An illustrated information to the often-humble ultimate resting locations of well-known architects, from Alvar Aalto to Frank Lloyd Wright.

The gravesite of William Van Alen, greatest often known as the architect of the Chrysler Building in New York City. He is buried subsequent to his spouse Elizabeth.

By: Henry H. Kuehn

All working architects depart behind a string of monuments to themselves in the kind of buildings they’ve designed. But what about the ultimate areas that architects themselves occupy? One would possibly count on to discover imposing or self-congratulatory memorials, but most architects’ gravesites are somewhat understated. Featured under is a range of pictures and notes on a dozen of the websites Henry Kuehn researched for his ebook “Architects’ Gravesites: A Serendipitous Guide,” in addition to the writer’s preface.


My curiosity on this undertaking most likely goes all the means again to a course in architectural historical past that I took from the famend Vincent Scully. Despite having a profession in enterprise, I used to be profoundly influenced by the Scully course, which led me to a number of architecture-related endeavors throughout the ensuing years. These included affiliations with the Society of Architectural Historians, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Architecture and Design Committee of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Chicago Architecture Foundation. It was as a director of the Graceland Cemetery tour of the Chicago Architecture Foundation that I got here to notice that Graceland is the ultimate resting place for a major quantity of distinguished American architects.

Thus started my job of researching, visiting, and photographing websites throughout the nation. In this quest I recognized over 200 architects of curiosity and situated the gravesites for many of these.

As I dug into this undertaking, the elementary query that arose was: how have the women and men who designed the nation’s most necessary and impactful structure been remembered? Architects from the starting of civilization have created unimaginable monuments — the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Parthenon come to thoughts. In America, architects have created impactful monuments comparable to the Lincoln Memorial and the St. Louis Arch. Having the curiosity in and functionality of designing such lasting edifices, it appeared logical that these necessary architects would have put some thought and energy into how they themselves can be remembered.

I used to be shocked by the outcomes. Certainly a couple of of the architects I investigated have the imposing and self-congratulatory memorials that I had imagined would exist. However, only a few have monuments that in any means depict the architectural fashion for which the architect is famous. Instead, many are located inconspicuously in pretty, serene, and out-of-the-way settings. The cremated stays of some of these nice designers reside in extremely unlikely locations — the closet of a daughter, or the attic of a home as soon as designed and lived in by the architect. For most of these architects the monuments are fairly easy and understated — typically only a gravestone noting merely their names and dates and, sometimes, that this individual had been an architect. It appears unusual that these nice architects, who created landmark buildings throughout their lives, put so little thought into how they’d be memorialized for time everlasting. Apparently most of these architectural giants, like most of us bizarre folks, both didn’t really feel like coping with dying or felt {that a} lasting memorial for them was not necessary. What units this group aside, maybe, is that, in a placing quantity of circumstances, they selected not to have a marker in any respect however as an alternative directed that their ashes be scattered at a spot of particular significance to them.

One can solely hope that present and future architects might be impressed by their friends and, thereby, revive the numerous artwork of grave marker design. If this chance is ignored, the ultimate locations of immediately’s necessary architects will go largely unnoticed by future generations.

The cremated stays of some of these nice designers reside in extremely unlikely locations — the closet of a daughter, or the attic of a home as soon as designed and lived in by the architect.

When it got here time to put pen to paper I wanted to set up floor guidelines for this effort. Since tomes have been written about most of these architects, and ample details about their works and careers may be discovered elsewhere, I’ve chosen not to present prolonged biographical info. Rather, I consider their gravesites and share the info I’ve discovered relating to how their monuments got here to be.

Deciding who amongst all the architects of the world is notable and American was a problem that required setting some limits. As a end result there are most likely a quantity of architects and designers who the reader feels ought to have been included however weren’t. I’ve included a quantity of architects who are usually not American however did vital work and had been extremely influential on this nation — and, I’d add, they’ve some fantastic graves! I even have included some panorama designers who labored carefully with main architects on vital tasks. Finally, I’ve included a number of engineers who’re liable for designing buildings which have had huge affect on our nation.

