In Memoriam: Gerard “Roddy” Creedon (Nov. 9, 1959-Dec. 5, 2021)
It is with the greatest and most profound sadness that I write to inform our community of the passing of Gerard (Roddy) Creedon. Roddy passed away on Sunday, December 5th, 2021. He was at home, surrounded by family and loved ones.
It is safe to assume that Roddy touched almost all our lives, and we are the better for it. A large presence since his arrival as Lecturer, then Continuing Lecturer in the Department of Architecture in 1993, Roddy made significant impacts to the curriculum, collegiality, and life of the school. A gifted and dedicated teacher, he helped hundreds of students become good designers through rigorous exploration of architectural concepts and constraints. Roddy taught throughout the studio curriculum where his intellect and architectural knowledge were always evident -- design criticism delivered with brilliant insight and wry humor. This was no truer than in his signature class ARCH 100B which he led for over a decade. His importance in building the undergraduate fundamental design studio curriculum cannot be overstated; it is through his leadership that we have the structured content and excellent design sequencing we have today.
Roddy was beloved by faculty, past and present, and I feel honored to have called him my close friend. Upon his retirement from Berkeley on October 31, 2021, he had served the college for nearly thirty years. As a colleague, Roddy led by example and took the long view. He was generous, considerate, and communicated his ideas with wit and conviction. His gruff exterior masked a kind, caring nature. He believed in the institution and used his position as studio coordinator to nurture and support both students and excellent young teachers. Roddy’s success and popularity can be measured by continued mentorship of his former students. They continued to stay in touch, and he remained committed to fostering their development as architects throughout their careers.
In 1989, Roddy founded the architectural practice Allied Architecture + Design in San Francisco, California. It continued successfully until his death under his leadership and with his right hand, Huan Pham. Allied’s work concentrated on hospitality design with award-winning projects throughout the country and the Bay Area. These included projects for SFO, Nordstrom, Peet’s Coffee, and Gordon Biersch, and signature restaurants throughout California. The design work combines humanistic principles with architectural concepts, materiality with abstract design. He states on the work of Allied: “There are three distinct, but related bodies of work that are woven through(out). Each lay claim to a particular set of architectural passions, practices, and methodologies. This collective range of interests provides a rich terrain for exploring architecture from its most abstract to its most tactile, from the realm of ideas to the world of material poetics. I believe that all our projects draw strength from the intersection of these varied interests, and their conjunction allows for design to emerge in a way that is unique to each project, but with a shared sense of fullness and vigor.”
While committed to Allied Architecture + Design, Roddy’s gift was in overlapping practice with academia. In his words: “I believe in the possibility of an intensely beneficial reciprocity between the worlds of learning and practice, worlds often positioned at odds with each other to the detriment of both. I know I am better at both for my commitment to each, and I believe it is in straddling these worlds that thought can best inform action.” There are no better words to communicate his pedagogical beliefs and values throughout his time at Berkeley.
Roddy was born on November 9th, 1959, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Gerard Thomas and Myra Creedon. Named after his father, he quickly became known as “Rod” and “Roddy” in a tightknit family that affectionately used nicknames for almost all its members. One of six, he remained close to all his siblings and their families throughout his lifetime despite being the only Creedon to travel to the west coast after graduate school. He attended Exeter Academy on academic scholarship, received his B.Arch from Tulane University, and Master of Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he graduated in 1984. He is survived by his longtime partner, Jin, and his family –Ellen and Mark Sheppard, Bartholomew Creedon and Beth Matthews, Linda and Bill Baldy, Doug and Beth Creedon, Melissa Creedon, and nieces and nephews William, Matthew, Chelsea, Evan, Liam, Owen, Michael, Patrick, Kevin, Danny Erin, Christopher, Conlan and Claire.
Befitting his generous spirit and commitment to teaching at Berkeley, one of Roddy’s last acts was the creation of The Gerard Creedon Fund to support the establishment of Creedon Design Fellows in the Department of Architecture. The aspirations of the Fellowship are to bring exceptional early career teachers and provide them an opportunity to develop connections between their design and academic interests. We are enormously grateful for this incredible gift and the transformational ability it presents for the Department of Architecture, and honored the fellowship will allow Roddy’s legacy to continue and expand into the future.
Please consider supporting the Gerard Creedon Fund in honor of Roddy. The Creedon family and the Department of Architecture at Berkeley welcome your contributions. To make a gift to the endowment, please call UC Berkeley’s Gift Services team at 510.643.9789 and direct your gift to the Gerard Creedon Fund. If you prefer to send a check, please include a memo that the gift is to support the Gerard Creedon Fund. Checks are made payable to UC Berkeley Foundation and can be mailed to:
University of California, Berkeley
1995 University Avenue, Suite 400
Berkeley, CA 94704-1070
You can also make a gift online to a supplemental fund in the Department of Architecture under Roddy’s name. Please click here. Please ensure you check the box for “this gift is in honor or memory of someone” and include Roddy Creedon’s name.
We share with you all our gratitude to Roddy for his commitment to students, to teaching, to his friends and colleagues, and to the school.
Chair, Department of Architecture