Distinguished Professor of Architecture

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It is with deep regret that the School of Architecture announces that on Thursday, November 12, 1998, Werner Seligmann passed away.

Internment is at the Temple Brith Shalom cemetery in Cortland, NY, on Monday November 16th, at 11:00am.

He served as dean of the school from 1976 to 1992.

He is survived by his wife, Jean, his son Raphael, of Richmond VA, and daughter Sabina, of Boston MA.

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On November 12, 1998, Werner Seligmann died at University Hospital in Syracuse NY. The cause of death was pneumonia incurred as a result of cancer.

He rose from a childhood in the  concentration camps in southern Germany to become one of the most highly regarded educators in architecture in the United States. He was awarded the Topaz Medallion from the AIA and ACSA as the Outstanding Educator in 1998. His practice was based in Cortland NY. His built work consisted of a number of carefully crafted works that remain as outstanding examples of modernism combined with an exuberance of German romanticism.

Perhaps his greatest achievement was as the architect of the renaissance of the School of Architecture at Syracuse University where he served as Dean from 1976  to 1992.

He was tireless worker with a legendary passion for architecture and teaching. Those who have had the opportunity to know him, work with him or study under him, are keenly aware of the enormity of his contribution. Those architects who are teaching or practicing around the world know the many ways he has touched their lives.

As a personal note, I consider myself extraordinarily lucky to have spent 36 years with him, first as a student, then as an employee and later as a colleague and friend. It was not always easy but it was richly rewarding in ways that I can never measure. He will be deeply missed.

Bruce Coleman

From the School of Architecture Profile book:

Over the past 35 years, Werner Seligmann has been engaged in an active professional practice as well as a distinguished career as an educator. He was educated at Cornell University and the Technische Hochsschule in Braunschwieg, Germany. He taught at Cornell university and Harvard University before joining the faculty at Syracuse University in 1976.

He served as dean of the School of Architecture at Syracuse for 14 years and was most recently the Distinguished professor of Architecture. He was named a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome in 1981. In 1986 he was the Eliot Noyes Professor at Harvard; in 1987 the Bishop Professor at Yale; and in 1990-93 he was professor at the ETH in Zurich. In 1994 he was the Thomas Jefferson Visiting Professor at the University of Virginia. Professor Seligmann is the 1998 recipient of the Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education from the ACSA and the AIA, for outstanding contributions to architectural education and for his influence on a broad range of students. In addition, Professor Seligmann has written and lectured extensively on the works of Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier.

Along with teaching, Professor Seligmann continues to run his firm, Werner Seligmann and Associates, Architects and Urban Designers. Launched in 1961, the firm has placed in several national and international competitions, and the work of the firm has been exhibited often in the United States and abroad.

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