courtesy Cooper Robertson & Partners

Architect and urban planner Jaquelin T. Robertson, FAIA, a founding partner of the New York-based firm Cooper Robertson has died at the age of 87 at his family home in East Hampton, N.Y. Renowned for his work championing classical design, Robertson was the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture in 1998, the Seaside Institute Prize in 2002, and the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture’s Richard H. Driehaus Prize in 2007 for his contributions to classical architecture.

“Cities are the highest calling of architecture, and modernism was a disaster in terms of cities,” Robertson told ARCHITECT following his 2007 award. “Classicism is the lingua franca of Western architecture. Whether you choose to speak it is your choice, but you have to know it.”

Courtesy Cooper Robertson Jaque Robertson's master plan for Celebration, Fla.

Born in 1933, Robertson was a Virginia native who began his career in design after graduating from the Yale School of Architecture in an M.Arch. in 1961. Alongside architects Donald Elliott, Jonathan Barnett, FAIA, and Richard Weinstein, Robertson founded the New York Urban Design Group for the office of former New York Mayor John Lindsay in 1967, creating a department that championed exploring the intersection of design, politics, and law. In the mid 1970s, he spent nearly three years in Tehran, Iran, orchestrating the design and planning of the Shahestan Palavi, the capital’s new urban center; the designs were never realized because of the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Robertson returned to New York where he formed Eisenman/Robertson Architects with Peter Eisenman, FAIA.

Robertson served as the dean of the University of Virginia School of Architecture from 1980 to 1988. In 1986, he joined his friend and former Yale classmate Alexander Cooper, FAIA, at his eponymous firm Alexander Cooper Associates, co-founding Cooper, Robertson & Partners. There, Robertson worked on several renowned projects such as the Sony Imageworks former headquarters in California; the master plan for Celebration, Fla., the design for the New Albany Country Club in New Albany, Ohio, and several private residences.

Courtesy Cooper Robertson A private residence, dubbed the Rose House, designed by Jaque Robertson in Easthampton, N.Y.

"Over the course of his long, fruitful and rich life, Jaque’s accomplishments were innumerable, extraordinary and widely varied," said Cooper Robertson in a release. "He had a staggering breadth of life experiences and a seemingly bottomless well of talents; always setting the bar high, holding to the highest of standards and accepting nothing short of excellence, first in himself, and in his partners and colleagues as well."

Since Robertson’s passing, the architecture community has mourned its loss on social media: