view all images ( of 16 shown)

Male, Italy/US, born 1899-08-18, died 1994-02-14

Associated with the firms network

Belluschi, Pietro, FAIA, Architect; Doyle, A.E., and Associate, Architects

Professional History


Service with the Italian Army's Mountain Artillery, Third Regiment, in World War I, 03/1917-1920. He left the army as a first lieutenant, having participated in combat at the northeast Italian Battles of Caporetto (10-11/1917), Piave River (06/1918) and the decisive Vittorio Veneto (10-11/1918). Combat experience provided him great perspective, enhancing his self-confidence.

Housing Inspector, City of Rome, Rome, Italy, 1922.

Engineer, Bunker Hill and Sullivan Mining Company, Wardner, ID, 07/1924-03/1925.

Draftsman, A.E. Doyle, Architects, Portland, OR, 04/1925-1928.

Chief Designer, A.E. Doyle and Associate, 1928-1932.

Partner, A.E. Doyle and Associates, Portland, OR, 1932-1942;

Principal, Pietro Belluschi, Architect, Portland, OR, 1943-1950. His practice merged into a new branch office of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in Portland, OR.

Architectural Consultant, 1951-1994.


Dean, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, 1951-1965.

Professional Activities

President, American Institute of Architects (AIA), Oregon Chapter, 1943-1944.

Critic, Hawaii State Capitol Architect Advisory Committee, Honolulu, HI, 1960.

Architectural Consultant, Pan Am Building, New York, NY, completed 1963.

Consulting Architect, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, c. 1966.

Member, Boston Society of Architects, c. 1970. Member, Back Bay Architectural Commission, Boston, MA, c. 1970.

Chairman, American Plywood Association, Annual Plywood Design Awards, 1974.

Belluschi was named one of three critics to assist the Hawaii State Capitol Architect Advisory Committee, Honolulu, HI, along with Leonard L. Hunter of Washington DC, and George J. Wimberly of (Wimberly, Tong and Goo) Honolulu; this group would meet regularly with the architects of the Hawaii State Capitol, John C. Warnecke and Associates of San Francisco, CA, and Belt, Lemmon and Lo, Architects of Honolulu.

Member, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Architectural Review Committee, 1980-1981; Belluschi served with the following architects and landscape architects: Grady Clay, Garrett Eckbo, Costantino Nivola, James Rosati, Richard Hunt, Hideo Sasaki, Harry Weese and Paul Spreiregen.

Professional Awards

Fellow, American Institute of Architects (FAIA), 1948.

Appointee, National Commission of Fine Arts, 1950 (appointed by President Harry Truman).

Member, American Academy of Arts in Sciences, 1952.

Artist in Residence, American Academy, Rome, Italy, 1953-1954.

Fellow, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, 1954.

Member, National Institute of Arts and Letters, 1955.

Academicican, National Academy of Design, New York, NY, 1957. (See "Academicians: Architects," National Academy of Design 162nd Annual Exhibition, March 24-April 29, 1987, [New York: National Academy of Design, 1987], n.p.)

Recipient, AIA Gold Medal Award. 1972.

Recipient, National Medal of Arts, 1991 (bestowed by President George H.W. Bush).


Laurea di ingegneria, Civil Engineering, University of Rome, Italy, 1922; Exchange scholarship, Civil Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1923-1924; while at Cornell he took one class in architecture from Francke H. Bosworth, where he was introduced to Ecole des Beaux-Arts methods.

Belluschi was awarded a yearlong scholarship sponsored by the Italian-American Society to study engineering at Cornell University during 1923-1924.



Born in Ancona on the Adriatic coast, Pietro spent his early years there and spent summers in Piacenza on a relative's farm. In 1905, the family relocated to Rome; on her death, his maternal grandmother willed a significant inheritance to his mother, changing their material circumstances from one of anxious borderline poverty to comfort. His parents thereafter bought land outside of Rome on which they built a four-story apartment building. His teenage summers were spent in the Tuscan city of Pistoia, where, according to Meredith Clausen, "his love of the physical pleasures of life...developed." (Clausen, Belluschi, p. 11) The immediate sensual characteristics of the place suffused him, and set in motion his interest in detecting the natural peculiarities of each new place. His family moved to Bologna in 1910, but he returned to Rome in 1912 where he lived with a paternal uncle and his wife. He attended secondary school in Rome, at the Ginnasio Liceo Torquato Tasso and, following this, at the school of San Pietro in Vincoli, where he focused on applied engineering. Following the war, he studied civil engineering at the University of Rome, where he received an undergraduate degree, a "laurea di ingegneria." In 1923, an Italian aristocrat, Contessa Irene di Robilant (born c. 1895), chose him to attend Cornell University on a grant arranged by the newly-organized Italian-American Society. He traveled to the US aboard the Lloyd Sabaudo Line's brand-new liner, Conte Rosso, from Genoa to New York, NY. He arrived in New York, NY on 09/27/1923, bound for Ithaca, NY. Unwilling to return to Italy after his yearlong scholarship at Cornell, he persuaded the Italian Ambassador to the US, Don Gelasio dei Principe di Caetani (1877-1934), a mining engineer whom he had met fortuitously on the Conte Rosso, to get him a job at an Idaho-based mining company, the Bunker Hill and Sullivan Mining Company, where he himself had worked previously. After nine months here, Belluschi again felt trapped, and sought work at architectural firms in Seattle, Portland or San Francisco. Fortunately for him, the mine's manager had connections with firms in these places.

