Remembering those we lost in 2021

In Memoriam

Remembering those we lost in 2021

Cornelia Hahn Oberlander (Courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation)

Three Pritzker Prize laureates. A trailblazing Canadian landscape architect who melded modernist principles with a sense of social responsibility. A beloved journalistic mover and shaker on the New York City architecture scene. An entrepreneurial multi-hyphenate whose talents spanned fashion, architecture, music, and product design. A tireless champion of “buildings and communities that are not just good-looking but good for us.” The incomparable German-born architect behind one of this year’s most talked-about (and once-imperiled) buildings not just in Chicago but anywhere.

These are just a few of the visionaries and vanguards who we said goodbye to in 2021, a year that, like the one prior, has been characterized in part by incalculable grief and loss on a massive scale, and our thoughts are with those who have lost friends, colleagues, and loved ones to the ravages of COVID-19. This year has also been one of optimism and hope with the arrival of vaccines and a firmer understanding of how the virus works and spreads, as the last few days have demonstrated, we’re clearly not out of the woods yet.

Below is a list of just some of the individuals for whom AN published obituaries for and tributes to this past year; they are listed in the order that each respective remembrance appeared on our site. (The name of each individual is directly linked to their respective obituary/tribute.) As for those not mentioned below, AN remembers everyone who passed away in 2021 due to disease, injustice, violence, hunger, and simply the hands of time. Their memories will live on.

Ernesto Gismondi, 88

Designer, engineer, founder of Artemide Group

Paige Rense, 91

Writer and longtime editor of Architectural Digest

Leslie E. Robertson, 92

Structural engineer

James Nagle, 83


Black and white photo of james nagle against the chicago skyline
James Nagle (Courtesy Sheehan Nagle Hartray Architects)

Hugh Newell Jacobsen, 91


Richard Driehaus, 78

Philanthropist, historic preservation advocate

portrait of richard driehaus
Richard H. Driehaus (Andy Goodwin/DePaul University)

Micheal Friedlander, 63

Architect with the New York City Department of Sanitation

Eli Broad, 87


Helmut Jahn, 81


black and white portrait of helmut jahn
Helmut Jahn (Studio Thies Ibold/Courtesy CAC)

Art Gensler, 85

Architect, founder of Gensler

Terence Riley, 66

Architect, author, curator

Terence riley, a gruff looking man against a photo of a model house
Terence Riley in 2007 (Courtesy the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Paulo Mendes da Rocha, 92


Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, 99

Landscape architect

Gottfried Böhm, 101

Architect, sculptor

photo of gottfried bohm
Gottfried Böhm pictured in 2015. (Elke Wetzig/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Thomas Gordon Smith, 73

Architect, educator

Kristen Richards, 69

Writer and editor

Kristen Richards, wearing red, surrounded by clapping men
Kristen Richards at the Center for Architecture in New York in 2016. (Courtesy the Center for Architecture)

Philippe Barrière, 71

Architect, educator

Bernard Lax, 64

Founder, owner, and CEO of Pulp Studio

Lance Hosey, 56

Architect, author, sustainable design advocate

Virgil Abloh, 41

Designer, entrepreneur

Virgil Abloh pictured at Paris Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2019 (Myles Kalus Anak Jihem/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Richard Rogers, 88


Richard Rogers (Courtesy Van Alen Institute)