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Antoine Predock, internationally renowned architect and motorcycle aficionado, dies at 87

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Known for his ability to tap into the spirit of any landscape and weave its features into his designs, internationally renowned architect and avid motorcyclist Antoine Predock is remembered for his rare form of creativity. He died Saturday at his home in Albuquerque, according to longtime friends and colleagues. He was 87.

Over six decades, Predock created buildings around the world – from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba and the College of Media and Communication in Qatar to public spaces such as the Padres baseball stadium in San Diego, the Arizona Science Center at City Hall from Phoenix and Austin.

His projects would begin with sketches and collages, a method that friends and colleagues say has helped inspire younger generations of architects as they learn how to integrate buildings into communities and create spaces that make visitors feel like they are on a journey.

That was Predock’s motivation: to move people when they walked into his buildings.

During a 2018 interview with The Associated Press, he said his designs were choreographic. He said part of his inspiration for the choreography came from the sensations he would get while riding one of his many motorcycles – some of which were on display in his studio.

“It’s not that you have to follow a certain path. They are open-ended options and you can choose your own routes through them,” he said of one design. “I don’t like one-liner buildings where you walk in and you get everything at once. It should be more of an accumulation of events, experiences and perceptions.”

Appreciation and condolences were shared on Predock’s social media pages not long after he died following a slowly progressive illness. He was known for sharing his sketches, along with photos of his home’s vantage point overlooking the Rio Grande Valley and memories of his motorcycle adventures.

Robert Gonzalez, dean of the University of New Mexico’s School of Architecture and Planning, met Predock while attending the University of Texas at Austin. During a visit to the university, Predock challenged Gonzalez and his classmates to always think about the place they were designing for and the bigger picture, not just the facade of a building.

“That, I think, was one of the marks he left behind,” Gonzalez said Tuesday. “He really wanted to connect everything he did with the place and in a much more spiritual and meaningful way.”

Predock’s portfolio includes residential properties, hotels, offices, entertainment centers and education and research facilities around the world. He received the 2006 Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects and the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Lifetime Achievement Award.

In nominating Predock for the American Institute of Architects award, then-committee chairman Thomas S. Howorth said: “Undoubtedly, more than any other American architect, Antoine Predock has passionately championed a personal and place-inspired vision of architecture. and the belief that his buildings have been universally embraced.”

Howorth described Predock’s buildings as ‘fearlessly expressive and sincere, at the same time complex and guileless’.

One of Predock’s proudest achievements was the human rights museum, which later featured on the Canadian $10 bill – opposite Viola Desmond, a civil rights activist in that country.

Predock carried a photocopy of the note in his pocket, always ready to unfold it and start a conversation about the importance of Desmond and the museum project.

Born June 24, 1936 in Lebanon, Missouri, Predock studied engineering at the University of Missouri and then transferred to the University of New Mexico. He later graduated from Columbia University with a bachelor’s degree in architecture. In 2017, Predock donated his studio and archives to the University of New Mexico, where he was a professor for decades.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, who proclaimed Antoine Predock Day on June 24, 2021, said Monday that Predock’s work took the city to the next level.

“He leaves a monumental and personal mark on our city and the rest of the world,” Keller said. “We are forever grateful and he will be greatly missed.”

A post on Predock’s Instagram page stated that a memorial service would take place in Albuquerque on June 24.

One of Predock’s last projects involved a railway line in which he envisioned a series of stations that tell the story of the city and celebrate its residents along a 7-mile walking path. He also designed local works such as the La Luz community on the city’s west side and the UNM School of Architecture.

The school created the Predock Center to permanently house the architect’s collections. Gonzalez said this will be a way Predock’s legacy lives on and others can learn from him. He noted that a wall in the center lists the names of the more than 300 people who once worked at Predock in the studio, including many who later became accomplished architects and professors.

Gonzalez said students who visit the center can see all the steps in Predock’s process.

“In that space you feel all that, you feel all these catalyzing moments along the way,” he said. “And that’s a gift he left us. You can’t learn that in a classroom. You have to experience it.”

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Associated Press writer Lisa Baumann in Bellingham, Washington, contributed to this report.