PORTLAND, Ore. -- A major figure in the world of Architecture died Jan. 3.
Bob Frasca was 84 years old.
From the Portland Airport to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Oregon Health and Science University and more, Frasca's vision is imprinted on many parts of the Portland area.
“I really sort of had this passion for the idea of building. It was one that never really left me,” said Frasca in a 2004 video. It was shot for the Architecture Foundation of Oregon. Frasca talked about learning to draw as a little boy with his father as they sat in front of a coal stove in the morning.
He grew up on the east coast but moved to Portland in 1959 and threw himself into the world of architecture.
Before he was done he'd designed the Oregon Historical Society, the World Trade Center in downtown Portland, the KOIN Tower, the Multnomah Athletic Club and more.
Photos: Buildings created by Robert Frasca
He also is the man responsible for the twin spires on top of the Oregon Convention center. His first idea was more of a suspended roof but decided he did not like it.
“And so then, I came up with the idea of the towers and it was an element that would sort of bridge the Willamette River,” he said in the video. “And to make the city operate on two sides rather than just on one,” he added.
Frasca was the "F" in the well-known ZGF Architects firm, the largest of its kind in Portland with 600 people working in several cities.
He was also a caring mentor of other architects, including Joe Collins.
“It's gonna be an incredible void in my life because we've known each other for 26 years. He's been a great mentor and great person,” Collins said.
He remembers Frasca as ambitious and confident.
“I think Bob had ego in the best possible sense of that word. You know, he wanted to make the world a better place."
Bob Frasca had an eye for spaces and an instinct on how to create a building within the space to function for the client. A hospital would have quiet, healing spaces long before research showed how important they were.
He built several buildings at OHSU and engineering and medical school buildings at top universities across the nation.
His work includes the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center in Bethesda Maryland, built for the National Institutes of Health.
His last big project was the Mortimer Zuckerman Research Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City, the city where he spent half his time in his later years.
Passionate, determined, yet humble, Bob Frasca left his mark on Portland, and many parts of America.