A teacher of unusual warmth and grace, he had headed two architectural schools, at the University of California at Berkeley and Yale, and had taught for years at the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Texas.In 1991 he won the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects, its highest honor.
He did not work as most other Gold Medal winners -- indeed, as most other architects -- do, surrounded by a phalanx of secretaries and draftsmen.
He drifted from office to office as he moved his academic base.
Or the Beverly Hills Civic Center, a gentle, knowing play on the Spanish Colonial architecture of Southern California, made urbane?
Or the museums at Dartmouth and Williams Colleges, where new, rhythmic forms of brick and stone and glass danced subtly between older buildings?
Instead, single-handed, it is engaged in replacing many of those elements of the public realm which have vanished in the featureless private floating world of Southern California, whose only edge is the ocean and whose center is otherwise undiscoverable.
Curiously, for a public place, Disneyland is not free. But then, Versailles cost somebody a lot of money, too.
In each city he set up a small practice, often staffed by students, and most of these offices continued long after he had moved on.
He was the founding guru, and he left behind a whole network of small ones.
It's not for nothing that Moore was the first architect to look seriously at Disneyland; I still recall the words of his remarkable essay of 1965 in the Yale journal Perspecta 9/10, entitled "You Have to Pay for the Public Life." Within that wonderful title was an essential point that no one else was seeing in 1965: there is a certain kind of public, communal, urban life that once took place in the streets and squares of great cities and small towns and villages but now exists only in private places -- places like Disneyland."BY ALMOST ANY conceivable method of evaluation," Moore wrote, "Disneyland must be regarded as the most important single piece of construction in the West in the past several decades.
The assumption inevitably made by people who have not yet been there -- that it is some sort of physical extension of Mickey Mouse -- is wildly inaccurate.