Kevin Pratt
(1969 - 2013)

Kevin Pratt

Utah, United States of America
December 23, 1969

New York, United States of America
February 19, 2013

Dear friends and family of Kevin Pratt,

On February 19th, 2013, my older brother Kevin Pratt died unexpectedly at his home in Ithaca, New York. I recently returned from his funeral in Ithaca still shocked and very saddened by his sudden passing. I’m still processing it; mostly by trying to remember the times we spent together.

That is why I am asking you, Kevin’s family, friends, and colleagues to contribute your stories, impressions, thoughts, and memories of him to this page. Whatever format you chose—writings, videos, or audio recordings—is fine. Anything you want to share about him or with him, I would love to read, see, or hear. My hope is that this collection of works will serve as a record of his life for all of us who knew him and loved him to have and enjoy forever.

Excerpt from the Cornell Chronicle (full article: )

Assistant professor of architecture Kevin B. Pratt, noted for his research and expertise in sustainable design and for his enthusiasm and energy as a teacher and colleague, died at home of natural causes Feb. 19. He was 43.

Pratt was a principal with his wife, professor of architecture at Carnegie Melon School of Architecture Dana Cupkova, in EPIPHYTE Lab, a multidisciplinary design and research practice engaged in designing built environments at the intersection of ecology, computationally driven processes and systems analysis.

He was a contributing writer and architecture critic for Artforum and TimeOut New York, and published more than 50 articles in professional and general interest publications. He exhibited his and EPHIPHYTE Lab's work in San Francisco, Hamburg, London and elsewhere.

Pratt graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University with a bachelor's degree in architecture and earned an M.A. from the Environment and Energy Programme at the Architectural Association in London.

In addition to his wife, Pratt is survived by three children, Talullah, Alexander and Gwendolyn; his parents, Howard Pratt and Susan Kaye; a brother, David; a half-brother, Riley; stepmother Sharon Pratt, stepfather Jerome Kaye and two stepbrothers, Jake and Drew Decker.

A memorial service will be held March 2 at 2 p.m. in Sage Chapel, followed by a reception in Milstein Hall.

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Guest Book (5 entries)
What a shock to hear of Kevin's passing. I just opened my copy of Columbia College Today and saw the posting. Kevin and I were both architecture majors from the CC class of 92, and I remember his presence in studio. We weren't close friends, but spending all those hours in such close quarters, you get to know people in a unique way. He had a fantastic precocious energy and my heartfelt thoughts go to his family.
Jasmine Benyamin (Fellow student)
June 3rd, 2013
Kevin, well done with such contributions to the world and to many, many lives. You will be heartily missed. Love you. Mimi
P.s. one of my favorite memories was babysitting you for two days when you were about two. You were fantastic at climbing chairs, etc. such a happy, Cher Ryan and charming fellow. It has been lovely following you through the years . . . Such fun. So nice to have had you part of our life. Nice.
Mimi Green (Friend)
March 25th, 2013
Kevin was such an influential inspiration to all of his students at Cornell...

I thank him for inspiring me in a way that changed my perspective in life. I will always remember him for being the reason of my current passion in Sustainability for a better world.

May he rest in peace and may the light in his surviving family's life never fade...
Mina Hasman (Student (Cornell))
March 7th, 2013
Most of my memories of Kevin are from time spent together at our family home in Hanover, Pennsylvania. For the last 15 years or so, my parents have organized family reunions there in late October. The town puts on a big Halloween parade each year that passes right by the front door and we throw a big open house party and watch. It’s always a lot of fun. So it was often during these few days in the fall we would catch up on what each of us was up to. Since his death, I am especially thankful to my parents for bringing the family together at these gatherings. I certainly would not have gotten to know my brother as well as I did without them, and many other members of my family for that matter.

My fondest memory of Kevin, however, is from a trip I took to New York in 1998. I was a junior in college and Kevin was an architect living in Brooklyn. He was married but his first daughter, Talullah, was not born yet. Our family was in Hanover during one of our fall reunions. Kevin and I are talking about New York City, and he’s bragging about why it’s the greatest city in the world. Spontaneously he invites me to spend a couple days with him in New York, just the two of us (Chalkley was out of town). He convinces my parents it’s a great idea (Kevin was always very convincing), I change my flight reservations, and we drive up together on a Sunday evening. On the drive there, we’re talking about food and I admit to him I’ve never had Arabic food. He’s baffled by this so he decides to cook an authentic Arab feast for supper. We arrive in Brooklyn around suppertime and we walk to an Arabic market around the corner. It’s like no place I’ve ever seen or smelled before. It’s small but bursting with food and other items, few of which I recognize. The smell of aromatic herbs and spices fill the store. Burlap sacks of spices, rice, and different kinds of dried beans and legumes litter the floor. There are giant barrels full of olives that you scoop out with ladles. Kevin frenetically paces the isles gathering ingredients, telling me what’s what. We’re soon back at his place preparing the food. Kevin moves quickly about the kitchen, dicing this, mixing that, talking the whole time. I remember trying cured black olives for the first time, the ones that look like small prunes and are almost unbearably salty. Eventually, he presents me a bowl filled with rice and a spicy yellowish stew that I’m now guessing was a kind of lentil dal. It was totally new and exotic and I liked it very much.

