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Journal Update
Total Entries: 338
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  • Jun 20, 2010 6:15pm

    Thank you Bill, for all you taught me. 

    Thank you Jane, for thinking of us all.


    Andrew Li

  • Jun 17, 2010 12:32am

    Jane, Billy and Emily.

    I am one of the many, many people Bill touched and guided in his life.  I first met him in UCLA in 1979 when I was on my way from practice in Vancoiuver to take up my chair of architecture at his alma mater, The Univeristy of Melbourne.   We had many good times as I passed through UCLA and Boston or he was over here .  Bill became a visiting fellow with the faculty in 1981 and 1982 and helped set us on our way into CAD , CADD and all that followed.  More recently, he was an important advisor in our successful search for a dean, and then of course he was in Julie and Hank's team for the design of our faculty building.  In between he was always there when I needed to call for advice, and gave generously of his time, including in crits.

    Thanks for sharing him with us all "out here".  He has redefined what we see architecture to be and how to make it.  We will all miss him dearly.

    Graham Brawn

  • Jun 16, 2010 5:54am

    “Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree

    Merry, merry king of the bush is he

                                                Laugh, kookaburra, laugh

                                               What fun your life must be”


    Childrens’ rhyme.




    Bill Mitchell left Australia as a very young man. He lived all his adult life in the great cities and universities of the world. His work concerned city design and some have said that he was one of the great urban theorists of our time. But I knew another Bill Mitchell, one with his roots firmly planted in the Victorian bush towns of his childhood. Every year Bill returned to Australia at least once. Typically he then embarked on a drive through several hundred kilometers of bush country that must have mystified many others. He loved it.


    When in Boston or New York or Los Angeles he encountered a friend or relative from Australia it was easy to see a small thrill go right through his body. Quickly, the talk would be about the latest Australian novel or film. Then it would turn to Australian politics and the quick wit would set in and the jokes commenced. Soon he would be back again directing one of the Architecture Reviews of his undergraduate days in Melbourne and revelling in its silliness. The laughter was infectious. And then, very quickly, he would be back in the small bush towns of his boyhood. Perhaps he was exploring the gold town mullock heaps and deserted mine shafts with his sister and dog. Perhaps it was his mother’s reaction to finding that the noise coming from under his bed was emanating from tadpoles which were becoming frogs in their glass container. Then as the Australian red flowed, the corrugated iron roofs of Ararat became even hotter in the summertime and the crackelling frosts even heavier. The gravelled roads became dustier and the great eucalypts even more fragrant. Jokes and stories and ideas competed for space as they tumbled out. Usually the jokes won and the laughter dominated all. Then, truly, “Merry, merry king of the bush was he”. And, in his company, even on the busy streets of some great city, just for an hour or so, so were we.

    Laugh, kookaburra, laugh.

    John Close

    Mary Close

  • Jun 15, 2010 9:31pm

    Dear Jane, 
    You have my deepest sympathy and prayers for you and your family's loss. Thank you so much for the time that you allowed us to be with him and share his brilliance. 

    I was a collaborator during the initial development of the CityCar and was introduced to the concept of a charrette, "Bill Mitchell-style". Free spinning, highly intellectual discussion and brainstorming - like the flywheel energy of a grade-school playground merry go round. The more energy put in, the more energy and fun that would be realized. The consequences of a Bill Mitchell charrette would be a desire to reflect and reframe - there was always some new perspective gained by the collective experience. Bill had a great way of quickly processing, consolidating ideas/concepts but; most of all, he was a terrific storyteller. 

    I am forever grateful for the times that I was in Bill's presence during the development of the CityCar project.

    Bill and his writings are a Beacon to our collective future - should we be courageous enough to create the future - in his honor.

    Please find comfort in knowing that Bill left the earth in a much better place.


    Roy Mathieu - General Motors 

    Roy Mathieu

  • Jun 15, 2010 7:31pm

    Dear Jane:  I am just back from being out of the country, and with great sadness read Kathy's email to me.  I went on line last night and learned that Bill had passed away.  My heart is with you my dear Jane.

    I feel honored that I got to meet him and spend time with him here in NY.  Both personally, as well as getting to meet "Jane's husband"!!!   Hindsight is always, well, hindsight....so it would be remiss for me not to say....I wish i had had more time to get to know him.

    You m'dear are a most remarkable woman.  Loved and cherished by so so many people.  Use us however you need.  If we don't ask "what can I do", then tell us.  There ain't nothing you could do or say or ask that we wouldnt do for you.

    My thoughts, prayers, heart and soul are focused on thinking good thoughts for Bill, and with love for you.


