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Cesar Pelli, architect of Wells Fargo Center and Minneapolis library, dies at 92

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Architect Cesar Pelli delivers a speech
Architect Cesar Pelli delivers a speech during the grand opening of the CityCenter, a mixed-use urban development center on the Las Vegas Strip, on Dec. 16, 2009. Pelli has died at the age of 92.
Gabriel Bouys | AFP | Getty Images

Famed Argentine-American architect Cesar Pelli, known for designing some of the world's tallest and most iconic buildings, has died. He was 92.

Anibal Bellomio, a senior associate architect at Pelli's Connecticut studio, confirmed Saturday that Pelli died peacefully on Friday at his home in New Haven. Pelli was the former dean of the Yale University School of Architecture and a lecturer at the school, where he received an honorary Doctor of Arts degree.

Pelli designed the Wells Fargo Center in downtown Minneapolis, which was built in 1988 and remains one of the city’s three tallest buildings.

He also designed Gaviidae Common in downtown Minneapolis, completed in 1989, and Duluth’s Weber Music Hall, which opened in 2002. That same year, he visited Minneapolis to unveil his design for the new Minneapolis Central Library.

During the unveiling, Pelli said the library would be “a building you can all be proud of, a great civic presence in Minneapolis, a building that says the public library is a very important building.”

“This is not a design that we could have done anywhere else,” he added.

Checking out the space
Groups of school children take a preview tour of the new Minneapolis Central Library, designed by Cesar Pelli, before it officially opened in May 2006.
Brandt Williams | MPR 2006

In a 2006 interview with MPR News as the new library opened, Pelli said he designed the library to be welcoming, luminous and flexible to adapt to changing needs.

“I think libraries are becoming centers of culture, centers of activity, and the Minneapolis public library is very well positioned to be one of the very good libraries of the 21st Century,” he said.

The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is one of the Pelli's best-known works. The twin 1,483-foot-tall skyscrapers are among the world's tallest buildings. He is also known for designing the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco and Brookfield Place, formerly the World Financial Center, a downtown Manhattan skyscraper complex.

Pelli spoke of architecture being a social art.