James N. Kise II, 75, a noted Philadelphia-based architect and urban planner, died Dec. 26 in Freeport, Maine, of a heart ailment. A principal and co-founder of Kise, Straw & Kolodner, he oversaw local projects that won national acclaim and overseas developments such as Guayana City, Venezuela, and Egypt's 241-sq-mi Sadat City.
Kise oversaw several projects in historic Phiadelphia, including the 3.5-mile-long Avenue of the Arts in the city center district combining old and new cultural institutions and entertainment attractions.
The American Planning Association named the eight-block stretch one of America’s great streets in 2008 for its “historical character, focus on the arts and social vibrancy.”
Kise additionally transformed the former Ridgway Library into the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts, resulting in a National Preservation Trust Award in 1998. Other projects include relocating the Liberty Bell from its longtime home in Independence Hall to a nearby glass pavilion on Independence Mall in 1976.
A former instructor at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Urban Design Center of Urban America, Kise also helped found the National Urban Coalition. He was named an American Institute of Architects Fellow in 2010.
Kenith H. Miller, 86, a Georgia-based federal civil engineer who championed dam safety reform after the fatal collapse of an earthen structure in 1977, died on Dec. 22 from complications of pancreatic cancer.
While working for a predecessor of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Miller helped write safety legislation enacted in Georgia after the 39-ft-high, 394-ft-long Kelly Barnes Dam suddenly burst outside Toccoa, Ga., following heavy rains.
The collapse of the privately-owned dam, built in 1940, caused 39 deaths and $2.8 million in damage.
The structure's slope angle may have contributed to its failure. ENR speculated in a Nov. 10, 1977 article whether the dam had been engineered.
Miller earned recognition from state legislators for his efforts in pushing for new dam safety laws in Georgia and nationally, and became a lifetime member of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1991.