In Memory: Gordon Lee Wildermuth, Former SOM Partner

Image © SOM

Retired SOM Partner Gordon Lee Wildermuth, FAIA, passed away on Feburary 8, 2020, at the age of 82. During his career as a managing partner at SOM, Wildermuth produced a body of work that has received worldwide recognition for its exceptional quality and cultural impact.

Gordon Wildermuth was born in Lima, Ohio, on November 13, 1937. After graduating from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Science degree in architecture, Wildermuth began his career with SOM in 1963 in New York. His extensive experience in the management of a variety of planning, architectural, and engineering work in the United States and abroad led to his promotion to partner in 1973. Wildermuth went on to join the Chicago office, which he led for four years. In 1985 he moved to London to open the SOM office in support of the Canary Wharf and Broadgate projects, followed by a move to Hong Kong to establish the firm's presence in Asia.

Shortly after becoming partner, Wildermuth successfully positioned SOM to become the architect and engineer for the King Abdul Aziz International Airport Terminal in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Along with Gordon Bunshaft and Fazlur Kahn, Wildermuth led an interdisciplinary team that created an iconic terminal that would receive pilgrims en route to Mecca and provide them with interim lodging and amenity services as they awaited ground transportation to the holy sites. The naturally-ventilated structure implemented passive design solutions that represent a pioneering achievement in sustainable design. The Hajj Terminal received the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture and the AIA Twenty-Five Year Award. Other noteworthy projects included the National Commercial Bank, also in Jeddah, the Irving Trust Operation Center and the renovation of 270 Park Avenue for Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company, both in New York City, and the Canary Wharf Financial Center in London.

Wildermuth's concern for cultural relevance and urban context was evident in his work, and his passion and leadership enabled his colleagues to broaden their horizons and do outstanding work. His work reinforced SOM’s reputation as a preeminent global planning, architectural, and engineering practice.

We extend our condolences and deepest sympathies to the Wildermuth family.