SAH Newsletter

Obituary: Architect Marc Goldstein, FAIA

by Skidmore, Owings & Merril LLP | Dec 14, 2015
On November 19, 2015 the San Francisco office of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill issued a press release about the death of Architect Marc Goldstein, FAIA.  Marc and his wife, Diana, were frequent SAH study tour participants who traveled with us to Cuba once and to India three times.  Diana shared with us that Marc declared his favorite buildings were the Louis Kahn government buildings in Dhaka which they visited with SAH on the Three Capitals study tour.  This year SOM celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Mauna Kea Hotel which Marc designed as a young architect working for SOM.   It is a wonderful testament to his career as an architect.  A memorial tribute to Marc Goldstein will be held on December 29, 2015 from 2 – 4 pm. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to The SOM release is below.

Architect Marc Goldstein, FAIA, a Design Partner responsible for some of SOM’s most important architectural and urban planning accomplishments of the 20th century died on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 in San Francisco. He was 80 years old. Goldstein was the Senior Designer and Design Partner of many of SOM’s widely regarded projects including the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel in Hawaii; 345 California and the Mandarin Hotel in San Francisco; the 52-story Bank of America building in San Francisco; and the Crocker Center in Los Angeles. His international work includes the Regent Hotel in Jakarta and the Jondi Shahpour New Town Master Plan in Iran.
After interviewing him as part of the Oral History project for the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009, writer Suzanne Riess remarked “Marc Goldstein had a major influence on the SOM-dominated skyline of San Francisco. I don’t look at the city the same way – the anonymity of a number of my favorite buildings is gone: they are Goldsteins!” The full oral history is at
During his 30-year career at SOM, Goldstein had a significant impact not only on the firm, but also, the profession. In the 1960’s, with frequent collaborator and SOM Design Partner Charles Bassett, Goldstein oversaw the design of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel for their client, Laurance Rockefeller. When it opened in 1965 at a cost of $15 million, it was the most expensive hotel ever built. It was named one of the "Three Greatest Hotels in the World" by Esquire magazine, one of "10 Best Buildings of 1966" by Fortune, and it received a National Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects in 1967. The "exorbitant" room rates started at $43, including breakfast and dinner. Today, as the hotel celebrates its 50th anniversary, it is remembered as a catalyst for the start of tourism on Hawaii’s Big Island and a model for luxury development.
Marc Evan Goldstein was born on March 1, 1935 on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He was raised in New York City and attended Bronx High School of Science. Goldstein studied industrial design at the University of Michigan for two years, later transferring to Yale University’s School of Architecture where he studied under Louis Kahn, Paul Rudolph and Vincent Scully. In his recommendation for the Fulbright scholarship Goldstein won, Kahn wrote, “Marc’s familiarity with the religion, philosophy and ethics of our profession allows him to be one of the most comprehensive, understanding and articulate practitioners.” Goldstein considered Kahn’s letter one of the most valuable things he owned.
Goldstein began his career with SOM in San Francisco in 1961. He quickly rose to the level of Associate in the firm just two years later (1963) and then Associate Partner two years after that (1965). He was elected as a Partner in 1970 and held that position until 1987. Goldstein worked as a Consulting Partner for the firm from 1989-1991. In 2003, he received the American Institute of Architects San Francisco Chapter Special Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Profession.
SOM Senior Consulting Design Partner Craig Hartman, FAIA, said of Goldstein “Marc epitomized the rigor, passion and commitment to design at the highest level that has always defined SOM’s practice. His interests and intellect led him to explore ideas and projects that ranged from large scale urban design, to architecture, to the smallest details of interior design and graphics. The humanism and intellectual depth that defined Marc as a person equally defined his work as an architect. I count myself among the many who were privileged to enjoy Marc’s friendship, enthusiastic support, wise counsel and good humor.”
SOM Consulting Partner John Kriken, FAIA, started at the firm in 1970, the year Marc was made a Partner. Kriken remembers, “It was Marc’s love of architecture and cities that brought us together to create sustainable and livable projects both locally and worldwide. He was not only my mentor, but also my adopted older brother.”
Bryan Shiles, FAIA, worked with Goldstein at SOM before becoming a Founding Partner at WRNS. “The evidence of Marc’s influence as an architect is all around us in San Francisco,” said Shiles. “Some of our best buildings and places bear the imprint of his hand. What is less evident but no less profound is Marc’s impact as a thinker, teacher, and friend. After SOM, teaching enlivened Marc and allowed him the opportunity to continue his own growth and the chance to share his considerable insight with others. Those of us lucky enough to be close to Marc through the stages of his career were blessed with a generous and brilliant companion.”
For many years after ending his consulting partnership arrangement with SOM, Goldstein taught an architectural theory seminar at the California College of Arts. He said of his teaching, “I’ve found that the person who was me 30 odd years ago is alive and well, and that’s a very joyous thing to find out.”

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