View Full Version : Obituary: Margaret Helfand, Manhattan Architect & Urban Planner, Age 59

June 30th, 2007, 04:36 PM
Margaret Helfand, center, on January 11, 2006.
(l-r): Pamela Pulchalski, Deputy Director for Programs and
Development, Andy Frankl, President, IBEX Construction,
Margaret Helfand, FAIA, Rick Bell, FAIA, Susan Chin, FAIA
(Photographer: Kristen Richard)

Margaret Helfand, Architect, Dies at 59

By ROBIN POGREBIN (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/p/robin_pogrebin/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
The New York Times
June 29, 2007

Margaret Helfand, a Manhattan architect and urban planner who served as president of the American Institute of Architects (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/a/american_institute_of_architects/index.html?inline=nyt-org)’ New York chapter, died on June 20. She was 59.

The cause was complications of colon cancer, said her husband, Jon Turner.

Ms. Helfand helped create the Center for Architecture, a hub for exhibitions in the field and the home of the New York chapter of the institute.

She served as the institute’s president in 2001. She was a co-chairman of New York New Visions, a civic group that advised government agencies on urban design and planning guidelines for the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan after the destruction of the World Trade Center.

Although she worked for big firms like Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Marcel Breuer Associates and spent three years in a smaller partnership — Helfand Myerberg Guggenheimer — Ms. Helfand spent the bulk of her career practicing at her own firm, founded in 1981.

Her designs emphasized clean elemental forms, the use of natural materials and the integration of her buildings with the surrounding landscape. Her Swarthmore Science Center, for example, was built from local schist stone and included a sunken garden that spilled out toward the woods.

Her collaboration on a contemporary design for the Automated Trading Desk office complex, in a 22-acre parklike setting in Mount Pleasant, S.C., harnesses the landscape as a contemporary counterpoint to the frenetic activity within. “Helfand created a headquarters acclaimed for the way individual work places are integrated with the landscape,” a report in the Architectural Record said.

Ms. Helfand also designed interiors like Time Out magazine’s 1996 offices in New York. The first phase of her renovations for Friends Seminary School on East 16th Street in Manhattan is now approaching completion.

Born in Pasadena, Calif., in 1947, she attended Swarthmore College from 1965 to 1968 and completed her undergraduate education at the University of California (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/u/university_of_california/index.html?inline=nyt-org) at Berkeley in 1969. In 1970 she attended the Architectural Association school in London, where she also studied at the International Institute of Design. During this period, she and a group of friends bought a 90-foot-long, three-mast schooner, rebuilt it and sailed to Spain and the Caribbean.

In the introduction to “Margaret Helfand Architects: Essential Architecture,” Paola Antonelli, a design curator at the Museum of Modern Art, wrote that boating gave Ms. Helfand experience in carpentry and cabinetmaking.

Ms. Helfand spoke out frequently on the challenges of rebuilding at ground zero.

When the work of the eight finalists in the design competition for a World Trade Center Memorial went on view at the World Financial Center in 2003, she was quoted in an article in The New York Times as calling for a higher level of design.

“I yearn for something simple with no moving parts, like a Mayan pyramid,” she said. “What did they understand that somehow we don’t?’”

In addition to her husband of 18 years, she is survived by a sister, Judy, of Kenwood, Calif.

Copyright 2007 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)


June 30th, 2007, 05:34 PM
This thread belongs in Anything Goes with the other architect obituaries.

June 30th, 2007, 05:51 PM
Thanks, I didn't know where to put it.:o