Belluschi obtained a job with A.E. Doyle in Portland, and stayed there until 1951. He purchased the firm and operated it under his own name after 1943. In 1951, he relocated to Cambridge, MA, where he took over from San Franciscan William Wurster as Dean of Architecture School at MIT. He spent the majority of his time on the East Coast between 1951-1965, although he traveled a great deal, including on trips back to Portland. He returned to Portland in 1965, and remained active in professional affairs into the 1980s.

He died in Portland at the age of 94. (See Meredith Clausen, Pietro Belluschi, [Cambridge: MIT Press, 1994], p. 5-20.)


His father was Guido Belluschi, a middle-class railroad employee, who worked for the Ancona-based Ferrovia Adriatica, a line that connected the important Adriatic port cities of Ancona, Brindisi and Otranto. A consortium of bankers, the Società per le Strade Ferrate Meridionali, originally financed the line, but it was nationalized on 07/01/1905; following nationalization, the new state railway, the Ferrovie dello Stato, transferred Pietro's father to Rome, where he dealt with construction issues. Pietro described his aristocratic mother, Camilla Dogliani, as "a domineering, self-centered woman." (Clausen, Belluschi, p. 7) Pietro had a sister, Margherita, who was four years older, but as the only male child in a patriarchal society, Pietro was doted upon by both parents. In later years, Belluschi viewed this extra attention as suffocating, and he left Italy in 1923 to gain his independence on a new continent. (See Meredith Clausen, Pietro Belluschi, [Cambridge: MIT Press, 1994], p. 5-15.)


Pietro Belluschi married twice. He wed his first wife, Helen Hemmila (-1962) in 1934.

Three years after her death, he married Marjorie Bruckner (1920-2009).


With Helen, he had two children: Peter (b. 1939 in OR) and Anthony (b. 1941 in OR).

