Thank You, Eduardo Catalano

Eduardo Catalano in front of the Raleigh House

Eduardo Catalano in front of the Raleigh House

From George Smart on Triangle Modernist Houses:

“I have very sad news today.  Eduardo Catalano passed away yesterday in Boston.  He was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and came to the United States on scholarships to the Universities of Pennsylvania and Harvard.  Catalano taught at the Architectural Association in London until 1951 when was recruited by Henry Kamphoefner as a Professor of Architecture at the NCSU School of Design.  He built his famous “Raleigh House” in 1954, shown below.  Read more about his life and his internationally known house, now destroyed, here.

In 1956 Catalano moved to Boston and began teaching at MIT until 1977.  One of his NCSU students fondly recalls, “Catalano was known for the three E’s of architecture.  With his thick Argentine accent, he would tell us the three most important factors are espace, estructure, and escale.” (If this makes no sense, try reading the sentence aloud).  Buildings designed by Catalano include the US embassies in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Pretoria, South Africa, the Juilliard School of Music at New York City’s Lincoln Center, Guilford County Courthouse in Greensboro (below) and the Stratton Student Center at MIT in Cambridge MA.  After MIT, he ran a private practice until retiring in 1995.  In 2002, Catalano came out of retirement to design the “Floralis Generica” sculpture in Buenos Aires, a gigantic metal flower with 6 motorized 20-meter-high petals that open and close.

After the untimely death of NCSU College of Design Professor Robert Burns, his former student and employee, Catalano donated $200,000 to the NCSU College of Design in his honor. Catalano also gave a second gift of $400,000 — the largest outright gift at the time it was given in 2007 — to establish the Eduardo Catalano Endowed Lecture/Seminar on Innovations in Contemporary Architecture.  He was awarded an honorary doctorate by NCSU in 2007.”

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