Architect Charles Gwathmey, known for his modernist homes and buildings, and architect of the Jewish Children’s Museum in Crown Heights, has died at the age of 71.
Having received his master’s degree in architecture from Yale in 1962, Gwathmey was hired by his parents to build a house for them. This design catapulted him to success at the age of 27.
He founded the firm of Gwathmey Siegel & Associates with Robert Siegel in 1968 and is perhaps best known for the 1992 renovation and expansion of Frank Llyod Wright’s Guggenheim Museum in New York.
In 1982, the firm received the highest professional honor bestowed by their peers, the American Institute Of Architects’ (AIA) “Firm Award” for “design excellence and a strong belief in the collaborative effort.”
The following year, the New York chapter of the AIA awarded the two principals of the firm, Charles Gwathmey and Robert Siegel, the Medal of Honor “for their distinction in evolving one of the most creative practices in our time and for the influence of their practice on architects and students of architecture.”
Gwathmey was also the architect for The Jewish Children’s Museum in Crown Heights, an imposing modern structure that has become a famous neighborhood landmark.
“Many were surprised when a respected architect such as Gwathmey took on the project,” an official of the Jewish Children’s Museum noted. “And he did it for only $1 Million.”
Mr. Gwathmey was honored at the Museum’s first annual dinner.
Rabbi Yerachmiel Benjaminson remarked at the time on how Gwathmey had felt connected to the building and the ideas it promotes.