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César Pelli: 1926—: Architect

Won American Scholarship

Pelli was born on October 12, 1926, in San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina, a town with a rich legacy of Spanish colonial architecture. His grandfather was an immigrant from Italy, while his mother's family was criollo, the term used for Argentines of Spanish-settler descent. Pelli studied at the University of Tucumán, and earned an diploma from its renowned architecture program in 1949. He married Argentine Diana Balmori, a landscape designer, the following year.

Early in his career Pelli developed a strong affinity for the work of Le Corbusier, the French architect whose radical designs revolutionized twentieth-century architecture. For a time, Pelli worked for an Argentine government agency that sponsored and built subsidized housing, and then won an Institute of International Education scholarship and came to the United States for further professional training. Between 1952 and 1954 he worked toward earning an advanced architecture degree from the University of Illinois at its Urbana-Champaign campus. After graduating, he joined the prestigious firm of Eero Saarinen and Associates. The Finnish-American Saarinen was a leading name in modernist architecture at the time, and Pelli has said that the renowned Michigan firm had a tremendous influence on his own work. The architects in Saarinen's offices worked collectively, and studied design problems through the use of models.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Jan Peck Biography - Personal to David Randall (1972–) Biography - PersonalCésar Pelli: 1926—: Architect Biography - Won American Scholarship, Years In New York And Los Angeles, Designed World's Tallest Building