World-renowned Architect Eduardo Catalano passed away last week in Massachusetts. He was 92.
Catalano was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and came to the United States on scholarships to the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University. Catalano taught at the Architectural Association in London until 1951 before relocating back to the United States in Raleigh, NC. Dean Emeritus Henry Kamphoefner recruited Catalano as a Professor of Architecture at the then School of Design during the 1950’s.
Photo Credit: Professor of Architecture Roger Clark, FAIA
During his five-year tenure at NC State Catalano designed and constructed his revolutionary house built off Ridge Road on the west side of Raleigh in 1954. Frank Lloyd Wright praised the house and House and Home magazine would later name his home the “House of the Decade.” Life magazine would feature it prominently in a special 1957 issue devoted to the marvels of design and technology that would shape the world of tomorrow.
After leaving Raleigh in 1956, Catalano taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1956 to 1977 and ran a private practice until retiring in 1995. Notable works of Catalano’s architecture in the United States and abroad include the Student Center at MIT, United States embassies in Buenos Aires and Pretoria, South Africa, the Governmental Center in Greensboro, NC, the Juilliard School of Music in New York City, in collaboration with Pietro Belluschi, and forty institutional buildings. Catalano was a corresponding member of the Academy of Science of Buenos Aires and of the National Academy of Fine Arts (Argentina). He is the author of six books on architecture and has received four first prizes in national architectural competitions.
In 2002, Catalano came out of retirement to design the “Floralis Generica” sculpture in Buenos Aires, a gigantic metal flower with six motorized 20-meter-high petals that open and close.
Catalano still has an impact on students studying architecture at the College of Design today. After the untimely death of NC State College of Design Professor Robert Burns, Catalano’s former student and employee, Catalano established The Robert P. Burns Lectures and Seminars on Structural Innovations Endowment, which brings in a visiting expert to lecture and conduct a seminar on structural innovations in architecture. Catalano made a second gift — the largest outright gift at the time it was given in 2007 — to establish the Eduardo Catalano Lecture/Seminar on Contemporary Architecture Endowment to provide a special lecture/seminar each year from a visiting professional on contemporary architecture.
Catalano was awarded an honorary doctorate by NC State University in 2007.
Architecture Alumna, Elizabeth Bobbitt Lee, FAIA, 81, of Lumberton, passed away Tuesday, February 2, 2010. Lee was the first woman to graduate from the NC State University School of Design in 1952. She was the second woman to be licensed from the North Carolina Board of Architecture.
Lee served as president of the NC chapter of the American Institute of Architects and was a fellow in the AIA. She also served on the Board of Trustees of NC State University. She is survived by her niece Betty Bobbitt Byrne and her husband, David, of Montgomery, Ala., her nephew, Thomas Day Lee and his wife, Katie of Charlotte; and sister-in-law, Betsy Lee of Lumberton. A memorial was held on Thursday, February 4, 2010, at 11 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Lumberton. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the NC State Foundation / Elizabeth Lee Scholarship, College of Design External Relations Office, Campus Box 7701, Raleigh, NC 27695 or to a charity of your choice.