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César Pelli: 1926—: Architect

Designed World's Tallest Building

Pelli's other buildings include the San Bernardino City Hall in San Bernardino, California, Herring Hall at Rice University in Texas, the Princeton University mathematics building, and several impressive skyscrapers. The 57-floor Norwest Center in Minneapolis is a dominant part of the Twin Cities skyline, and Pelli's Canary Wharf Tower in London, at 776 feet, is the tallest building in England. Pelli has also designed Carnegie Hall Tower in New York City, an extremely narrow structure just 50 feet in width. Five different shades of brick provide visual detail on its exterior. "This slender, elegant slab is like a dancer among thugs," praised Andersen in Time. When the building opened in 1990, Andersen termed it "the finest high-rise to go up in New York City in a generation." In the early 1990s, Pelli completed his 777 Tower in Los Angeles. The skyscraper featured a unique aluminum exterior skin with curved vertical ridges, which was hailed by Progressive Architecture critic Morris Newman, who wrote, "These [ridges] result in seemingly changing bay widths that play an optical game, making both convex and flat elevations appear curved. In the simply detailed lobby, the elevator bank is covered with red marble to startling effect."

Pelli has also designed the NationsBank Corporate Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Chase H&Q building in San Francisco. He created the terminal for Washington National Airport, renamed the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and in 1996 finished the world's tallest buildings, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The twin 88-story structures were finished in 1998 and stand 33 feet higher than the Sears Tower in Chicago. Despite such record-book achievements, Pelli is known for his modesty. "I don't feel I'm building masterpieces," he told Time's Andersen. "If a building is a masterpiece, that happens after the fact." Awarded another Gold Medal from the AIA in 1995, Pelli did admit to being pleased by the recognition, which is the professional organization's highest honor. Ann C. Sullivan of Architecture quoted him as saying, "It reassures you that what you are doing is not only right in your eyes but in others' eyes, too."

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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