BKP Remembers Duncan Buell
published April 27, 2015
With great sadness, BKP announces the passing of founding partner and principal emeritus Duncan Wray Buell, AIA Emeritus, on April 24, 2015 at Bryn Mawr Extended Care Center in Bryn Mawr, Pa. Duncan Buell left his mark on Philadelphia’s architecture community as a talented designer, a gifted artist, and a patient mentor. Duncan’s influence will forever permeate BKP’s design detailing, while his hand sketches and renderings hang as inspiration on the office walls. He leaves a legacy of innovative craftsmanship and timeless elegance.
Duncan was born in Rochester, N.Y., in 1928. He earned a Master of Architecture with honors from Yale University in 1953, where he studied under and established a long-term relationship with Louis I. Kahn. In 1960, Duncan moved to Philadelphia to work for Kahn as a trusted project architect, contributing to designs for the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, and the National Assembly Buildings in Dhaka, Bangladesh. While working with Kahn, Duncan developed an appreciation for materials used in new or unexpected ways. He was later interviewed and appeared in the film, “My Architect,” Nathaniel Kahn’s 2003 movie exploring his father’s life and work.
After Kahn’s death in 1974, Duncan became a partner in Cope Linder Architects, where he met Darrell Kratzer, AIA, and worked on large-scale office, retail, and civic projects. With Cope Linder, Duncan designed the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing and, as a consultant, Philadelphia’s Criminal Justice Center. During his long career, Duncan also worked for Vincent Kling, EwingCole, VITETTA, and Delle Donne.
In 1995, Duncan and Darrell established Buell-Kratzer Architects; one year later, they joined Joseph Powell, AIA, to form Buell Kratzer Powell Architects, Ltd.
Duncan leaves behind his wife of 62 years, Sally Lou Buell (nee Smith); four grandchildren: Mark, John, Jack, and Sarah; and two great-grandsons: Jaiden and Jase. He was preceded in death by his sons Ely and Gordon.