Associated Locations

  • Ancona, Marche Italy (Architect's Birth)
    Ancona, Marche Italy

    OpenStreetMap (new tab)
    Google Map (new tab)
    click to view google map

  • Portland, OR (Architect's Death)
    Portland, OR

    OpenStreetMap (new tab)
    Google Map (new tab)
    click to view google map

PCAD id: 569

1st Presbyterian Church, Cottage Grove, OR1948-1951Cottage GroveOR
Bank of America, World Headquarters Building, 555 California Street, San Francisco, CA1967-1969San FranciscoCA
Baystate West, Springfield, MA1972SpringfieldMA
Belluschi, Pietro, House, Aloha, ORAlohaOR
Belluschi, Pietro, House, Portland, OR1936PortlandCA
Burke House, Portland, OR1947-1948PortlandOR
Burkes, D.C., House, Portland, ORPortlandOR
Central Lutheran Church, Eugene, OR1945-1955EugeneOR
Central Lutheran Church, Portland, OR1948-1950PortlandOR
Church of the People Project, Seattle, WA1946SeattleWA
Church of the Redeemer, Baltimore, MD1956-1957BaltimoreMD
Commonwealth Building, Portland, OR1946-1948PortlandOR
Eichler Homes, Incorporated, Model House, Palo Alto, CAPalo AltoCA
Equitable Savings and Loan Association, Headquarters Building #1, Downtown, Portland, OR1947-1948PortlandOR
Equitable Savings and Loan Association, Headquarters Building #2, Portland, OR1964-1965PortlandOR
Federal Works Agency (FWA), Division of Defense Public Works (DDPW), McLoughlin Heights Shopping Center, Vancouver, WA1941-1942VancouverWA
Kerr, Peter, House, Gearhart, OR1941GearhartOR
Menefee, P.L., House, Yamhill, OR1948YamhillOR
Moore, Merle, House, Portland, ORPortlandOR
Myers, Harry McLean and Mary C., House, Magnolia, Seattle, WA1940-1941SeattleWA
Olds, Wortman and King Company, Department Store, Portland, OR1909-1910PortlandOR
Oregonian Building #3, Portland, OR1948PortlandOR
Pacific Building, Portland, OR1926PortlandOR
Pine Grove Townhouses, Brockton, MABrocktonMA
Platt, Jane Kerr, House, Portland, OR1941PortlandOR
Platt, John, House, Portland, ORPortlandOR
Portland Art Museum, Portland, ORPortlandOR
Portland Gas and Coke Company and the Pacific Light and Power Company, Public Service Building, Portland, OR1926-1927PortlandOR
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland, More, Saint Thomas, Church, Portland, OR1939-1940PortlandOR
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco, Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption #2, San Francisco, CA1967San FranciscoCA
Seattle 1st National Bank, Incorporated, Headquarters Building #3, Downtown, Seattle, WA1966-1969SeattleWA
Seattle House, Seattle, WASeattleWA
State of Hawaii, Capitol Building, Honolulu, HI1969HonoluluHI
State of Washington, Convention and Trade Center (WSCTC), Downtown, Seattle, WA1985-1988SeattleWA
Sutor, Jennings Frederick, House, SW Portland, Portland, OR1937-1938PortlandOR
United States Government, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Branch, Downtown, Seattle, WA1949-1951SeattleWA
University of Colorado, Science Building, Boulder, CO1964
University of Oregon (U of O), Amazon Family Housing, Eugene, OR
Waddles Coffee Shop, Jantzen Beach, Portland, OR1945PortlandOR
Watzek, Aubrey Richardson, House, Portland, OR1937-1937PortlandOR
Wilson, Robert, House, Warm Springs, ORWarm SpringsOR
Zion Lutheran Church, Portland, ORPortlandOR
"Four Awars for Design in Plywood", AIA Journal, 10, 05/1974. "Seattle Bank Mounts Major Sculpture", American Institute of Architects Journal, 56: 5, 62, 11/1971. Ritz, Richard Ellison, "Greene, Charles K.", Architects of Oregon, 156, 2002. "Equitable Builiding", Architectural Forum, 97-105, 09/1948. "Cabots Stains Advertisement", Architectural Forums, 130: 4, 28, 1969-05. "McLoughlin Heights Shopping Center", Architectural Record, 66-67, 10/1942. "Apartments of the year", Architectural Record, 157: 6, 93-110, 1975-05. "A Country House in the Oregon Hills", Architectural Record, 88: 6, 56-58, 12/1940. Belluschi, Pietro, "The Spirit of the New Architecture", Architectural Record, 114: 4, 143-149, 1953-10. "One-story Wood House in Oregon Mountains", Architectural Record, 86: 5, 94-97, 11/1939. "Competition Likely for New S.F. Cathedral", Architectural Record, 133: 1, 01/1963. Built in U.S.A. 1932-1944, 40-41, 1944. Mock, Elizabeth, Built in USA Since 1932, 106-107, 1945. Hitchcock, Henry-Russell, Drexler, Arthur, Built in USA: Post-War Architecture, 48-49, 1952. Martin, Harry, Contemporary Homes of the Pacific Northwest, 1980. Woodbridge, Sally B., Montgomery, Roger, "Seattle First National Bank", Guide to Architecture in Washington State An Environmental Perspective, 124, 1980. Barry, Joseph A., "The Next America Will Be the Age of Great Architecture", House Beautiful, 95: 116-125, 168, 250-251, Gordon, Elizabeth, "This house was extensively shown in the August 1947 issue of House Beautiful", House Beautiful, 89: 9, 106-107, 09/1947. "Seattle House", House Beautiful, 89: 8, 08/1947. Cheek, Leslie, Jr., "It's Better because it's different", House Beautiful, 30-32, 08/1947. "Contemporary Regional Architecture", Journal of San Diego History, 8: 3, 114-119, 09/1947. Pickens, Buford L., "Contemporary Regional Architecture", Journal of the American Institute of Architects, VIII: 3, 118-119, 09/1947. "Art as an Architectural Element", Journal of the American Institute of Architects, 46: 5, 55, 11/1966. "Newslines: Education", Journal of the American Institute of Architects, 46: 6, 22, 25, 12/1966. "The Bank of America, San Francisco, California", Marble Architectural Awards USA 1985, 27-28, front cover, 1985. Mid-Century Architecture in America, 144, 1961. Ford, James, Ford, Katherine Morrow, "House for Mr. and Mrs. Pietro Belluschi, Portland, 1937", Modern House in America, 38, 1940. Ford, James, Ford, Katherine Morrow, "House for Jennings F. Sutor, Portland, 1938", Modern House in America, 36-37, 1940. "Pietro Belluschi turns copywriter to answer the question...Should your child be an architect?", Pacific Architect and Builder, 60: 7, 11, 1954-07. Belluschi, Pietro, "Architecture as an Art of Our Time", People's Architects, 96-110, 1964. Clausen, Meredith, Pietro Belluschi, 348-350, 1994. "Church of the People, Seattle, Washington", Progressive Architecture, 28: 8, 60-61, 1947-08. "P/A/ Annual Design Survey for 1954 first Design Awards Program Commerce", Progressive Architecture, XXXV: 1, 85, 01/1954. Steinbrueck, Victor, Seattle Architecture 1850-1953, 34, 1953. Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, "Introduction, A Historical Overview of Architecture in Seattle", Shaping Seattle Architecture A Historical Guide to the Architects, xxxv, 1994. Shepherd, Roger, Structures of Our Time, 117-129, 2002. The Watzek House Condition Assessment, 06/1995. Lee, William Carlson, The Watzek House by John Yeon, A Seed Grown to Fruition: The Northwest Regional Style of Architecture, 1991. Bleekman, George Moyer, III, The Watzek House: A Restoration and Maintenance Plan, 1998. "Design of Hawaii's new state capitol", Western Architect and Engineer, 221: 1, 3, 01/1961.