2015/07/20

A comrade and his legacy

[Note: This will be the first entry on my new blog, "Reflections & Inquiries," in my newly-designed website, to be launched in the next few days. "Literature & Society" will remain as an archive of entries from 2002-2015.]

July 18, 2015 

Perry Winston, 1945-2015
We were sadly surprised a few days ago to learn that a dear friend and comrade, the architect Perry Winston, has left us. It will be hard to carry on without his contributions, his teaching of students in various continents to be better and more socially responsible architects and, especially, his work with communities to build  better environments, beginning where I had begun, in Venezuela and continuing to East New York and many other places. For a good example of the kind of work he was dedicated to, and to get a sense of the man himself, check out the very good video on Urban Agriculture: East New York.

We had known Perry and his wife, the prolific architectural historian Zeynep Çelik, for years, and had dinner with them in their apartment in New York just a few months ago. He appeared to us to be recovering from his very serious bout with cancer, and despite chemotherapy and other debilitating treatment, had continued working. As usual, he was full of sharp political commentary, on national, international and especially New York city events. We didn’t always agree, but we shared some very deep values as well as many life experiences (Venezuela, Harvard, New York). He was one of those rare activists who actually make things happen, not just sharpening skills and perceptions of his friends and students, but also structural, spatial and architectural changes that have improved people’s daily lives — as you can see in the “Urban Agriculture” project. Adiós, Perry.

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