Kevin Roche, FAIA, a founding principal of Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates (commonly known as Roche Dinkeloo), died on March 1 at his home in Connecticut, his firm announced in a statement on its website. Known for his modernist architecture, Roche was the recipient of many prestigious awards during his career, including the Pritzker Architecture Prize (1982), the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Gold Medal (1990), and The American Institute of Architects' (1993) Gold Medal.
Born in 1922 in Dublin, Roche graduated from the School of Architecture at University College Dublin in 1945. Before moving to the United States in 1948 to study under Ludwig Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Roche worked for late Irish architect Michael Scott in Dublin and late British architect Maxwell Fry in London. In 1950, after a year working as a staff member at the United Nations Headquarters Planning Office in New York, Roche went on to work with Eero Saarinen in a small office in Detroit, where he later became a principal design associate. After Saarinen's death in 1961, Roche and partners John Dinkeloo and Joseph Lacy completed the firm's unfinished projects and established Roche Dinkeloo in Hamden, Conn., "as a successor firm," according to the firm's website. These projects included the Trans World Flight Center at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, the Dulles International Airport Terminal in Washington, D.C., the St. Louis Arch in Missouri, the CBS Headquarters in New York, the Bell Telephone Laboratory in Holmdel, N.J., and the Ezra Stiles and Samuel F. B. Morse Colleges at Yale University in Connecticut.
Roche and his work have been recognized in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in New York, the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., Yale University, as well as several international traveling exhibitions. In 2017, Irish director Mark Noonan's documentary, Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect, profiled the late architect and his prolific career. The film was screened at the first edition of Architecture & Design Film Festival in Washington, D.C., last year.
"A modest and compassionate man, he will be remembered enduringly for his contributions to the field of architecture and for his great humanity," said his family in a statement published on Roche Dinkeloo's website. "As we mourn his passing, we remember the final remarks he gave in his Pritzker Prize acceptance speech: 'We should, all of us, bend our will to create a civilization in which we can live at peace with nature and each other. To build well is an act of peace. Let us hope that it will not be in vain.' "
Since its establishment in 1966, Roche Dinkeloo has completed more than 200 notable projects such as the Oakland Museum (first commission; 1968) in California; the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1967-present), the Ford Foundation Headquarters (1968), and the Central Park Zoo (1988) in New York; Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts (1973) in Middletown, Conn.; Bank of America Plaza (1993) in Atlanta; Banco Santander's corporate campus (2005) in Madrid; and the Capitol Crossing (Roche's final project; to be completed by the end of this year) in Washington D.C. In 1974, the firm won the AIA Architecture Firm Award.
Roche is survived by his wife, Jane Clair, his five children Eamon, Paud, Denis, Anne, and Alice, their spouses, and his 15 grandchildren.