Illinois School of Architecture Announces New César Pelli Distinguished Lecture Series

The Pelli Lecture Series has been made possible through the generous estate gift of world-renowned architect and celebrated Illinois Architecture alumnus César Pelli.

The Illinois School of Architecture is pleased to announce the establishment of the César Pelli Distinguished Lecture Series. The Pelli Lecture Series has been made possible through the generous estate gift of world-renowned architect and celebrated Illinois Architecture alumnus César Pelli. Pelli received his Master of Science in Architecture degree in 1954 from the University of Illinois and went on to design some of the world’s most iconic buildings, most notably the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

César Pelli and son, Rafael; image from The Miramar Santa Monica (https://www.themiramarsantamonica.com/)

“Coming to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign from Argentina was a seminal moment in my father’s life and career. I remember walking on campus with him while our firm was working on the BIF [Gies College of Business Instructional Facility] project. He remembered his time here very fondly and was very appreciative of the support the University gave to a young man away from his country and family for the first time with no money or connections. The Dean of Students helped him with housing and some teaching work. The Director of the School of Architecture introduced him to an acquaintance in Eero Saarinen’s office for a summer job interview, and he later spent 10 years with the firm. He was struck by the communal aspect of University life, so different than his school experience in Argentina, and my parents always remembered the joy of spending evenings in the Illini Union. He was forever grateful for the opportunity to start a new life at UIUC.” -Rafael Pelli, Partner, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

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