‘A Student’s Teacher’: Longtime Architecture Professor Arthur S. Takeuchi Passes Away



By Thaddeus Mast
Arthur Takeuchi sitting

Arthur S. Takeuchi (B.A.S. ARCH ’54, M.S. ARCH ’59), a pupil of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and an Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture professor for more than 50 years, passed away on October 28, 2022. 

Mahjoub Elnimeiri and Jong Soung Kimm, both longtime faculty members at the College of Architecture who taught alongside Takeuchi, will lead two honorary lectures about Takeuchi on March 31 beginning at noon. A memorial gathering will take place beginning at 1 p.m. on April 1. Both events will be held in S. R. Crown Hall.

Ron Krueck (B.A.S. ARCH ’70), founder of Krueck Sexton Partners, says Takeuchi’s teachings have stayed with him for decades. “He opened a door that changed my life,”  says Krueck.

Takeuchi was a celebrated teacher during his long tenure as a faculty member, earning several teaching awards and acting as interim dean twice. “He was a student’s professor,” says Michael Glynn, adjunct professor at the College of Architecture. Takeuchi stepped away from teaching at the college in 2019.

Takeuchi’s work as a practicing architect can be seen across Chicago. While working at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), he was assistant chief architect of the Richard J. Daley Center (formerly the Chicago Civic Center), which epitomizes many of his Miesian teachings with its combination of daring structure and minimalist esthetics. Mies once said of the award-winning building, “I wish I had done it…here is architecture...you can sense it immediately.”

Takeuchi’s passion for architecture began to manifest itself while he was still in high school, during which he won first prize in the architectural drafting division of the Scholastic Industrial Art awards. He went on to attend the College of Architecture and earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees under Mies’s tutelage. Takeuchi turned down an invitation to work on both 875 North Michigan Avenue (formerly the John Hancock Center) and the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) to pursue an independent career. He joined the College of Architecture faculty in 1965 and opened his own firm in 1970, where he continued to garner accolades for his built and unbuilt works such as being the runner-up in the international competition for the Centre Pompidou in Paris. He was an early proponent of prefabrication, completing several striking Chicago-area schools using the then-unconventional building strategy.

As a professor, Takeuchi inspired generations of students, including such luminaries as Krueck, David Hovey and David Hovey Jr., and Dirk Denison. Takeuchi’s teaching and architectural legacies continue through his work and theirs.

Photo: Arthur S. Takeuchi (provided)