DAVID K. SPECTER

Obituary
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SPECTER--David Kenneth. David Kenneth Specter, AIA, Architect, 82, of New York City and Sherman, CT, died on August 13, 2013 of congestive heart failure after a short illness, surrounded by his family and according to his specific instructions. He is survived by his beloved wife of 46 years, Patricia Brown, his adored sons, Prof. Matthew Goodrich Specter of New Haven (Marjan Mashhadi), and Evan Ross Specter of Berkeley (Amy) and his grandchildren, Leila Beatrix, Luka Kenneth, and Katherine Patrice. He leaves also his sister, Elinore Tilles (Bud Tilles dec), his nephews Peter Tilles (Leslie) of Princeton, NJ and Daniel Tilles (Ellen) of London, and their children, Amanda, Olivia, and Ella, and a niece, Wendy Tilles (deceased). Brooklyn-born, David attended Brooklyn Tech., Harvard College '52 (Phi Beta Kappa) and The Harvard Graduate School of Design '56. He was awarded Harvard's coveted Sheldon Traveling Fellowship in 1952-3 which formed the basis for his subsequent noted book, "Urban Spaces", a photographically illustrated exploration of spatial phenomena as they relate to urban design. He won the Arnold Brunner Scholarship from the Architectural League of New York. He served two years in the U.S. Army in Munich and worked in Europe. He founded the firm of David Kenneth Specter, AIA, Architects in 1963, presently Specter DeSouza Architects, PC. A classic modernist architect, he was most influenced by the work of Alvar Aalto and was concerned with the issues of urban context and appropriateness. He was best known for the Galleria (1974), one of the first mixed-use buildings in NY (its iconic penthouse was designed for Stewart Mott) and the first USTA National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows (1978), but his favorite projects were private homes. His clients became close friends. He was a gentle gentleman. Adventurous, creative, curious, calm. He was an avid skier, a passionate photographer, a lover of all music (clarinetist in the Harvard Band), and a crack tennis player though he admitted that designing the National Tennis Center did not improve his game. At the time of his passing, he was a member of the Century Association and on the Board of Directors of The New York Landmarks Conservancy and the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass. He served for 21 years on the Board of the 92nd Street Y. His father was Louis S. Specter, a Brooklyn cardiologist, who worked his way through Columbia playing the piano at the Lower East Side Settlement House, later the Sarnoff Building, for which David later redesigned the facade. His mother, Ina Rous Specter, was an illustrator for Claire McCardell and a prolific painter. His maternal grandfather, Bernard H. Rous, an engineer, held patents in 1915 for machinery to manufacture corrugated boxes and founded the Grand City Box Company in the 1920's, a leader in the industry. Contributions may be sent in his name to The Harvard Graduate School of Design or The New York Landmarks Conservancy. Funeral services private. A memorial will be announced in the Fall.

Published in The New York Times on Aug. 15, 2013
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