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Obituary: Bernard Cywinski, FAIA; Designed Liberty Bell Center

Monday, March 7, 2011

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Bernard Cywinski

Philadelphia Inquirer

Bernard Cywinski, FAIA

Bernard Cywinski, FAIA, the noted Philadelphia architect who conceived a monumental new home for the Liberty Bell on Independence Mall, but whose firm may have made a broader imprint with the design for high-profile Apple Inc. retail locations, died Wednesday, March 2. He was 70.

Apple Store Manhattan

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson’s structural
glass cube outside Apple Inc.’s newest
retail store in Manhattan.

Cywinski “also served as the genial paterfamilias of the city’s architectural community,” the Philadelphia Inquirer said in an obituary. “Mr. Cywinski never taught at any of the city's design schools, unlike many of his peers, yet became a friend and mentor to a cross section of architects young and old during his 30 years at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson,” the newspaper said (see Bernard Cwyinski obituary).

Liberty Bell Center

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

The Liberty Bell Center on
Independence Mall, Philadelphia.

“He loved to gather people around a table, be it for a BCJ design meeting or a leisurely meal. Often the former morphed into the latter.”

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, with offices in five cities, is perhaps best known for creating the prototype for the Apple stores, including the glass cube on New York’s Fifth Avenue, and for designing a massive Seattle home for Microsoft chief Bill Gates.

Mr. Cywinski himself was more closely associated with a reconfiguration of Independence Mall and the design of a modern shelter for the Liberty Bell. The Liberty Bell Center, opened in 2003, delivers on the objective of “a distinctly American building, seamlessly connected to this place and to the collective memory of events that took place here,” Bohlin Cywinski Jackson says in a commentary on the project.

“Contemporary, and yet resonating with the eighteenth and nineteenth-century architectural traditions of the city, the brick, stone and glass building is an open, humanly scaled place of gathering and community,” the firm says.

Mr. Cywinski joined forces with Peter Bohlin, the 2010 winner of the AIA Gold Medal, in 1979, when the two merged their firms. The business won the AIA Firm Award in 1994.

Mr. Cywinski, Bohlin said, was a “great, indomitable spirit” who didn't allow his long illness to interfere with his work or interest in good food and art, the Inquirer reported.

Mr. Cywinski is survived by his wife, Nancy.


Tagged categories: Architects; Architecture; Modernist architecture; Obituaries

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