    Debi Feinman
    New York, NY

  • Jun 15, 2010 5:57pm

    I am terribly saddened by this loss. I was fortunate enough to work with him on a new project on future urban mobility, and thoroughly enjoyed interacting with him. He was an inspiring figure, full of energy and visionay ideas, and at the same time easy to approach and happy to work closely with students and junior colleagues. He had a tremendous impact on my research agenda, awakening a new enthusiasm I had struggled to find since my  days as a graduate student.  He was a role model not only as a researcher, but also as a mentor. I will do my best to carry on his vision, and honor his memory through the indelible mark that he has left in me and others who worked with us. 

    My deepest sympathy to Bill's family. He will be greatly missed.

    Emilio Frazzoli
    Cambridge, MA

  • Jun 15, 2010 2:12pm

    I am so sorry to hear about Bill.  He was really one of the nicest men I've ever met.  The few times we've talked he always treated me with respect and with a disarming genuine attitude that could make the world a better place.

    Don Packer

  • Jun 15, 2010 1:07pm

    My heartfelt condolences go out to you and your family. I cannot begin to tell you what a tremendous impact Bill had on my time at MIT and on my life. He was a mentor that made a difference.

    With Bill, all things were possible. It seems like just yesterday we were chatting on the floor of the MIT media lab.

    Bill, I will always remember you with admiration, appreciation and deep respect.


    Allison (Stamides) Atsiknoudas

    Allison Atsiknoudas
    Belmont, MA

  • Jun 14, 2010 10:42pm

    With amazing memories of one of my heroes..
    It seems Bill was always laughing, or making me laugh-
    Full of life and loving life, doing work and writing books and teaching and giving and inspiring.

    Jane- and family,
    I'm so sorry to hear the news.
    I am remembering a fabulous dinner at your house with Susan, when I was visiting from Microsoft, eating those stunning madelines she always made.

    The best memories are just laughing at dinner, talking about architecture and computing and kids, and other silly things that we all had in common.

    All my love and best wishes to you Jane, and all Bills family and and friends and students.

    -Lili Cheng

    Lili Cheng
    Bellevue, WA

  • Jun 14, 2010 8:39pm

    Dear Jane,
    I am deeply saddened at your loss. I know Bill primarily through you -- and from the beginning, it was easy to recognize the stature of the man through your love.

    Please find comfort in these wonderful tributes and in the legacy that Bill leaves--quite obviously--to the world. Thinking of you, Emily, Billy and your global family.

    In loving friendship,

    Denise Grove

  • Jun 14, 2010 8:05pm

    Dear Jane;

    I met Bill in the fall of 1979 as an undergrad at UCLA.  I was fortunate to know him as my  professor, employeer (CADG), program head (UCLA GSAUP), mentor and friend.  Bill was always there to guide me with my studies and with my career choices over the past 30 years.  He will be missed greatly by all of us who's lives have been enriched by knowing him.


    Sheri Singer Frim
    Newton, MA

  • Jun 14, 2010 4:50pm

    I first met Bill in 1990 at GSD. Since then he has been an inspiration to me in my teaching and research at two universities. He is one of those unique combinations of wisdom and civility. He lectured at the University of Maryland and at Penn State at critical times for emerging digital media at both universities. He gave so freely of his talents. 

    I last saw him at MIT in 2009 for a special evening lecture for a small Digital Summit meeting at GSD. After his presentation, his graduate students showed their amazing work.

    He will be greatly missed.

    Madis Pihlak
    State College PA

    Madis Pihlak
    University Park, PA

  • Jun 14, 2010 4:15pm

    Dear Jane:

    Bill was  shining light at MIT. A warm and kind man who shared his widsom, energy, wit, intelligence, and good will with all he met. It was a privilege to have him in our midst, and we are all the better for it.

    We are sorry to miss the Memorial service where the outpouring of sentiment will be enormous. He was admired and loved, and will be dearly missed by all.

    Our heartfelt sympathies go out to you and Billy, as well as Bill's wider family.

    In peace,

    Diane (Davis) & Bish Sanyal

    Diane Davis
    Cambridge, MA

  • Jun 14, 2010 12:45pm

    Dear Jane --

    When Bill came to MIT it was a breath of fresh air, ideas, humor, class, passion, and love of architecture.  For me, he was a steady friend, an inspiring mentor and will be missed very deeply.  Each of the last 18 years Bill came to speak in my class on urban design, an annual ritual.  He just can't be replaced -- we will continue to discuss his work and ideas during that session as long as I teach.

    My deepest sympathy, regards, and sadness at his passing, Dennis

    dennis frenchman

  • Jun 14, 2010 9:30am

    Jane: A very beautiful and moving tribute to Bill. He leaves an unbelievable legacy at MIT and beyond. Bud

    Bud Ris
    Boston, MA

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