Edward Blair Allen, 81, Architect, Professor, & Author

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WAYLAND – Edward Blair Allen, 81, of Wayland passed away peacefully on July 7, 2020 from complications of Parkinson’s disease.

Beloved husband for 59 years of Mary (Mennes) Allen. Brother of Patricia Cattelino, Virginia Dickie, David Allen and his wife Nancy, and the late Sarah Allen, and James Allen. Ed is also survived by his sister-in-law Karen Gasper and her husband Kenneth, nephew and niece Garth and Sandra Dickie of Framingham, 15 other out of state nieces and nephews and their spouses, and many friends, former students and colleagues.

Son of the late Nathaniel and Mildred (Wisner) Allen, Ed was born in St. Paul, MN on September 16, 1938.

He was valedictorian of his Madison, Wisconsin West High School Class of 1956 and began college at the University of Wisconsin in mechanical engineering. Since Wisconsin did not then have a school of architecture, he transferred to the University of Minnesota where he received his B. Arch with High Distinction in 1962. He received his M. Arch from the University of California, Berkeley in 1964.

Allen worked for the architectural firm of Moore/Lyndon/Turnbull/Whittaker for two years before he received a Fulbright research grant to study the trulli stone structures in southern Italy from 1966-67, during which time he wrote his first book, Stone Shelters (MIT Press, 1969).

Ed joined the faculty in Architecture at MIT in 1968, where he taught for 15 years before becoming a practicing architect and author of architecture textbooks while spending time teaching at the University of Washington, Yale University, Montana State University, University of California San Diego, the Boston Architectural Center, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Universidad Nacional de Tucuman, Argentina, and the University of Liverpool, England. He was honored to be the Pietro Belluschi Distinguished Professor in Architectural Design at the University of Oregon in 1997. 

He became a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) in 2000, and was awarded the AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education in 2004.

He was author of 10 books, many of them still used in the teaching of architecture around the country and world.  Fundamentals of Building Construction is in its 7th Edition (2019), now with coauthor, Joseph Iano.   

He loved classical music and to play the piano and string bass.  He also wrote wonderful poems for many occasions.  He designed and built his and Mary’s South Natick home that they lived in for over 35 years, as well as a lake cottage in Washington, NH. 

Funeral arrangements are private, with burial at the Glenwood Cemetery in South Natick.  A memorial gathering will be held in the future. 

Donations of remembrance could be made to the University of Oregon Foundation in support of the Technical Teaching Fund that Ed began (https://www.uofoundation.org/, specify in Additional Instructions: Ed Allen Technical Teaching Fund (or by mail, made out to the University of Oregon Foundation in support of the Ed Allen Technical Teaching Fund, 1720 E. 13th Avenue, Suite 410, Eugene, OR 97403-2253) or made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research


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