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Edward Killingsworth, 86; Case Study House Architect

July 14, 2004|Elaine Woo | Times Staff Writer

Killingsworth's Case Study work gave him an opportunity to explore what he called "the importance of space."

His six designs for that project had tall entrance doors--as high as 17 feet--that led into a two-story atrium surrounded by plate glass. They were airy and light-filled structures that invited the outdoors in--an outdoors that was as carefully plotted and landscaped as was the house itself.

He planted 100 trees and shrubs, including huge olive, sycamore and eucalyptus trees, on the acre of land surrounding his own house in Long Beach. Its innovative approach to space includes the use of sliding panels to form two separate sleeping areas in the bedroom he designed for his two sons. The bathrooms were also unusual, featuring glass walls that provided unobstructed views of the outdoors.

Though relatively small considering the amount of land -- the house is just 3,200 square feet -- it feels spacious with its 12-foot-high ceilings and doors.

"It is so good to be in a space where the spirit can soar, and, with all of this, it must soar with the sense of balance and proportion set up by the spaces we create," Killingsworth said in an essay for Contemporary Architects. "What better goals in life can there be? To create a condition where you can really see the spirit soar?"

Killingsworth also designed several civic buildings in Long Beach, including its City Hall, main library, the Long Beach Convention Center and the Performing Arts Center. He was the master planning architect for Cal State Long Beach Long Beach, where he planted 4,000 flowering peach trees.

At USC, in addition to the College of Architecture, known as Watt Hall, his firm designed the campus Religious Center.

Killingsworth also was responsible for the design of the Cal State Long Beach Student Union, where his memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Laura; sons Greg and Kim; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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