Obituary: Gary Kelly Carlough / Innovative architect, teacher left mark on Pittsburgh’s landscape

March 17, 1952 - June 29, 2014

Share with others:

Print Email Read Later

It will be hard for Pitts­bur­ghers to for­get Gary Car­lough, es­pe­cially those who ride the T. After all, he helped with the de­sign of the Gate­way Center Light Rail Sta­tion.

Mr. Car­lough, an in­no­va­tive force in Pitts­burgh ar­chi­tec­ture since co-found­ing EDGE Stu­dio in 1995, died Sun­day at his Fox Chapel home. He was 62. A cause of death had not been determined. The family was awaiting the results of an autopsy, according to Mr. Carlough's wife, Anne Chen.

“He brought new ideas with a sen­si­tiv­ity to the his­tor­i­cal con­text and the com­mu­nity at large,” said Anne-Marie Lubenau, for­mer di­rec­tor of the Com­mu­nity De­sign Center of Pitts­burgh.

The Gate­way Center sta­tion, which was done in part­ner­ship with Pfaff­mann & As­so­ci­ates, was just one of Mr. Car­lough’‍s de­signs. He also worked on ad­di­tions and ren­o­va­tions for the Univer­sity of Pitts­burgh’s Swan­son School of Engi­neer­ing, Car­ne­gie Mel­lon Univer­sity, the Car­ne­gie Mu­se­ums and the Car­ne­gie Li­brary of Pitts­burgh.

“One of the proj­ects he was re­ally ex­cited about that is cur­rently on­go­ing was an ad­di­tion to Ham­burg Hall [at CMU],” Ms. Chen, said.

Ms. Lubenau said Mr. Car­lough was very re­spect­ful of the com­mu­nity. He worked on ren­o­va­tion proj­ects for the Penn Avenue Arts Ini­tia­tive, which EDGE was in the heart of. “I think Gary was in­flu­en­tial in the city of Pitts­burgh, bring­ing a new per­spec­tive of de­sign within a city — in neigh­bor­hoods — where that just wasn’t as prev­a­lent years ago,” she said. EDGE merged with GBBN Ar­chi­tects last year.

Mr. Car­lough, a grad­u­ate of Latrobe High School, earned a bach­e­lor’‍s de­gree in ar­chi­tec­ture from the Univer­sity of Ari­zona and stud­ied at the Ar­chi­tec­tural As­so­ci­a­tion in Lon­don. “I think it shaped and it was a big part of the way he thinks about ar­chi­tec­ture, which is re­ally about the hu­man con­di­tion, en­vi­ron­ment and cul­ture we live in,” his wife said.

Ms. Chen met Mr. Car­lough in 1995 when she came to work for EDGE. They were mar­ried in 2003. “When I worked with him I was ba­si­cally the first full-time em­ployee. We be­came friends. We would work to­gether, go to din­ner and talk. I just re­ally en­joyed be­ing with him,” she said.

A mem­ber of Pitts­burgh’‍s Art Com­mis­sion, Mr. Car­lough served on the board of Quan­tum Theater and the de­sign com­mit­tee of the Pitts­burgh Cul­tural Trust. He was an ad­junct pro­fes­sor of ar­chi­tec­ture at CMU for more than two de­cades.

“Some peo­ple are able to con­nect with stu­dents, and he is one of those peo­ple,” Ms. Chen said. “A num­ber of his stu­dents ac­tu­ally came to work for us, and they’re just re­ally valu­able peo­ple.”

Aviva Rubin, an ex­hi­bi­tion de­signer at the Gug­gen­heim in New York, was Mr. Car­lough’‍s stu­dent from 2005 to 2007. She re­mem­bers him as an easy­go­ing in­tel­lec­tual who would keep in touch with her through email.

“He was this un­be­liev­able teacher, fig­ure and men­tor [who] re­ally in­spired me and a lot of other stu­dents,” Ms. Rubin said. “He was so rooted in the pro­fes­sional world, yet still had this dreamer side of him that wanted to change the world with ar­chi­tec­ture and still be­lieved that we could. He changed my per­spec­tive on what ar­chi­tec­ture could be and made me fall in love with it.”

Rebecca Henn, an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of ar­chi­tec­ture at Penn State Univer­sity, was an­other CMU stu­dent. She said Mr. Car­lough in­spired her to con­tinue with ar­chi­tec­ture.

“With­out Gary, I wouldn’t have stayed in this pro­fes­sion for an­other se­mes­ter, let alone 26 more years,” she wrote in a state­ment. “Any­time I think that I might not make much of an im­pact on my own stu­dents, I re­mem­ber how much Gary means to me and know that one pro­fes­sor can make ‘‍the’‍ dif­fer­ence.”

Mr. Car­lough and Ms. Chen re­cently de­signed their house in Fox Chapel, which Ms. Chen said is smaller than their pre­vi­ous one in Friend­ship. “It’s go­ing to be so empty with­out him,” she said.

Mr. Car­lough also is sur­vived by sons Todd Car­lough of Wash­ing­ton, D.C., Hall Car­lough of New York City and Xing Car­lough of Fox Chapel; and sis­ters Amy We­ick­ert of Fre­mont, Sny­der County, and Kelly Flem­ing of Green­ville.

There will be a cel­e­bra­tion of Mr. Car­lough’‍s life at 1 p.m. to­day at the Pitts­burgh Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion in Oak­land. His in­ter­ment will be pri­vate.

Madasyn Cze­bi­n­iak: mc­ze­bi­n­iak@post-ga­, 412-263-1269.

Create a free PG account.
Already have an account?

You have 2 remaining free articles this month

Try unlimited digital access

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here

You’ve reached the limit of free articles this month.

To continue unlimited reading

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here