It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of a beloved and influential alumni – William “Bill” Menking (B.A. L&S ‘73), who passed away on Saturday, April 11, 2020 at the age of 72, after a long battle with cancer.
In partnership with his wife Diana Darling, Menking founded the nation’s only architectural newspaper, titled simply “The Architect’s Newspaper” in 2003. Influenced by the radical architecture movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s, Menking wrote many editorials for the newspaper, espousing his belief in architecture as a tool of social change.
Menking also curated many highly influential exhibits, including The Vienna Model: Housing for the Twenty-First Century City and Superstudio: Life Without Objects, the latter of which became an important book on the Italian collective. He was also the author of Four Conversations on the Architecture of Discourse (2012) and Architecture on Display: On The History of the Venice Biennale of Architecture (2010); both were co-edited with Aaron Levy and published by Architectural Association in London.
Growing up in Stockton, in California’s Central Valley, Menking became a life-long advocate of social justice, carrying his youthful support for groups such as Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta’s United Farm Workers into his professional life. As commissioner of the U.S. Pavilion at the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale, he organized a show on the cultural, geopolitical, and architectural implications of mass migration, the first exhibit of its kind.
Menking studied at Berkeley during the tumultuous late 1960’s and was influenced by the leaders of radical movements such as Archizoom Associati, Superstudio, and Gruppo UFO, whom he met while studying abroad in Italy. While tutoring at Bartlett School of Architecture in London in the 1990’s, Bill wrote for British publications The Architects’ Journal and Building Design, which gave him the idea for The Architect’s Newspaper, which he and Darling started in their TriBeCa loft.
Menking taught architecture at Pratt Institute for nearly 30 years, where he will be remembered as an influential and generous instructor and faculty member. CED alumna Karen Kubey (B.A. Architecture ’02) remembers him as “a great friend and mentor who loved Berkeley! I am grateful for our friendship and will miss him. When we were last in touch a month ago, I thanked him for all his support over the years. He signed off, like always, Go Bears!”