DFW Airport

Gyo Obata, Famed Architect of Original DFW Airport, Dies at Age 99

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NBC 5 News

Gyo Obata, the architect who shaped Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, sports and entertainment arenas, shopping malls and a presidential library, died at the age of 99.

Obata died Tuesday in St. Louis, his family said. A cause of death was not announced.

Obata was born in 1923 in San Francisco. He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 1945 and earned a master’s degree at Cranbrook Academy of Arts in suburban Detroit.

In 1955, Obata, George Hellmuth and George Kassabaum opened Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum. St. Louis-based HOK is now among the world’s largest architecture and engineering firms.

In the early 1970s, Obata's design of the original Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport terminals established America's first regional airport, heralded both for "its convenience and its crisp, clean detailing," HOK said in its announcement of Obata's death.

“What we tried was to bring the airplane and the passenger together,” Obata told The Dallas Morning News in 2014, when he was still working at the age of 90. “It’s a no-nonsense airport.”

Obata was also behind other Texas projects, including Galleria stores in Houston and Dallas and the Neiman Marcus store in Houston.

"His design of The Galleria in Houston, which opened in 1970, reimagined the shopping center environment through the introduction of a multi-level indoor mall with an ice-skating rink at the center," the firm said.

HOK’s other notable designs include the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, Camden Yards baseball stadium in Baltimore and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois.

Copyright NBC 5 News and The Associated Press
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