As a father, as a son and love of architecture

Louvre Pyramid and La Pyramide Inversée, Louvre, Paris, France by IM Pei

From sons and daughters following in their father’s architects’ footsteps to father-child collaboration on design projects, here’s how fatherly guidance has translated into a lifelong love of design.

To pass on the love of modern architecture

IM Pei, often regarded as one of the masters of modern architecture, is a well-known Chinese-American architect who is responsible for designing some of the most iconic buildings in the world. Two of his younger sons, named Chien Chung Pei and Li Chung Pei, followed in their father’s footsteps and eventually worked as architects in New York City.

In 1992, the sibling duo then set up their own company – among their most notable projects were the Bank of China, the Macao Science Center and the Shanghai Commercial Bank. Their father then acted as their architectural consultant. The trio later collaborated on various projects such as the Suzhou Museum in China.

Like IM Pei and his two younger sons, this Portuguese father-and-son tandem is also known for following a modern architectural style. Álvaro Siza and his son Álvaro Leite Siza ventured into home design, where the former was widely recognized for his mass housing projects executed in pure geometric styles. Eventually, he received a Pritzker Award for his work with his son for his expertise in modern residential architecture for projects such as Casa Tolo, a house that sat on a sloping terrain within a budget of $ 150,000 or approx.

Chien Chung “Didi” Pei (left), Li Chung “Sandi” Pei and Ieoh Ming “IM” Pei. – LEGAL PHOTO

The epitome of polar opposites

Stories of children adapting to their parents’ attitudes, work ethic, and occupation are not uncommon. However, this architect-father-and-son tandem has a completely different story to tell.

The Finnish architects Eero (father) and Eliel Saarinen (son) had different architectural styles. Eero is recognized for his Art Deco style, while Eliel specialized in more futuristic forms. Amidst the differences, the duo then became known for the design of notable structures such as the First Christian Church in Columbus, Ohio; Gateway Arch and St. Louis; and Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo.

Eliel and Eero Saarinen

Pioneering a great break

The German architect and architect theorist Oswald Mathias Ungers is known for his rationalist architectural style as well as the incorporation of cubist forms into his design. The architect has never failed to exemplify these styles, showcased through his designs by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Hamburg and the Messe Torhaus in Frankfurt.

Despite having separate projects, his son, Simon Ungers, adapted his father’s rationalist and cubic aesthetics with his design of the T-house, the project that rose him to fame.

T House by Simon Ungers. – @ SUBTILITAS

A duo that completed the Los Angeles skyline

The lively skyline of Los Angeles has become possible thanks to this father-son duo who designed some of the city’s most notable buildings. His father, John Parkinson, started solo in Seattle in the 1890s before the economic depression encouraged him to work elsewhere.

His son, Frank Donald Parkinson, eventually joined him in 1920, creating a father-and-son architectural firm responsible for designing several landmarks in Los Angeles, some of which include the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Union Station, and the University of South California.

TWA Terminal by Eero Saarinen – @ SAMSEBESKAZAL

Separate professional travel, same destinations

Instead of following a completely identical professional path, architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe son Benjamin Henry Latrobe Jr. continued. with making a name for himself as a civil engineer.

Considered the “father of American architecture”, Benjamin Henry Latrobe brought British neoclassicism to the United States as an immigrant from England. When he moved from state to state from Virginia, Philadelphia, to Washington DC, he was recognized for the design of several government buildings such as the Bank of Pennsylvania as well as the United States Capitol. While collaborating with his civil engineer son Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Jr. was a success, he eventually made a name for himself by designing railroad bridges throughout the United States with his most famous work as the Thomas Viaduct.

The same professional scenario, albeit a slightly more diverse one, has also been witnessed by English architect Sir Charles Barry as four out of his seven sons followed in his footsteps in the construction industry. The English architect was known for incorporating an Italian Renaissance style into the country houses he worked with. He was also responsible for the reconstruction of London’s Palace of Westminster.

His sons, Charles Barry Jr. and Edward Middleton, became architects and became known for designing several institutional buildings throughout England during the 1800s – three of which include Dulwich College, the Great Eastern Hotel in London and the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. John Wolfe Barry and Godfrey Barry then became civil engineers and surveyors, respectively.

A field synonymous with a father’s love

Living up and surpassing the legacy of these highly acclaimed father architects must have been a lifelong challenge for their children who decided to follow in their footsteps. Amidst conflicting design ideas and overlapping career paths, however, the architectural landmarks resulting from these father-and-son collaborations show that one’s love and passion for architecture can transcend generations, just as paternal love transcends different lifetimes.

The author is an architect who helps local and international property developers get into unique and diversified planning and design specialties for real estate, hotels, condominiums, commercial and mixed use urban developments with a striving for the metamodern of the next Filipino architecture. Visit

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