1917 - 2016
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ZALEWSKI, Professor Waclaw Piotr Of Belmont, MA, died peacefully on Dec. 29, 2016 after a short illness, at the age of 99. Professor Zalewski was recognized as one of the most innovative and influential structural designers practicing today. During a sixty-year career, he has developed elegant solutions to the problems of structural stability, conservation and construction efficiency, including pioneering concrete floor and roof systems and structural forms for high-rise construction. Zalewski is the original creator of numerous innovative buildings in several countries, including an ingenious folding pavilion in Seville, a building for the Seoul Olympics, the famous Supersam, and the elegant Spodek in Poland. He was the de facto inventor of the geodesic dome, which was originally credited to Buckminster Fuller. Born Aug. 25, 1917 to a Polish family in Ukraine, Zalewski showed his gift in Math at a young age. He began his studies of structural engineering at the Warsaw University of Technology in 1935, and was interrupted by WW II. He joined the Polish Home Underground Army. After the war, he earned his bachelor and PhD degrees from the same institution. Zalewski worked for the Study and Design of Industrial Building Types in Warsaw until 1962, leaving a lasting legacy in Poland. From 1962 to 1966, he worked in Venezuela and built numerous unique and innovative structures. Following an extraordinary twenty-year career in Poland and in Venezuela, Zalewski was invited to join the faculty of MIT, where he taught as a full professor from 1966 until his retirement in 1988. He coauthored two books "Shaping Structures" and "Form and Forces" with his writing partner and close friend Edward Allen. Zalewski is the recipient of numerous awards. In 1998, he was awarded the honorary Doctor degree from Warsaw University of Technology honoring his distinguished contributions to Poland and to the structure design field. In 2006, MIT featured a personal exhibit of his many innovative projects. In 2015, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Warsaw University of Technology. He was named one of the six best Polish construction engineers of all time by the Polish Institute of Construction Engineers and Technicians. Another recipient is General Tadeusz Kosciuszko, an American Revolutionary War Hero. Zalewski leaves behind two sons Marek and Wojciech, and their wives Anna and Sherry, and four grandchildren Monika, Melina, Lynnea and Weston. He always loved to read and learn with a particular interest in History and Geography. A celebration of his life and achievements will be held at 2 pm on January 7, 2017 at 5 Sycamore Street, Belmont, Massachusetts. On line guestbook at:

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Published in Boston Globe from Jan. 2 to Jan. 4, 2017.
Celebration of Life
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January 4, 2017
Professor Waclaw Zalewski
Marek Zalewski
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