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University of Miami

December 19, 2011

Jan Hochstim, a longtime professor at the University of Miami’s School of Architecture who was well known to generations of students for his exacting standards as a historian of the modern movement, passed away on November 5. He was 80.

Hochstim engaged fully in scholarship, teaching, and professional practice. He began his teaching career in 1958 and taught design and the history of architecture. He also practiced, producing work that ranged from the original Mark Light Stadium at UM to remodeling of the Swensen residence in Coral Gables’ French Village.

Hochstim also renovated the 1940’s-era apartment buildings that became the home of the UM School of Architecture in 1984. He practiced in recent years with Adam Krantz.

Hochstim’s classes in the history of modernism fueled his scholarly work, and his book, The Paintings and Sketches of Louis I. Kahn (1991), was a critical success with reviews in the architectural press as well as The New York Times Book Review. His subsequent book, Florida Modern: Residential Architecture 1945-1970 (2005), brought together Hochstim’s intellectual interests as well as his personal associations with Florida’s leading modern practitioners.

The Dade Heritage Trust honored Hochstim last March as a “Living legend for his stellar contributions to Miami’s architectural heritage.”

In addition, he was recently appointed to the board of directors of DOCOMOMO US, an organization for the documentation and conservation of buildings, sites, and neighborhoods of the Modern Movement.

Hochstim was born in Krakow, Poland, in 1931. As an exile during World War II in Uzbekistan, he met his future wife Ruth, also of Poland. After the war, they immigrated to the United States where they were married.

Hochstim earned a bachelor of science degree in architectural engineering from UM in 1954 and a bachelor of architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1958. In 1976, he earned a master’s degree in the history of art and architecture from UM.

Hochstim received the Woodrow W. Wilson Award for Outstanding Teaching at the School of Architecture in 1981-82, and in 1978 his design for Mark Light Stadium received the American Institute of Architects’ Award for Outstanding Concrete Structure in Florida as well as the American Concrete Institute and Florida Concrete and Products Association Award.

Hochstim was predeceased by his wife Ruth and is survived by a brother, Adolf; a son, Richard; and nieces Diana Taylor and Monica Hochstim.

A gathering to celebrate his life was held in the School of Architecture’s courtyard on December 2 at 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jan’s memory to the University of Miami School of Architecture for the Materials Lab, P.O. Box 249178, Coral Gables, FL 33124-5010.

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