Episode 24: Architect Peter Chermayeff ’53

Chermayeff in Architecture Class

You may not recognize the name Peter Chermayeff, but if you’ve ever lived in, or visited Boston you’ve probably experienced his work. Have you been to the Boston Aquarium and walked the spiral ramp along the central tank? Did you ride the T to get there and wonder why each line is colored the way it is? Well, Peter designed both of these Bay State projects and are just two of the topics he gets into on this very special episode of Every Quarter. He’s joined by his niece—filmmaker Maro Chermayeff, Class of 1980—and they discuss Peter’s early years at Andover, his circuitous career path, and how he became the preeminent aquarium architect in the world.

Chermayeff earned an AB degree from Harvard College and an MArch degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. His many projects have included the U.S. exhibition at Expo ’67 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; design guidelines and standards for Boston’s transit system; the San Antonio Museum of Art; and “Where’s Boston?”, an exhibition for the U.S. Bicentennial—plus aquariums in Baltimore, Boston, Chattanooga, Genoa, Osaka, and Lisbon.

Since 1990, Chermayeff has been president of IDEA, a firm that manages aquarium development and operations; he has been president of Peter Chermayeff LLC since 2009. An AIA fellow, he has served on the visiting committee of the Rhode Island School of Design and the School of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania and has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He was presented with the Andover Alumni Award of Distinction in November 2018.

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