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William E. Blurock: 1922-2012

By Therese Bissell
July 11, 2012
William E. Blurock, FAIA, a Newport Beach, California architect whose work from the 1950s through 1970s was considered visionary in the burgeoning field of modern educational design, died on June 12 at the age of 90.

The Blurock Partnership—now tBP/Architecture—is recognized for a spectrum of award-winning commercial, institutional and civic projects, and primarily for school buildings worldwide (Europe, South America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East).  Over his career, Blurock guided the planning and design of buildings on 32 California college campuses and scores of other educational facilities throughout the state.  He pioneered the one-building model for schools: an open plan of classrooms without doors clustered around an interior commons was a Blurock Partnership construct.

Photo courtesy Tom Blurock
William E. Blurock, founder of the Blurock Partnership (now tBP/Architecture).
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A Los Angeles native, Blurock was a 1947 graduate of the University of Southern California School of Architecture.  In 1993, he was honored as the Distinguished Alumnus of the architecture school by then-dean Victor Regnier, AIA, who noted in presenting the award that Blurock’s “warmth, vision and professionalism have inspired a generation of architects."

Elected an AIA Fellow in 1968 for outstanding contributions to the design and science of construction, Blurock served as an AIA national director in the late 1970s.  He was presented the AIAOC (Orange County Chapter) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.  He was appointed by Governor Ronald Reagan to the California State Board of Architectural Examiners, on which he served 13 years.

Thomas Blurock, FAIA, the eldest of Blurock’s three children and managing principal of educational architecture for IBI Group in Los Angeles, comments on the collaborative aspect of his father’s practice:  “If I were to summarize his career, I would say his talent was in assembling really good teams.  His office was one of the happening firms in educational design in the 60s and 70s largely because he was such a gifted team builder.  Working there in that era was working with the best thinking in educational design.” 

Bill Blurock, a sailor, powerboater and lifelong outdoorsman, flew 62 missions as a P-38 pilot over Europe and North Africa during World War II (he remained in Italy for a period after the war, completing studies at the University of Florence School of Architecture).  He was an active member of the 82nd Fighter Group Association up to the time of his death, and a public memorial on July 16 in Newport Beach will include a P-38 flyover in his honor.

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