Eduardo Catalano, one of the giants of modern architecture, died last week at his home in Massachusetts. He was 92.
Catalano was recruited to head the architecture department in the College of Design following the death of acting department head Matthew Nowicki in 1951. Catalano served on the faculty for five years and helped place the small college at the forefront of modern design, working alongside such renowned modernists as George Matsumoto, James Fitzgibbon and Milton Small.
In reflecting about his first days on campus for a college retrospective, Catalano wrote, “The class needed a shock and the creation of a standard from the start. There was the need to set a new mood from the first day.”
By the time he left, to join the faculty at MIT in 1956, Catalano had come to appreciate NC State for its “atmosphere of excellence.”
“No one had the intellectual pretense of people from large cities, only ears to listen and willing hearts and hands to do hard work,” he said.
Catalano is best known for his “Raleigh House,” a hyperbolic paraboloid structure that was named the house of the decade by House and Home magazine in 1956. It was razed in 2001. He also designed the U.S. embassies in Buenos Aires and Pretoria, South Africa, the Guilford County Courthouse in Greensboro and the Juilliard School of Music at Lincoln Center in New York. His steel sculpture, Floralis Generica, was installed at United Nations Square in Buenos Aires in 2002.
In 2004, Catalano gave a donation to NC State to underwrite the construction of an outdoor pavilion on the Court of North Carolina in the style of his Raleigh House, but the project was never implemented.
He received an honorary doctorate from NC State in 2007.