It isn’t any shock that the highest honor that the American Institute of Architects awards in its discipline, the AIA Gold Medal, has been bestowed upon 42 of the architects included on this undertaking. What is fascinating is that many got the awards lengthy after their dying, that means that their affect had not been realized till a few years after they’d handed.


Alvar Aalto (1898-1976)
Hietaniemi Cemetery, Helsinki, Finland

An illustrated information to the often-humble ultimate resting locations of well-known architects, from Alvar Aalto to Frank Lloyd Wright.

It could appear unusual to start the listing of architects with one who is just not typically thought-about an American architect. However, Aalto designed two buildings in America that acquired a lot consideration. His acclaimed Finnish Pavilion at the 1939 New York World’s Fair led to a professorship for him at MIT. While there he designed the much-admired Baker House, a big serpentine dormitory that overlooks the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ironically, the namesake of this constructing, Dean Everett Moore Baker, died in the similar aircraft crash in Egypt that took the life of architect Matthew Nowicki, who might be mentioned later. His second spouse, Elissa, additionally an architect, designed Aalto’s grave marker.

Raimund Abraham (1933–2010)
Mazunte, Mexico

An illustrated information to the often-humble ultimate resting locations of well-known architects, from Alvar Aalto to Frank Lloyd Wright.

Though Abraham was born and educated in Austria, he had vital affect on the American architectural group by his being half of the visionary school created by John Hejduk at Cooper Union in New York City. His enigmatic, poetic drawings, a number of a few visionary “house,” had been a serious affect on a era of college students. Yet he was additionally a sensible builder. His best-known work is the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York City, which acquired excessive reward from critic Kenneth Frampton.

Abraham is buried close to the dwelling he designed for himself in Mazunte, Mexico. His grave marker is a “house” of bricks constructed by his buddy and neighbor, Checo Diaz. His ashes are in an urn buried beneath the marker. The flower urn atop the marker was bought years earlier by Abraham and his daughter.

Edmund Bacon (1910–2005)
Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

An illustrated information to the often-humble ultimate resting locations of well-known architects, from Alvar Aalto to Frank Lloyd Wright.

After learning structure at Cornell University, Bacon continued on at the Cranbrook Academy with Eliel Saarinen. From there he returned to his native Philadelphia, the place he ultimately grew to become director of the metropolis planning fee and had a serious position in implementing a brand new metropolis grasp plan.

Bacon was cremated and his ashes had been scattered on the grounds of a favourite household retreat constructed by his mom in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.

Louise Bethune (1856–1913)
Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, New York

An illustrated information to the often-humble ultimate resting locations of well-known architects, from Alvar Aalto to Frank Lloyd Wright.

After apprenticing with different architects, Bethune and her husband opened an architectural workplace in 1881. By so doing, she is credited with being the nation’s first skilled girl architect. Despite her significance, she is buried subsequent to her husband beneath a gravestone bearing solely his identify. Acknowledging this oversight, the native chapter of the American Institute of Architects organized for the set up of a close-by plaque that proclaims her accomplishments and significance.

Marcel Breuer (1902–1981)
Wellfleet, Massachusetts

An illustrated information to the often-humble ultimate resting locations of well-known architects, from Alvar Aalto to Frank Lloyd Wright.

Part of the Bauhaus motion in Germany, Breuer immigrated to the United States and maintained an ongoing relationship with Walter Gropius. He established what grew to become a major architectural observe, designing residences, church buildings, faculties, and workplace buildings.

Breuer’s cremated stays are buried beneath a block of granite on the property of the residence he designed for himself. The markings on the stone are exhausting to decipher however apparently had been chosen by the self-deprecating Breuer to say, “Here lies Breuer who broke his knee entirely of his own stupidity.”

