Jerde Partnership founder Jon Jerde dies aged 75

by Katie Buckley | 16 Feb 2015

Jon Jerde, founder of The Jerde Partnership, has died aged 75. Jerde, who was viewed by many as the father of modern shopping centre design, died on 9 February 2015 at his home in Los Angeles, US.

Jerde established his practice in 1977, following a commission for a retail centre in San Diego from Ernie Hahn, a shopping mall developer. For years Jerde designed shopping malls and he began to challenge traditional design of buildings, opening them up to become interactive, exciting and accessible public spaces.

Breaking away from suburban malls, Jerde found his niche when he was commissioned to design the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

Called upon by then Olympic chair, Peter Ueberroth, Jerde was set a minuscule budget of $10m (€8.7m, £6.5m) to transform the city of Los Angeles into a worldwide stage for the Games. Sticking rigorously to his budget, Jerde – in partnership with graphic designer Deborah Sussman – set the stage for the first profitable Games in 50 years and showed the world the value of ‘placemaking.’

Jerde and his partnership undertook projects in a way not seen outside of the attractions industry before. Pertaining to the model of Walt Disney’s ‘imagineering’, Jerde’s ‘placemaking’ approach was applied to every project he worked on. Moving away from dreary, conformist spaces, he focused on “making places where people love to go.” Designed as experiential environments, Jerde constructed spaces for experiences, harnessing an individual's five senses and enticing them to spend more time in one of his designs.

Blending architecture, landscape, interiors, graphics, lighting, water and allowing visitors to follow an exploratory path, are just some of the reasons why Jerde’s projects have a lasting, poignant legacy.

From his first shopping malls to glamorous casinos, such as the Bellagio Las Vegas, and entire city master plans, like Canal City Hakata, Japan; Jon Jerde consistently created magical projects, lasting legacies and places people want to experience.

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Jon Jerde, founder of The Jerde Partnership, has died aged 75. Jerde, who was viewed by many as the father of modern shopping centre design, died on 9 February 2015 at his home in Los Angeles, US. Jerde established his practice in 1977, following a commission for a retail centre in San Diego from Ernie Hahn, a shopping mall developer. For years Jerde designed shopping malls and he began to
The late Jon Jerde revolutionised shopping centre design worldwide /
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