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Der Scutt, Designer of NYC Skyscrapers, Dies

March 31, 2010

By Tim McKeough

Der Scutt, FAIA, a New York architect who left his mark on Manhattan’s skyline, died at home from liver failure on March 14. He was 75.

Scutt designed numerous notable New York skyscrapers, including Trump Tower (1983), a bronze and glass 58-story building at 721 Fifth Avenue; 100 United Nations Plaza (1986), a 52-story residential tower with sawtooth balconies and a pointed top; and The Corinthian (1988), a 55-story tubular apartment building at 645 First Avenue that gave every living room a semicircular bay window.

1)	Banco de Occidente
Photo courtesy Der Scutt Architect

100 United Nations Plaza (1986)
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Scutt’s son, Hagen Scutt, AIA, says his father was a “developer’s architect” who sought to design profitable buildings that would also be appreciated by the public. “He was really trying to create for the public, even though a lot of his clients were private, because the scale of his buildings had a public presence,” he says. “He was tremendously pleased to see people stop and look at things he had worked on, and take pictures.”

Scutt was born Donald Clark Scutt in Reading, Pennsylvania, on October 17, 1934, and changed his name, for unknown reasons, in 1958. He studied at Wyomissing Polytechnic and Penn State before interning with Philip Johnson, who encouraged him to move to Yale, where he eventually earned his Master of Architecture in 1961. After graduation, Scutt worked with Paul Rudolph for three years. He joined Kahn & Jacobs in 1965, where he was the principal architect for One Astor Plaza in Times Square.

From 1976 to 1981, Scutt was partner in charge of design at Swanke Hayden Connell Architects. During that time, he served as design consultant for the Grand Hyatt Hotel at 109 East 42nd Street, where he developed a business relationship with Donald Trump, and helped establish the developer’s signature aesthetic of mirrored glass facades. In August 1981, he founded his own firm, Der Scutt Architect.

In more recent years, Scutt developed a specialty in renovating and recladding existing buildings, including 505 Park Avenue, 575 Lexington Avenue, and 625 Madison Avenue. The last projects Scutt worked on are the reskinning of Voorhees Hall at the New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn, which is slated to begin construction this spring, and the renovation of an office building at 1615 L Street NW in Washington, D.C., which is expected to begin this summer.

In addition to his son Hagen, Scutt is survived by his wife of 43 years, Leena Liukkonen Scutt, a daughter, Kirsti Scutt Edwards, and four grandchildren. Der Scutt Architect will continue operation under the leadership of Hagen, an architect who worked with his father since earning his Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell in 1992.

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