Charles Eames (1909–1978) and Ray Eames (1912–1988)
Calvary Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri

An illustrated information to the often-humble ultimate resting locations of well-known architects, from Alvar Aalto to Frank Lloyd Wright.

Charles and Ray Eames had been a husband and spouse group who met at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. While there the Eameses had been uncovered to the affect of the faculty’s founder, Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen, and may be seen in lots of of their designs. They additionally grew to become life-long associates with Eliel Saarinen’s son, Eero. Later, Eero Saarinen mentioned that Charles Eames, alongside along with his father and Matthew Nowicki, had been the greatest influences in his life.

The Eameses labored collectively for nearly their total careers, designing buildings in addition to many well-known items of furnishings. Their cremated stays bear no markers and reside quietly and anonymously inside the Eames household plot.

Harvey Ellis (1852–1904)
St. Agnes Cemetery, Syracuse, New York

An illustrated information to the often-humble ultimate resting locations of well-known architects, from Alvar Aalto to Frank Lloyd Wright.

Ellis was an enigmatic architect and artist who labored for such luminaries as H. H. Richardson, Leroy Buffington, Gustav Stickley, and probably Louis Sullivan. Many consider that some of the works of these giants had been really the creations of Ellis. However, his abuse of alcohol and elusive character prevented him from ever receiving correct credit score for his many sizeable contributions.

Much as he was ignored in life, his gravesite was uncared for for a few years till a gaggle of his admirers organized to have the present marker put in.

Buckminster Fuller (1895–1983)
Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts

An illustrated information to the often-humble ultimate resting locations of well-known architects, from Alvar Aalto to Frank Lloyd Wright.

Fuller is thought for his growth of the geodesic dome and different futuristic ideas that concerned every thing from prefab housing to cars. The United States Postal Service issued a postage stamp in his honor in 2004.

He is buried in his household’s plot with a marker incorporating a geodesic dome and his epitaph, “Call me Trimtab”—a time period Fuller typically used as a metaphor for management and private empowerment. In crusing and aviation, trim tabs are units hooked up to main management surfaces that, regardless of their small dimension, can have a major affect on the general heading of the craft being managed.

John Q. Hejduk (1929–2000)
Oakland Cemetery, Yonkers, New York

An illustrated information to the often-humble ultimate resting locations of well-known architects, from Alvar Aalto to Frank Lloyd Wright.

Hejduk was a visionary architect and educator. He was dean of the structure faculty at Cooper Union in New York for a number of years, the place he assembled a school that produced a quantity of college students who subsequently had distinguished careers.

His drawings and his many theoretical constructions are legendary, however he additionally was a sensible architect as demonstrated by his reconstruction of the Cooper Union Foundation Building and such tasks as the Kreutzberg Tower in Berlin and the Wall House II in Groningen, the Netherlands.

The design of Hejduk’s headstone was tailored from one of his final drawings. The two crosses weren’t meant for a headstone, but they’re applicable, even providential, in that Hejduk’s son, Rafael, died just a few weeks after his father and is buried with him.

Le Corbusier (Charles Eduard Jeanneret) (1887–1965)
Roqubrune, Cap Martin, France

An illustrated information to the often-humble ultimate resting locations of well-known architects, from Alvar Aalto to Frank Lloyd Wright.

Even although he by no means resided in the United States and his work right here was restricted, Le Corbusier had an infinite affect on American structure. He is taken into account one of the pioneers of the trendy motion in structure and his affect on different architects was profound. His solely work in the United States, apart from his being a advisor on the United Nations Secretariat Building in New York, is the Carpenter Center on the Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Regrettably, his idea of tall residential towers constructed atop expansive park-like areas, so superbly executed in his Unite d’habitation in Marsailles, France, grew to become the prototype for a lot of giant, and nearly unlivable, public housing tasks constructed throughout the United States throughout the Fifties and Nineteen Sixties.

He is one of the few architects who really designed his personal grave marker, which he did after the dying of his spouse in 1957. He died eight years later whereas on one of his frequent swims in the Mediterranean.

