Many of those structures are the among the tallest in their respective city or country, but Pelli preferred to judge his own work in more abstract terms: the emotional responses they generated, the clarity and economy of their designs, and their contribution to their cities as visual symbols, as spaces rather than objects.
Pelli was born in the provincial city of San Miguel de Tucumán in north-west Argentina. He studied architecture at the National University of Tucumán and married his fellow student, Diana Balmori, in 1950. Having won a scholarship to study at the University of Illinois, Pelli and his wife went to the US in the early 1950s and liked it so much they decided to stay.
He was dean of the Yale School of Architecture between 1977 and 1984 and designed other buildings for the campus.
In 1977 he also established his practice (now Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects) in Yale’s home city, New Haven, Connecticut, having won the commission to expand the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and build a 56-storey residential tower on top of it.
Although his work was wide-ranging — he designed the United States Embassy in Tokyo, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami and the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar, among other projects — Mr. Pelli was particularly known for his skyscrapers. His Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004. Other Pelli towers, if not record holders, commanded the skylines of cities around the world. He designed the One Canada Square tower at Canary Wharf in London; the Carnegie Hall Tower in New York; the Salesforce Tower, now the tallest building in San Francisco; the International Finance Centre in Hong Kong; the Wells Fargo tower in Minneapolis; the UniCredit Tower in Milan; the Torre Banco Macro in Buenos Aires; and the Goldman Sachs tower in Jersey City, among many others.
Petronas Towers, completed in 1998, brought Pelli an even higher level of global recognition. The commission originally called for a single tall tower and a shorter one beside it; Pelli correctly assessed that it would make more of an impact to build twin towers of equal height – ultimately 88 storeys – linked by a sky bridge halfway up. Pelli based the floorplan of the towers on the Rub el Hizb – an eight-pointed Islamic symbol of overlapping squares. For the first time since 1908, the world’s tallest building (452 metres, or 1,483 ft) was no longer in the US.
He won hundreds of architecture awards, including the 1995 gold medal of the American Institute of Architects, its highest honor.
According to nytimes.com and theguardian.com