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University mourns Wojciech Lesnikowski, Distinguished Professor of Architecture

Monday, April 21, 2014

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and John Gaunt, dean of the School of Architecture, Design & Planning, released the following statements regarding the death of Wojciech Lesnikowski, the Don Hatch Distinguished Professor of Architecture.

"On behalf of the entire University of Kansas community, I offer my sincere condolences to Professor Lesnikowski’s family, friends and colleagues,” Gray-Little said. “My thoughts are with them during this difficult time.”

 “Wojciech served the architecture program, the school and KU with passion, distinction and great intelligence,” Gaunt said. “He was a mentor to many, a deeply respected and admired member of our faculty, and a teacher beloved by his students.”

Lesnikowski died of cancer April 17. He was 75.

Lesnikowksi worked in Poland for several years after receiving a master's degree in architecture, engineering and planning from the Krakow School of Architecture and Urban Planning. In 1965, he received an internship to the Paris office of the renowned architect Le Corbusier.

In 1970, he began work in the New York City at the firm of Harrison and Abramovitz, where he said he learned “American dynamism, optimism and a global view.”   

After he joined KU in 1988, he developed and led the architecture department’s foreign studies programs in Paris and China. He was a professor of architecture at the Ecole Superieure d’Architecture Val de Seine in Paris and at the Technical University of Krakow.

In addition to his teaching career, Lesnikowski designed buildings in the United States, Paris and Poland. He lectured at many universities, including Syracuse, Yale and Cornell; technical universities in Oxford, Delft, Prague and Geneva; and the Ecole Speciale d’ Architecture in Paris.

Last year he was awarded the Krakow Laurel Award from the city of Krakow, that city’s highest honor. His work has been published in dozens of architectural magazines, books, monographs and research publications.

“We mourn the loss of a larger-than-life architect and educator, and honor all that he contributed to us during the 26 years he served here. The life he lived was truly remarkable,” Gaunt said. 

A public service will be at 11 a.m. Friday, April 25, at Corpus Christi Catholic Church. Warren-McElwain Mortuary is handling arrangements.