Architect Leonard Parker dies at age 90

Leonard Parker, known for his work designing the Humphrey School and the Mondale Law school at the University of Minnesota, the Minneapolis Convention Center and the original Minnesota Public Radio building died Sunday at age 90.

Parker whose parents were travelling across Poland in a wagon when he was born, moved to Milwaukee as a boy. After a stint in the army in World War II, during which he took part in the liberation of the Dachau death camp, he returned to the US and ended up going to School at the University of Minnesota architecture school.

After getting a masters in architecture at MIT he joined modernist Eero Saarinen’s firm, and worked on two of his significant US projects, the St Louis Gateway Arch and Christ Church Lutheran in Minneapolis. Following Saarinen’s death he formed The Leonard Parker Associates in 1958.

The list of his projects is significant: Minnesota Public Radio (1979), the Mondale Law School at the University of Minnesota (with one of the earliest green roofs in Minnesota 1978), the Humphrey Center (1988), the Minneapolis Convention Center (1989 & 2002), an addition to the Minneapolis Institute of Art with Kenzo Tange (1974), the Minnesota Judicial Center (1998), the Totino Fine Arts Northwestern College (1974), the South Korea Embassy in Ottawa (1996), and the US Embassy in Santiago Chile (1994).

Parker also taught at the University of Minnesota for many years, and many of his students have gone on to have significant careers themselves.

Services for Leonard Parker will be held at Temple Israel in Minneapolis on Wednesday afternoon.

You can listen to Marianne Comb’s 2005 interview with Leonard Parker in the second part of a Voices of Minnesota program posted here.