American Architect Michael McKinnell Dies from Coronavirus Complications


Michael McKinnell, a British-born American architect, known for his work on the acclaimed Boston’s Brutalist City Hall, and co-founder of the Kallmann McKinnell & Wood architectural design firm, has passed away on March 27, 2020, at the age of 84, from COVID-19-induced pneumonia.

Michael McKinnell graduated from the University of Manchester in 1958 and received a master’s in architecture from Columbia University in 1960. In 1962, the fresh grad along with his professor Gerhard Kallmann won the international contest to design the Boston City Hall. Shortly after, they moved to Boston and established Kallmann McKinnell & Knowles. The brutalist building that celebrated its 50 years last year, became an icon of the city.

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Boston City Hall. Image Courtesy of Utile and Reed Hilderbrand

Boston City Hall. Image Courtesy of Utile and Reed Hilderbrand

Shaping his reputation as an architect and an academic, McKinnell rethought and redesigned the city. His projects include a lot of public and institutional buildings. With his firm, he has designed the Boston’s Hynes Convention Center, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences headquarters in Cambridge, and the Independence Visitor Center in Philadelphia. His interventions also comprise buildings at Ivy League campuses including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Emory. In 1984, Kallmann McKinnell & Wood received the firm of the Year award from the American Institute of Architects, after completing iconic ventures like the Becton, Dickinson and Company headquarters in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, and Washington University’s School of Business and Public Administration.

Boston City Hall. Image Courtesy of City of Boston - Flickr - CC BY 2.0

Boston City Hall. Image Courtesy of City of Boston – Flickr – CC BY 2.0

On an academic level, McKinnell was a lecturer at several institutions. In fact, he served on the faculty of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design for 25 years and as the Professor of the Practice of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Moreover, he was also an AIA, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Royal Institute of British Architects fellow. In 1994, he was recognized by the Boston Society of Architects with an Award of Honor, and in 2005, he was appointed to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts where he served until 2011.

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Boston City Hall. Image Courtesy of Daniel Schwen - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Boston City Hall. Image Courtesy of Daniel Schwen – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

We invite you to check out ArchDaily’s coverage related to COVID-19, read our tips and articles on Productivity When Working from Home and learn about technical recommendations for Healthy Design in your future projects. Also, remember to review the latest advice and information on COVID-19 from the World Health Organization (WHO) website.

World Architecture Festival Still Planned for December and Gives Additional Time to Submit your Entries

World Architecture Festival and World Festival of Interiors: Inside is scheduled for 2 – 4 December, in Lisbon.  Preparations for the event are going ahead in the typical way and architects from across the globe are continuing to submit their online awards entries.

WAF’s event organizers are fully aware that the current situation may be causing disruption to practices across the globe and have therefore amended their awards entries deadlines to the below:

Early-bird entry deadline (saving £75): 4 MAY
Final entry deadline: 14 AUGUST 

“We hope that you and your practice are coping as well as possible in current circumstances and offer our best wishes for a return to calmer times”. Read more from WAF’s Programme Director, Paul Finch.

World Architecture Festival is the only architecture awards where all shortlisted practices present their projects live, in front of festival delegates and the judging panels at the festival in Lisbon.

In addition to individual category winners, international judging panels will choose the best building of the year, the best future project, the best completed landscape and the best interior project.

This year the judging panel will consist of more than 145 judges representing 48+ countries and will be joined by some of the world leading experts. Previous judges at WAF include; Louisa Hutton, David Chipperfield, Li Xiaodong, Manuelle Gautrand and James Timberlake.

The WAF and INSIDE awards are now open for entries in 44 categories across completed buildings, future projects, landscape and interiors.

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