Mackey Mitchell Architects sadly announces the passing of colleague, mentor, and firm founder, Eugene Mackey, III, FAIA, following a long battle with cancer. He was 77. A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Gene’s contributions to the field of architecture and to the built environment of the city of St. Louis were immense.
Dan Mitchell, FAIA, Gene’s longtime business partner and close friend, said, “Gene instilled an entrepreneurial spirit in all of us who had the opportunity to work with him. He always viewed the firm as a platform, or a stage to perform. Gene provided the opportunity for me to truly be energized about the firm and the profession I have chosen. His perspective helped shape the community we all live in.
For me, these extraordinary contributions start with a strong sense of self and the ability to lead others. He drew out the best from all of us. I am a better person today as a result of Gene’s influence. I have lost a mentor, a business partner, but most important, my best friend.”
Gene was known as an “architect’s architect” and a consummate professional who believed strongly in the impact of design on human behavior. He believed architects have a long‐term impact on society and that projects should be appropriate to their settings. Former St. Louis Post‐Dispatch architecture critic Robert Duffy once wrote about Gene, “What distinguishes his work is elegance, confidence, gravity, an understanding of the eloquence of understatement and an appreciation of beauty and utility, along with generosity, humanity and grace.”
Now almost 50 years after the firm was founded, Mackey Mitchell has a national reputation as a leader in the design of contextual architecture – a body of work that demonstrates genuine concern for tradition and character of space. Recent significant projects that benefitted from Gene’s leadership are the extensive renovations of the Old Cathedral and the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum in downtown St. Louis.
The son of one of St. Louis’ most accomplished architects (Eugene Mackey, Jr.), Gene was himself granted Fellowship by the American Institute of Architects in 1991 for his design achievements. In 2008, he received the AIA St. Louis Chapter Gold Honor Award. Gene served on numerous professsional committees, including terms as a director of AIA St. Louis. He was twice president of the St. Louis Chapter.
An active member of several community boards, Gene lent his expertise to a large number of local cultural institutions throughout his career. Most recently, he served on the boards of the St. Louis AIA Foundation; the Frank Lloyd Wright House; Bellefontaine Cemetery; Rainbow Village; KETC Channel 9; and the Steedman Library Advisory.
Gene was one of 12 community leaders who received a 2001 Reinvent St. Louis award from the St. Louis Business Journal recognizing his commitment to the St. Louis community. He was a member of Des Lee Collaboration’s Advisory Committee; the St. Louis Regional Business Council; St. Louis Advisory Board of the Trust for Public Land; Faust Park Advisory Committee; and Tower Grove Park’s Board of Commissioners.
Gene was named Established Entrepreneur of the Year (1993) in an annual program sponsored by Ernst & Young, Inc. magazine, and Merrill Lynch. He received the Ladue Horton Watkins distinguished Alumni Award and a Community Service Award (2002) sponsored by the St. Louis Business Journal. In 2008 he was honored with the Leslie N. Boney Spirit of Fellowship Award , which recognizes individuals who exhibit outstanding service and commitment to the College of Fellows.
Founded in 1968, Mackey Mitchell Architects (MMA) has offices in St. Louis, Missouri, Lawrence, Kansas, and Asheville, North Carolina.