Antoine Predock, internationally renowned architect and motorcycle aficionado, dies at 87

Mar 5, 2024, 7:00 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Known for his ability to tap into the spirit of any landscape and weave its characteristics into his designs, internationally renowned architect and avid motorcyclist Antoine Predock is being remembered for his rare brand of creativity. He died Saturday at his home in Albuquerque, according to longtime friends and colleagues. He was 87.

Over six decades, Predock created buildings around the world — from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and the College of Media and Communication in Qatar to public spaces that included the Padres baseball stadium in San Diego, the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix and Austin’s City Hall.

His projects would start with sketches and collages, a method that friends and colleagues say has helped to inspire younger generations of architects as they learn how to incorporate buildings into communities and create spaces that make visitors feel as though they are on a journey.

That was Predock’s motivation — for people to be moved when they walked into his buildings.

He said during a 2018 interview with The Associated Press that his designs were choreographic. He said some of his inspiration for the choreography came from the sensations he would get while riding any of his many motorcycles — some of which were on display in his studio.

“It’s not like you have to follow a certain path. It’s open-ended options and you can choose your own routes through it,” he said of one design. “I don’t like one-liner buildings where you kind of walk in and you get it all in one shot. It should be more of an accumulation of events and experiences and perceptions.”

Appreciation and condolences were shared on Predock’s social media pages not long after he died following a slowly progressing illness. He was known for sharing his sketches, along with photographs of his home’s vantage point overlooking the Rio Grande valley and memories of his motorcycle adventures.

Robert Gonzalez, dean of the University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning, met Predock while attending the University of Texas in Austin. While visiting the university, Predock challenged Gonzalez and his classmates to always think about the place they were designing for and the bigger picture, not just the facade of a building.

“That’s been, I think, one of the marks that he left,” Gonzalez said Tuesday. “He wanted to really unify all that he did with place and in a much more spiritual and meaningful way.”

Predock’s portfolio includes residences, hotels, offices, entertainment centers and educational and research facilities around the world. He received the American Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal in 2006 as well as the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Lifetime Achievement Award.

In nominating Predock for the American Institute of Architects’ award, then-committee chairman Thomas S. Howorth said: “Arguably, more than any American architect of any time, Antoine Predock has asserted a personal and place-inspired vision of architecture with such passion and conviction that his buildings have been universally embraced.”

Howorth described Predock’s buildings as “fearlessly expressive and sincere, simultaneously complex and guileless.”

One of Predock’s proudest accomplishments was the human rights museum, which was later featured on Canada’s $10 bill — opposite of Viola Desmond, a civil rights activist in that country.

Predock had a photocopy of the bill in his pocket — always ready to unfold it and strike up a conversation about the importance of Desmond and the museum project.

Born on June 24, 1936, in Lebanon, Missouri, Predock studied engineering at the University of Missouri and then transferred to the University of New Mexico. He later graduated from Columbia University with a bachelor’s degree in architecture. In 2017, Predock donated his studio and archives to the University of New Mexico, where he was a professor for decades.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, who on June 24, 2021, declared Antoine Predock Day, said Monday that Predock’s work elevated the city.

“He leaves a monumental and personal stamp on our city and around the world,” Keller said. “We are forever thankful for him, and he will be deeply missed.”

A post on Predock’s Instagram page said a memorial service would take place in Albuquerque on June 24.

One of Predock’s final projects involved a rail trail in which he envisioned a series of stations that tell the story of the city and celebrate its inhabitants throughout a 7-mile pedestrian parkway loop. He also designed local works like the La Luz community on the city’s west side and the UNM School of Architecture.

The school has created the Predock Center to permanently house the architect’s collections. Gonzalez said it will be one way in which Predock’s legacy will live on and others can learn from him. He noted that one wall at the center lists the names of the more than 300 people who once worked at the studio with Predock, including many who went on to be accomplished architects and professors.

Gonzalez said students who visit the center will be able to see all the steps in Predock’s process.

“In that space you feel all of that, you feel all of these catalyzing moments along the way,” he said. “And that’s a gift he left us. You can’t teach that in a classroom. You have to experience it.”


Associated Press writer Lisa Baumann in Bellingham, Washington, contributed to this report.

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Antoine Predock, internationally renowned architect and motorcycle aficionado, dies at 87