Remembering those we lost in 2020

In Memoriam

Remembering those we lost in 2020

William "Bill" Menking, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Architect's Newspaper. (1947-2020) (Courtesy Storefront for Art and Architecture)

During a year defined by immensurable loss, it’s not surprising that our annual In Memoriam list is, regrettably, lengthier than in years past. In 2020, we lost advocates and academics, vanguards and visionaries, innovators and educators, and those who made their own unique marks on the built environment in ways large and small.

The coronavirus pandemic, of course, played a role in the 2020 list, as it claimed the lives of several prominent names from the world of architecture and design including the urbanist, architect, and wondrously prolific critic Michael Sorkin.

This year AN also lost one of our own guiding lights: William “Bill” Menking, an educator and architectural historian who was the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Architect’s Newspaper, passed away on April 11 following a long battle with cancer. He was 72.

Below the excerpt from our tribute to Menking, written by former executive editor Matt Shaw, you’ll find the full list of obituaries, arranged in alphabetical order, that we’ve published over the course of the past 12 turbulent months. (The name of each individual is directly linked to their respective obituary/tribute.) For those not mentioned, we remember everyone who lost their lives this year to disease, injustice, violence, hunger, and the hands of time.

William Menking, 72

Architectural historian and educator; co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Architect’s Newspaper

William Menking tooting through a yellow horn
William “Bill” Menking (Courtesy Rob Gregory)

Wrote Matt Shaw, former executive editor of AN, in his tribute:

“We will continue to celebrate the life of Bill Menking, who will be remembered as someone who was always in the right place at the right time, agitating and connecting, breathing life into whatever was around him. Bill’s memory will live on not only through the continued influence of The Architect’s Newspaper, Pratt, and Storefront, but also through all the lives he touched with his mentorship and guidance.

Everyone who came through the paper took some part of Bill’s thinking with them. For me, his influence is palpable: How to avoid the status quo or the cliché. How to work in and around institutions. How to do more with less, and not be too precious. How to keep the social mission radical. Many of my fellow travelers came through Bill, including my Rockaways fishing buddy Walter Meyer and my Sunday pasta buddy James Wines, both, like Menking, equally lovers of life and intellectual discussion.

I can’t count the number of people whose work I studied in architecture school that I ended up meeting through Bill in social situations, nor, I suspect, can others. ‘Bill was someone who gave you everything without asking anything in return. He was a connector of people, ideas and souls,’ said Eva Franch I Gilabert, former director of Storefront for Art and Architecture and now director of the Architectural Association. ‘If I just made a map of all the people he connected me to, I would be able to make a portrait of a generation of idealist, honest, generous, radical and eternally young.’”

Bruce James Abbey, 77

Dean of the Syracuse University School of Architecture (1990-2002)

Anne Bass, 78

Philanthropist, investor, and patron of the arts

Woman in front of dark background; Anne Bass
Anne Bass (Ron Galella)

Elizabeth Sverbeyeff Byron, 96

Architecture and design editor

Rifat Chadirji, 93

Architect and critic

Christo, 84


Artist Christo in front of a painting of an orange pyramid
Christo (Wolfgang Volz/Christo)

Robert Coles, 90

Architect, activist, and civic leader

An elderly African-American man, Robert Coles
Robert Coles (Courtesy nycoba | NOMA)

Deborah Dietsch, 68

Architecture writer and critic

Karl Du Puy, 78

Professor emeritus, the University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation

John Paul Eberhard, 93

Founding dean, the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning

Photo of John Paul Eberhard receiving the Dean’s Medal
John Paul Eberhard receiving the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning’s Dean’s Medal in 2012 (Courtesy University at Buffalo)

Yona Friedman, 96

Architect and urban planner

Vittorio Gregotti, 92

Architect, urban planner, and writer

Black and white photo of Vittorio Gregotti
Vittorio Gregotti (Adriano Alecchi/Wikimedia Commons)

John Hill, 90

Founding dean and professor emeritus, the University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation

Carol R. Johnson, 91

Landscape architect and educator

portrait of landscape architect carol r. johnson
Carol Johnson at a project site (Courtesy Carol Johnson and The Cultural Landscape Foundation)

William Katavolos, 96

Architect and educator

George Kostritsky, 98

Architect and urban planner

Black and white photo of four men, the far left being George Kostritsky
A historical photo of the RTKL founders. From left to right: Archibald Rogers, Francis Taliaferro, Charles Lamb and George Kostritsky. (Provided by CallisonRTKL)

Virginia Savage McAlester, 76

Preservationist and author

Marvin Malecha, 70

Former AIA National president, former dean of the College of Design at North Carolina State University (1994-2005),  president of the NewSchool of Architecture & Design

Robert Maxwell, 97

Educator, architect, and former dean of the Princeton School of Architecture (1982-1989)

Robert Maxwell
Robert Maxwell in 2003 at Le Corbusier’s Unite. (Courtesy the Maxwell Family)

Syd Mead, 86

Artist, futurist, and conceptual designer

William McMinn, 89

Educator and architect

Margaret Morton,72

Photographer, professor at The Cooper Union

A woman, Margaret Morton, in black and white in a photo gallery
Margaret Morton at the Kimmel Center in 1995 (Janet Odgis)

Tamás Nagy, 69

Architect and educator

Adolfo Natalini, 78


Merry Norris, 80

Arts and architecture advocate, co-founder of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles

Photo of an elderly woman, Merry Norris, in a black dress
Merry Norris (Courtesy SCI-Arc)

 John C. “Jack” Portman III,71

Architect and developer

B&W portrait of Jack Portman
John C. “Jack” Portman III (Courtesy Portman Architects)

Jaquelin Taylor Robertson, 87

Architect and urban planner

Sir Roger Scruton, 75

Writer and philosopher

Kuldip Singh, 86


Michael Sorkin, 71

Architect, urbanist, author, and educator

Black and white photo of Michael sorkin
Michael Sorkin (Courtesy Dorothy Alexander)