His marker stands upon a stone pad overlooking the Mediterranean. Next to an urn is a small construction that homes colourful plaques for his spouse and him.

Marion Mahony (Griffin) (1871–1961)
Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois

An illustrated information to the often-humble ultimate resting locations of well-known architects, from Alvar Aalto to Frank Lloyd Wright.

Mahony was one of the first girls to obtain an architectural diploma. Her early work was in the workplace of Frank Lloyd Wright the place, amongst different issues, she delineated many of the drawings for the final publishing of Wright’s work by Wasmuth in Germany. It was at Wright’s workplace that she met one other rising architect, Walter Burley Griffin. They married and moved to Australia when their entry had received the competitors to design that nation’s capital metropolis, Canberra. After a number of years in Australia, the two moved to India, the place Griffin was concerned with a number of tasks. After the dying of Griffin, Mahony returned to the United States and took up residence with a relative in Chicago. She did little architectural work however wrote a prolonged memoir, The Magic of America.

After her dying, her ashes had been buried close to a member of the family’s stays in Graceland Cemetery however with none marker. In 1997, by way of the efforts of a Graceland trustee, John Notz, Mahony’s stays had been moved to a burial spot in the cemetery’s new columbarium. The website is marked by a plaque designed by John Eifler, which includes flowers drawn by Mahony in the sketch she did for Wright for the Hardy House in Racine, Wisconsin.

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959)
Spring Green, Wisconsin; Taliesin, Scottsdale, Arizona

An illustrated information to the often-humble ultimate resting locations of well-known architects, from Alvar Aalto to Frank Lloyd Wright.

Wright had a protracted, productive, and controversial life. Many books havebeen written describing this terribly necessary, multifaceted, artistic, and self-promoting genius. To spotlight his prominence, in 1966 the USPS issued a commemorative stamp in his honor.

When Wright died, his physique was buried in a small churchyard at the base of his dwelling at Taliesin in Wisconsin. There he joined the stays of his mom and of his mistress, Mamah Cheney, and her two kids, who died in a tragic hearth at Taliesin. A pretty monument was constructed that consisted of an artwork glass panel along with his identify and the inscription: “Love of an idea is love of God.” Next to this was a big bolder resting on edge. Embedded stones outlined his burial website and the total ensemble was contained inside a terrific circle of sunken stones.

Wright’s third spouse, Olgivanna, stipulated that after her dying, Wright’s stays be disinterred, cremated, moved to Arizona, and combined along with her ashes. Unbeknownst to native Wisconsin authorities, her needs had been carried out; Wright’s stays had been eliminated, actually in the useless of evening, and despatched to California. There are nonetheless exhausting emotions about the means the stays of one of Wisconsin’s well-known sons had been “stolen.” Thus, the Frank Lloyd Wright Memorial Foundation is unwilling to disclose the place the comingled ashes had been positioned at Taliesin West. A portion of these ashes was reportedly solid upon the Arizona desert as properly.

Wright had progeny with distinguished architectural careers of their very own. His son Lloyd Wright (1890–1978) designed the well-known Wayfayers Chapel in Palos Verdes, California. His son John Lloyd Wright (1892–1972), moreover his architectural work, created Lincoln Logs for kids. Granddaughter Elizabeth Wright Ingraham (1922–2013) additionally designed a number of tasks. The ashes of Lloyd had been scattered at his favourite property excessive in Santa Monica, California overlooking the Pacific. John’s had been scattered in the ocean in entrance of his home in Del Mar, California. Those of his granddaughter had been taken to websites in Colorado and the household cemetery in Spring Green, California.


Henry H. Kuehn, a number one government in the medical business earlier than his retirement, has a longstanding curiosity and involvement in structure, working with the Society of Architectural Historians and the Chicago Architecture Foundation. This article is excerpted from his ebook “Architects’ Gravesites.”