home to a number of law firms, Certified Public Accountants, and financial services companies.

The building is located on a historic 1.23-acre (5000 m²) triangular piece of land next to South Station and the Federal Reserve Bank Building, joining the Fort Point Channel area with Boston's Financial District.

During the Big Dig (a project to create a new underground highway under the centre of Boston), extra care was needed to avoid subsidence of the soil under the building, as construction was underway just 25 ft (7.6 m) from the building's foundation. The building was constructed on soil rather than bedrock due to the geography of the site.

The tower is topped off by two radio masts. Including its radio masts, One Financial Center is the 4th-tallest building in Boston (when measuring by pinnacle height), rising 683 feet (208 meters). Apart from the masts and their supporting cables, the roof of the building is flat with no crown.

Pacific Building

The Pacific Building is a historic office building in downtown Portland, Oregon, United States. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since March 5, 1992.This building was the second of three similarly-Italianate buildings built in Portland by prolific local architect A.E. Doyle's firm. The project's primary designer, Charles K. Greene, worked on the trio of Italianate Doyle-commissioned buildings in Portland: the smaller Bank of California Building (also completed in 1924), the Pacific Building, and the Public Service Building (a skyscraper completed in 1928). A young Pietro Belluschi started his career with A.E. Doyle working on this building, and later in it. Upon its opening in 1926, Doyle moved his firm's headquarters into the Pacific Building.The lobby of the 10-story building was designed by Belluschi, and connected to Portland's first underground parking garage. The connection to the parking garage was lost in 2000 when the former bus station to the south (which sat on top of the garage) was torn down and replaced by an annex to the nearby Hilton Hotel. Architecturally, the Pacific Building appears to combine the Chicago School with Italian Renaissance architecture. The red tile roof and dormers combine with geometric windows that are almost flush with the facade to achieve this effect.The lot upon which the Pacific Building stands is across Yamhill Street from Pioneer Courthouse, in the heart of downtown Portland. The entire lot once was the grounds of the Henry Corbett mansion (built 1875), which remained until construction began on the Pacific Building. Corbett's widow kept a cow on the grounds at one time while a major city grew around it. This juxtapositioning of the old and new earned the lot a nickname: "The Million Dollar Cowpasture".

Portland Art Museum

The Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon, United States, was founded in 1892, making it the oldest art museum on the West Coast and seventh oldest in the US. Upon completion of the most recent renovations, the Portland Art Museum became one of the 25 largest art museums in the US, at a total of 240,000 square feet (22,000 m²), with more than 112,000 square feet (10,400 m²) of gallery space. The permanent collection has more than 42,000 works of art, and at least one major traveling exhibition is usually on show. The Portland Art Museum features a center for Native American art, a center for Northwest art, a center for modern and contemporary art, permanent exhibitions of Asian art, and an outdoor public sculpture garden. The Northwest Film Center is also a component of Portland Art Museum.

The mission of the Portland Art Museum is to serve the public by providing access to art of enduring quality, by educating a diverse audience about art and by collecting and preserving a wide range of art for the enrichment of present and future generations. The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, with accreditation through 2024.

Public Service Building (Portland, Oregon)

The Public Service Building is a historic 67.06 m (220.0 ft), 15-story office building in downtown Portland, Oregon, United States. The building and its attached parking garage have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Public Service Building and Garage since 1996. It was built to house the offices of the Portland Gas and Coke Company and the Pacific Power and Light Company. The building's name reflects the fact that these utilities were "public services". A space in the Public Service Building fronting the corner of Salmon and Sixth streets became the first Niketown store.

Rohm and Haas Corporate Headquarters

The Rohm and Haas Corporate Headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States was built as the headquarters for the former chemical manufacturing company Rohm and Haas. Completed in 1964, the building was the first private investment for the urban renewal of the Independence Mall area. Only two blocks from Independence Hall the building, designed by Pietro Belluschi and George M. Ewing Co., was lauded for its respect to the nearby park and historical buildings. Philadelphia's city planners praised the Rohm and Haas Corporate Headquarters as a standard for all redevelopment buildings.The nine-story building's most notable feature is its translucent, corrugated sunscreens. Supported by aluminum lattices throughout the building's facade, the sunscreens are made of Rohm and Haas's principal product, Plexiglas. In 2007 the Rohm and Haas Corporate Headquarters was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and today is considered one of the best examples of the International style.

U.S. Bancorp Tower

The U.S. Bancorp Tower is a 42-story, 163.38 m (536.0 ft) skyscraper in Portland, Oregon. It is the second tallest building in the city after Wells Fargo Center, and with its nearly 69,000 m2 (740,000 sq ft) office space, it is the largest in Oregon in terms of volume.

University of Virginia School of Architecture

The University of Virginia School of Architecture is the university's architecture school. The school confers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in architecture, landscape architecture, architectural history, and urban and environmental planning. Additionally, the school offers a certificate in historic preservation.

The Ph.D program in architectural history was once maintained at the School of Architecture but has since been transferred to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

The school's current dean is Ila Berman.

Zion Lutheran Church (Portland, Oregon)

The Zion Lutheran Church is a church located in downtown Portland, Oregon, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Architect Pietro Belluschi employed a number of innovations in this 1950 church, an example of the application of modern architectural principles to a religious building. Using local materials, influences, and artists and craftsmen, it represents the Northwest Regional style of modern architecture, which Belluschi (along with colleague John Yeon) originated and developed. The low-relief angels in hammered copper on the sanctuary doors were designed by sculptor Frederic Littman.


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