Michael McKinnell (1935-2020)

The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts is saddened to note the passing of former member Michael McKinnell, FAIA. A prominent architect and educator, he served as a member of the Commission from 2005 to 2011, during which time he participated in the review of noteworthy projects including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the District of Columbia's extensive library rebuilding program, and early concepts for the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Memorial.

McKinnell established his firm Kallmann McKinnell & Wood Architects in Boston with Gerhard Kallmann in 1962, designing numerous embassies, courthouses, libraries, and buildings at universities including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Emory. He is best known for the design of Boston City Hall—a polarizing work of Brutalism completed in 1968 that has survived several attempts at alteration and demolition. His firm won eight honor awards from the American Institute of Architects, in addition to the Architecture Firm Award in 1984.

A native of the United Kingdom, McKinnell graduated from the University of Manchester, England, in 1958 and received a master in architecture from Columbia University in 1960 while on a Fulbright scholarship. He served on the faculty of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design for twenty-five years and as Professor of the Practice of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He received the Royal Manchester Institution Silver Medal, was an associate member of Royal Institute of British Architects, and was recognized by the Boston Society of Architects with an Award of Honor in 1994.

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