The next morning was Monday and Kevin had to go to work. The plan was for me to meet him at his office in Manhattan for lunch and then spend the rest of the day together. To get to his office, I was instructed to take the subway. He showed me where to get on and what train to take. He also suggested I get off in lower Manhattan and walk the rest of the way just to experience the city, so I did. I walked for what now seems like several hours in a single straight-line, block-by-block, through Manhattan. As I headed north, I remember the buildings getting larger and the streets and sidewalks getting more congested with people and cars. By the time I reached his building, skyscrapers and pedestrians surrounded me. We met in the lobby and then he gave me a tour of his office. It was bright and open with high ceilings. I remember his desk area was impressively large. Soon we were outside, walking through the city, Kevin telling me about the history of the neighborhood, the architecture of the buildings, etc. I remember walking through a huge open plaza made of either granite or concrete. We ate lunch with chopsticks at a very contemporary, trendy Asian restaurant.

I don’t recall what else we did that day, not until the evening when he took me out to dinner at a cozy bistro back in Brooklyn. I remember drinking red wine and talking about my school and subjects I was interested in. We ended the evening at a dark pub where we met up with a couple of his friends. I don’t recall what we talked about, I just recall my brother dominating the conversation. He was always dominating conversations. No matter the topic, Kevin seemed to be an expert. He knew so much about so many things it was mind-boggling. And he didn’t just regurgitate facts. He professed his ideas and opinions about those facts. He was so articulate and confident when he spoke that you were easily convinced he was right about everything. I certainly wasn’t going to argue with him.

More recently, I got to see Kevin speak at a conference on climate change and sustainability at UC Irvine, where my wife and I were grad students. He spoke about sustainable architecture and his vision of how buildings ought to look and interface with people and the environment. It was a phenomenal seminar; the audience seemed to hang on his every word. It was great to see Kevin in his element—talking about the work he loved and doing it so well.

I’m guessing many more contributors will attest to Kevin’s incredible intelligence and energy. Without a doubt he was one of the brightest people I have ever known. But he was also caring and sincere. He was a wonderful father to his children. He was funny and a cheap laugh.

While it saddens me to think I’ll never see him again, talk with him about his latest research ideas, or lose to him at another hand of poker, I’m comforted to know Kevin’s spirit live on in his children. I’m thankful for the time we spent together and happy to learn he touched many lives. I loved my brother and I miss him.
Riley Pratt (Brother)
March 2nd, 2013
Kevin, you have once again stunned us all into silence. In life you were famous for telling us "what we've got to understand." And now that you have passed you continue to instruct us on a whole new set of topics: how fragile our lives are, how much one day can mean, what is of lasting value in this world.

This world needed your keen intelligence, the sustainability of our fragile species depends on those who can solve complex problems as if with ease and draw with depth from many disciplines that would take most people lifetimes of study. But though you could shine brightly like a beacon, you could also soften your light to a warm glow. As teacher and friend and father you encouraged the best in all of us and made all of our lights shine a little brighter. Your parents and your brothers; your uncle, cousins and nieces; your friends and colleagues; your wife and children and so many more are all hurting before the empty place where you stood just a few days ago.

As the years go by your children will want to more about their brilliant Daddy and we will have to try as best we can to explain "what they've got to understand" about Kevin Pratt. You will need to help us, even from the other side, to finish the work you started in our world and in our hearts. And when we join together we will always remember you and the brilliant light, that for a while, illuminated our lives.
Drew Decker (Step Brother)
March 1st, 2013
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kova lake
August 10th, 2013
"May the light never fade..."
Mina Hasman
March 7th, 2013
"One of my first memories of Kevin is when we were about 6 and 7. He shared his Jr. Chemistry set with me in the bathroom sink. It was my introduction to a higher level of play than football and tanks. I still look to Kev for his brilliant insight"
Drew Decker
February 28th, 2013


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