CED Professor Emeritus Richard C. Peters Has Died
In 1958 Peters joined UC Berkeley’s Department of Architecture, brought to CED by then Dean William W. Wurster, who had just helped to establish the first College of Environmental Design in the world. Peters would teach at CED for 35 years and during his tenure served as department Chair as well as directed the graduate thesis studios. After the death of Wurster in 1973, Peters acquired all of Wurster’s professional papers and co-authored The House of William Wurster, Frames for Living with Caitlin Lempres Brostrom (published in 2011 by Princeton Architectural Press.) Peter’s research is preserved in CED’s Environmental Design Archives.
Peters served as a Director of the San Francisco Chapter of the AIA and was President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, ACSA. He was a Partner in the architectural firm Peters, Clayberg and Caulfield, which won national and local AIA awards for their architecture. In addition, Peters was an internationally known lighting consultant who worked with well-known architects such as Charles W. Moore and William Turnbull. Similarly, Peters published articles on light in many professional journals and lectured extensively on light and architecture both in the United States and abroad.
Please join us in mourning Richard Peters as a beloved colleague and friend. Our extended academic community shares our condolences with the family.
If you would like to share photos or remembrances of Richard, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Condolences to the family can be sent to: Reed Peters and Brooks Rumph at 50 Creek Lane, Sonoma CA 95476
It is with a distressing sadness that I read of Professor Emeritus Richard C. Peters' passing. Oddly enough I almost called Dick on my 90th birthday. Now I realize that he died two days after that day. I was invited to teach at Berkeley in 1959 by Dean Bill Wurster. Lou Kahn had recommended me to Bill. One of the first persons I met in the old ARK was Dick Peters. We shared an office with Rory Fonseca and Gus Da Rosa in the basement of that venerable building. Prestini whose tiny office was next door was our elder mentor. Charles Moore and I arrived at Berkeley on the same September day and Charles who had known Dick at Princeton introduced me to him. A year later Don Lyndon also joined us. Dick Peters was the consummate gentleman. He never relinquished his beautiful and gracious manners whether he dealt with professors or new students, princes or paupers.
I remember when he posted some of his students' early experiments with lighting phenomena in the ARK hallway. Stanislawa (Sasha) Nowicki from Penn was there to review my 4th year students' work. She stopped, looked at work that Michael Barker ( I think) had presented for Dick's class and exclaimed "But this is wonderful. This is very good, you know. This is important". It was not long before Dick became eminent in the lighting field. One of my PhD advisees at RPI later quoted Dick's work in his dissertation. When Lou Kahn came to speak I introduced him to Dick who always addressed him, even ten years later not as Lou, but as Mr. Kahn. When I left Berkeley in 1971 to become Dean at Rensselaer, I had just completed a master plan for the GTU and its Library. Lou was chosen to do the actual building but alas he died on March 17 three years later. I was pleased that Dick and Joe Esherick were then chosen by the GTU president John Dillenberger to complete the Library building. Some time later I was at the library for an exhibit of my drawings and a lecture, and I found that Dick and Joe had done a beautiful job of developing from Lou's design to something that was very much their own. Dick was always fun to meet at a party. His wry and whimsical sense of humor was infectious, especially because of the modest, almost impish smile with which it was delivered. One of my earliest memories was of almost colliding with Dick's car as I drove around the back of the old T-Buildings en route to class. I had just completed a long drive from Chicago and had probably not re-adjusted to the campus speed limit. We both stopped, shaken. Dick got out and his shock changed to a broad smile. "Oh it's you, Pat", he said "Welcome back, but please slow down." When, as president of ACSA I had to present the TOPAZ award to Spiro Kostof posthumously, it was Dick who came to receive it on behalf of Spiro, who had become a close friend of his. Dick's comments on Spiro's scholarly brilliance were delivered with a graciousness that enriched the occasion. I visited Dick in his house in Sonoma, a house that he had designed especially for his partner, the late Don Rice, who had had a serious accident falling off a wall at Gerry McCue's garden. The house was beautifully accessible. A year later Dick and I had a wonderful dinner in Ken and Mary Cardwell's house, sharing some funny memories of the many characters who had been our colleagues....Claude Stoller, Prestini, Jesse Reichek, Chris Alexander, Horst Rittel, Vernon deMars, Spiro Kostof, et al. That was my last meeting with him. Of all the people I knew on the Berkeley faculty and there were many....(some of my former students are now professors emeriti and emeritae)... Dick Peters remains among the most enduringly delightful in my memory. I pray he rest in peace. – Patrick J. Quinn, Professor Emeritus, School of Architecture, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute