Klarman, Physical Sciences architect Fred Koetter dies

Media Contact

Joe Schwartz

Architect and educator Alfred (Fred) H. Koetter Jr., M.Arch. ’66, whose projects included two Cornell campus buildings, died Aug. 21 in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was 79.

He was a founding principal partner in the Boston architectural firm Koetter, Kim and Associates, established in 1978 with his wife, Susie Sung-Hea Kim ’71, B.Arch. ’72. Their firm designed Klarman Hall, which opened in 2016, and the Physical Sciences Building, completed in 2010.

Koetter entered Cornell in 1964 and taught in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning until 1976, when he took a position at Yale University. He taught at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design from 1978 to 1992 and served as dean of the Yale School of Architecture from 1993 to 1998.

His books included the influential “Collage City” (1978). Co-authored with the late professor of architecture Colin Rowe, it is a critical reappraisal of urban design and modernist architecture.

“Fred was one of a very rare breed: exquisite as both a designer and a theorist,” said associate professor of architecture Val Warke ’76, B.Arch. ’77. “He understood theory as one of the motivating forces of design. And he understood design as the primary raw material for theory. He approached both with humor.”

Born April 12, 1938, in Montana, Koetter earned his bachelor’s in architecture in 1963 from the University of Oregon, which honored him with its Ellis F. Lawrence Medal for distinguished alumni in 2010.

Koetter, Kim and Associates has built a diverse and award-winning international urban design and architectural practice, including campus planning, urban planning and landscape design. It operated a London office from 1988 to 1995 and designed a master plan and several buildings for London’s Canary Wharf.

Survivors include his wife and four children, including Alfred Koetter ’07.


Story Contacts