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Male, US, born 1923-02-28

Associated with the firms network

HOK Sport, Incorporated; Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (HOK); Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), Chicago, IL; Yamasaki, Minoru, and Associates

Professional History


Service, US Army, 1946-1947.

Architect, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), Architects, Chicago, IL, 1947-1951.

Architect, Minoru Yamasaki, Architect, Saint Louis, MO, 1951-1955.

Principal, [George] Hellmuth, Obata, and [George] Kassabaum (HOK), Architects, Saint Louis, MO, 1955- .


Named the inaugural Howard A. Friedman Visiting Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), Berkeley, CA, 1992.

Professional Activities

Member, American Institute of Architects (AIA), Saint Louis Chapter.

In 1970, Obata was a registered architect in the States of AL, AK, CA, CT, D.C., FL, GA, IL, IN, IO, KS, KY, MD, MA, MI, MS, MO, NE, NV, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, TX, VA, and WI.

Member, Advisory Council for the Presidio, San Francisco, CA, 1991.

Professional Awards

Recipient, Academy of Achievement, Salute to Excellence Award, San Diego, CA, 12/27-30/1962.

Fellow, American Institute of Architects (FAIA), 1969.

Recipient, Washington University, Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, Saint Louis, MO, 1990.

Recipient, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, Saint Louis, MO, 1991.

Inductee, Saint Louis Walk of Fame, Saint Louis, MO, 1992.

Recipient, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), Honorary Doctorate, Edwardsville, IL, 1999.

Recipient, AIA, Saint Louis Chapter, Gold Award Honor, Saint Louis, MO, 2002.

Recipient, Japanese American National Museum, Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts, Los Angeles, CA, 2004.

Recipient, Saint Louis Arts and Education Council, Lifetime Achievement Award, Saint Louis, MO, 2008.

Recipient, Washington University, Sam Fox School, Dean's Medal, Saint Louis, MO, 2008.



B.Arch., Washington University, Saint Louis, MO, 1945.

Master's, Architecture and Urban Design, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI, 1946. He studied at this time with the Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen, the head of Cranbrook's architectural and urban planning program. Saarinen became President of the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1932, and succeeded in attracting a stream of highly-talented designers, such as Charles Eames, Ray Kaiser, Harry Bertoia, Florence Schust, Edmund M. Bacon and Obata to Cranbrook during the 1930s and 1940s.

College Awards

Recipient, Washington University, Frederick Widmann Scholarship, Saint Louis, MO.

Recipient, Cranbrook Institute Tuition Fellowship, Bloomfield Hills, MI.



Gyo F. Obata, the son of a painter and a floral designer, was born and grew up in San Francisco, CA.


His parents were both artists. His father was Chiura Zoroku Obata (born 11/18/1886 in Sendai, Japan-d. 10/06/1975 in Berkeley, CA), a Professor of Painting at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), between 1932 and 1953.

His mother was Haruko Kohashi (born 03/24/1894 in Fukuoka, Japan- d. 1989), who became one of the first instructors in ikebana in the Bay Area. She married Chiura on 01/06/1912 in San Francisco, CA.

Haruko and Chiura had four children together: Gyo, Kimio George Obata (born 09/15/1912 in San Francisco, CA), Lillian Yuri Obata (born 04/13/1927 in CA)

Associated Locations

  • San Francisco, CA (Architect's Birth)
    San Francisco, CA

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PCAD id: 1132

2000 Pennsylvania Avenue, Office Building, Washington, DC
550 North Brand Boulevard Building, Glendale, CA1987GlendaleCA
Adobe Systems Incorporated, Corporate Headquarters, San Jose, CA1996-2003San JoseCA
Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, CA1964-1966AnaheimCA
City and County of San Francisco, Public Library (SFPL), Main Library #5, Civic Center, San Francisco, CA1915-1917San FranciscoCA
City of Manhattan Beach, Police and Fire Departments Headquarters, Manhattan Beach, CA2003Manhattan BeachCA
County of Los Angeles, General Hospital, 2051 Marengo Street, Northeast Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA2008Los AngelesCA
Fairmont Hotel, San Jose, CASan JoseCA
International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation, Office Building, Los Gatos, CA1964Los GatosCA
King County, Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention, Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center, Kent, WA1995-1997KentWA
Levi Strauss and Company, Headquarters, Embarcadero, San Francisco, CASan FranciscoCA
Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, CA
Pacific Bell Park, China Basin, San Francisco, CA1997-2000San FranciscoCA
Petco Park, San Diego, CA2000-2004San DiegoCA
Saks Fifth Avenue Department Store, Union Square, San Francisco, CA1981San FranciscoCA
Sohio Alaska Petroleum Company Headquarters, Anchorage, AKAnchorageAK
Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, Hall of Justice #2, San Jose, CA1988-1991San JoseCA
University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Washington Stadium, Seattle, WA1920-1920SeattleWA
Wells Fargo Center, Sacramento, CA1989-1992SacramentoCA
Xerox Corporation, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Palo Alto, CA1970Palo AltoCA