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Houston Architect Bill Kendall, 70, Was a Favored Design Partner

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William D. Kendall, a Houston architect whose soft-spoken passion for quality, discipline and service made his firm sought after as associate architects and architects-of-record by such design luminaries as Cesar Pelli, Norman Foster, Ricardo Bofill and Rem Koolhaas, died Feb. 25 in that city.

Kendall, 70, who was serving as president of Kendall/Heaton Associates Inc. (KHA), at the time of his death, died of complications from melanoma, says the firm.

Kendall co-founded the now 55-employee firm in 1978 with mentor and colleague James E. Heaton, who died in 1993. Kendall had previously been a partner at S.I. Morris Associates in Houston.

Kendall "was humble, but keen and spirited, making him a great match for star architects," says Graham S. Wyatt, a partner with Robert A.M. Stern Architects. "Bill was a total team player dedicated to perfection."

Developer Gerald Hines says that Kendall, with whom he built nearly 70 projects, "had a great eye for design and detail."

Privately-owned KHA is perhaps best known for corporate skyscrapers such as San Francisco’s 420-foot-tall JP Morgan Chase Building (2002), the 30-story Wachovia Tower in Winston-Salem, N.C. (1996) and Houston's 780-ft-tall Bank of America Center (1983), as well as for institutional facilities that included Fort Worth’s Modern Art Museum (2002) and Oakland’s Cathedral of Christ the Light (2008).

The firm was chosen in 1988 as associate architect for a $16-million concert hall at Rice University in Houston, the first major U.S. project for its designer, Spanish architect Bofill (ENR 2/25/88, p. 13).

"I admired and respected Bill Kendall," adds Pelli. "It was a pleasure to collaborate with him and his  firm. He shall be much missed."

Fred W. Clarke, co-founder and principal of New Haven. Conn.-based Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, notes that Kendall "virtually invented a way for us to do our work that has become so commonplace as to be almost taken for granted: design through collaboration between architects. He brought his talent, knowledge and leadership to perfect this method of working and has made it perhaps the most intelligent and successful way to do large, complex projects."

Kendall became an American Institute of Architects Fellow in 1995 and was a board member of the group's Houston chapter.

The architecture, interiors and planning firm, which reported $10.4 million in 2012 revenue, has not yet named a successor as president or announced any restructuring, says Principal Laurence C. Burns Jr.


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