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Kurt Werner Meyer

Kurt Werner Meyer Obituary
June 3, 1922 - August 18, 2014 Architect, Urban Planner, Himalayan Explorer, Civic Leader Kurt died peacefully at home surrounded by his family on August 18. He was 92. Born in Zurich, Switzerland, Kurt graduated from the Swiss Institute of Technology after WWII, and came to Los Angeles with his Swiss wife Rosemary in 1949. After three children, they later divorced. He opened his architectural practice, Kurt Meyer and Associates, in 1957. He married Pamela Deuel in 1996. His signature buildings include the San Bernardino County Government Center, the University of Redlands Campus Center, the Huntington Beach Civic Center, the South Coast Air Quality Control District Headquarters in Diamond Bar, and the Plaza de la Raza in Los Angeles. His early career was launched with his buildings for savings and loan bankers Mark Taper and Bart Lytton. His Liberty Savings & Loan building was awarded the AIA/Southern California Chapter Grand Prix Award in 1967. He attempted to preserve Irving Gill's Dodge House, whose demolition later contributed to the formation of the Los Angeles Conservancy. Committed to his community, Kurt was chairman of the board of the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency under Tom Bradley in the 1970s. Under Kurt's helm, the CRA was charged with revitalizing downtown Los Angeles, and he was instrumental in setting the Agency's goal of developing a livable downtown that balanced commercial development with civic and residential projects affordable to all income groups. He marshaled a public/private/community coalition to save the Central Library, actively contributed to the development of the Japanese Village Plaza and successfully lobbied corporate interests to support the CRA's development of Angelus Plaza on prime Bunker Hill property, which to this day is the largest senior affordable housing community in the US. At the time of his retirement in 1992, Kurt was chairman of the board of the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). He was a Fellow Emeritus of the American Institute of Architects. Kurt's passion for the Himalayan region was ignited as a teen, and, beginning in the 1970s, he made many trips to the Himalayas and the Silk Road. In 1992 he sold his firm, Meyer & Allen Associates, and moved to Kathmandu, Nepal for nearly 10 years. For many winters, with his wife and collaborator Pamela, he explored the culture of the little-known tribes of Nepal's lowlands, producing several books and a documentary film about the local culture. His Himalayan photography was exhibited at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena and at the Indigo Gallery in Kathmandu. In 2005 he published In the Shadow of the Himalayas: Tibet-Bhutan-Nepal-Sikkim (1883-1908), a collection of rare 19th century photographs. He was a Fellow of The Explorers Club. Kurt is survived by his wife Pamela, his daughter Susanne (David) Christopher, his son Randy (Michelle) Meyer, his son Rick (Lori) Meyer, grandchildren Megan (Mike) Thyken, Briana and Brandon Meyer, and great-grandchildren Dakota and Brooklyn, and many relatives in Switzerland. Kurt was a wise and encouraging mentor, and will be remembered for his unique and independent intellect, his generosity of spirit, and his enthusiastic spirit of adventure.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 24, 2014
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