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Peter D. Paul
Peter D. Paul (Baltimore Sun)

Peter D. Paul, a Baltimore architect whose versatility led to in commissions that ranged from residential to educational and institutional projects, died of heart failure May 9 at Terwilliger Plaza, a Portland, Ore., retirement community.

The former Roland Park resident was 82.

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"Pete was extraordinarily capable and he loved to draw, and he could put anything together and make it interesting," said Fred Fishback, an Annapolis architect who had worked with Mr. Paul at the architectural firm RTKL during the mid-1950s.

The son of Bernard H. Paul and Edith Rogers Paul, the puppeteers who created "Paul's Puppets" that aired on WBAL-TV for 22 years, Peter Darr Paul was born in Baltimore and raised in Linthicum Heights.

After graduating from McDonogh School in 1950, he attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a year, where he studied architecture.

He returned to Baltimore and earned a bachelor's degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1955; he also earned a bachelor's degree from the Johns Hopkins University. In the 1980s, he earned a degree in urban planning from New York University.

Mr. Paul began his career in 1955 when he joined the Annapolis firm of Rogers & Taliaferro, and three years later he was made an associate in the firm. One of his early projects was designing Harundale Mall, one of the first enclosed shopping malls.

While working with RTKL, Mr. Paul designed the president's house at Goucher College; the master plan for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Park School's Brooklandville campus; Calvert County High School; and the oval park at Charles Center that connects One Charles Center with the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. headquarters.

"Pete designed the projects, and I drew the mechanical drawings that showed how we could build his buildings," said Mr. Fishback, who later became a principal in the Annapolis architectural firm of Weller, Fishback & Bohl, from which he retired in 2010.

"They were aesthetically beautiful, and he had a great sense of proportion. He knew how to get vitality into a building, and he knew that it came from within. They always had a dynamic," said Mr. Fishback.

"He was one of the prime designers of the time at RTKL," said Sidney Bower, an architect who worked with Mr. Paul at the firm and who later taught urban planning at the University of Maryland, College Park, from which he retired.

"He made his work interesting, and they always showed a very imaginative scheme, such as with the UMBC plan that deliberately allowed for future expansion," said Mr. Bower. "He was a very bright guy who had a wonderfully absurd sense of humor."

Mr. Bower said that his friend kept a book of the presidential speeches of Millard Fillmore on his desk.

"It wasn't unusual for him to rise to his feet and start declaiming a Fillmore speech," said Mr. Bower with a laugh.

In 1965, Mr. Paul left RTKL and established his own practice, Associated Architects, in an office at 928 N. Charles St. He headed the firm for a decade until closing it in 1975.

During his Baltimore years, Mr. Paul lived in a home in the 200 block of Hawthorne Road in Roland Park.

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Mr. Paul joined the Columbia office of Richard Browne Associates and moved to Wayne, N.J., and eventually to New York City when the firm established an office there.

After leaving Richard Browne, Mr. Paul established The Paul Partnership in 1980 with Barbara Sandrisser, a fellow architect he met while traveling on a train in Japan. Seated across from each other, the future partners noticed each other sketching and writing in their notebooks.

"He was absolutely brilliant. He understood architecture and was absolutely into it," said Ms. Sandrisser, who lives in New York City and Alexandria, Va.

Baltimore-area projects that the firm participated in included a historic-structures report of the First Unitarian Church, the design of a Japanese-style house in Monkton and a contemporary home, also in Monkton.

Other projects included senior citizen facilities in Florida and Salvation Army camp projects in Maryland, Mississippi, West Virginia and elsewhere. They also worked on private homes in New York, Pennsylvania and Santa Fe, N.M., as well as on a townhouse in New Jersey.

He also conducted professional studies, including of the Flatbush Avenue Transportation Systems in New York City, which evaluated five above-ground stations in functional and aesthetic terms. In 1980, he studied 163 railroad stations in New Jersey for the state's Department of Transportation and conducted an architectural resources inventory for the Newark Highway Feasibility Study.

Mr. Paul dissolved the firm in the mid-1990s and moved to Portland, where he continued to work.

"He was very prolific and continued working until 2015, when he became ill," said Ms. Sandrisser.

"Portland was his favorite city," said daughter Suzanne Sease of Richmond, Va.

"He loved to draw maps in axonometric projection from photos he would take from the ground," his daughter said. "He created hundreds of these maps from all over the world."

He enjoyed the culture of Japan and Korea and liked visiting the two countries. He was an avid reader and a season ticket holder to the Oregon Ballet. He also liked visiting museums and galleries, and was a fan of art films.

At Mr. Paul's request, no services will be held.

"He was a very modest man," said Ms. Sease. "His last wishes were to have his ashes spread over the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon."

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Paul is survived by two sons, Thomas Paul of Belcamp and Adam Paul of Columbia; another daughter, Rebecca Paul of Merida, Mexico; a brother, Larry Paul of Linthicum Heights; and six grandchildren. His marriage to Patricia Paul ended in divorce.

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