Duncan Wray Buell, AIA Emeritus (1928-2015)
Duncan Buell, AIA, established Buell-Kratzer Architects with Darrell Kratzer in 1995 and was a founding principal of Buell Kratzer Powell Architects, Ltd. in 1996. Duncan left his mark on BKP and Philadelphia’s architecture community as a talented designer, a gifted artist, and a patient mentor. Duncan was retired principal emeritus of the firm when he passed away April 24, 2015. His influence will forever permeate the firm’s design detailing, and his hand sketches and renderings hang as inspiration on the office walls.
Trained at a time when hand-drafting was the only way to document a project, Duncan developed an elegant and easily recognized style. His design drawings and renderings became recognized for their detail and beauty. His longtime employment and friendship with Louis Kahn is also well-known.
Duncan earned a Master of Architecture degree from Yale University, where he studied under Louis Kahn. He later worked for Kahn as a trusted project architect, and contributed 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 interviewed and appeared in the film, “My Architect,” Nathanial Kahn’s 2003 movie exploring his father’s life and work.
After Kahn’s death in 1974, Duncan became a partner in a Philadelphia design firm, where he met Darrell Kratzer and worked on large-scale office, retail, and civic projects. He designed the Great Plaza at Philadelphia’s Penn’s Landing. Later, as a consultant to the primary architecture firm, he designed Philadelphia’s Criminal Justice Center.
Duncan’s sense of innovative craftsmanship and timeless elegance is a legacy he has instilled in Buell Kratzer Powell’s present work.