In Memoriam: Horace Havemeyer III

Remembering Metropolis’s founding publisher, 1941-2014

Yesterday, March 19, Horace Havemeyer III, Metropolis’s founding publisher passed away peacefully at his home in New York City. Death released him from the suffering brought on by complications from CIDP, a chronic neurological disorder that rendered him quadriplegic in mid-2011. He was 72.

These are the facts. But the man who founded Metropolis (Bellerophon Publications) in 1981 with the intent of creating smart, relevant, and game changing conversations about the designed environment, at all scales—from the smallest object to the largest urban settlement—was much more than those cold facts. He loved design. He respected architecture. He was an avid reader with a phenomenal memory. He was fascinated by the creative mind. He read broadly, including a lot of history. He was an opera fan, and an expert sailor. He was the first reader of all Metropolis articles, and I looked forward to his honest, critical reaction to them. He was rarely wrong. Horace was a cultured man who always wanted to know more about the world we live in.

When he asked me to come on board as his second editor in chief, in 1985, he made sure that the person he chose was in complete agreement with his vision. That meant we had long and far-ranging conversations that roamed freely between a building details to urban street life, and history (my academic training). We continued these conversations for 29 years, even up to the last weeks of his life. It was our way of re-affirming our commitment to the magazine we both loved.

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A short time ago he called me in to tell me about a decision he made. He told me that he was “firing” himself from his long-held position of Metropolis’s publisher, and he asked me to take over the title. For Horace, who loved being in control, this was a major turning point. But, as he explained, he wanted to make sure that Metropolis and now our joint vision, survives and thrives. I promised him that I would do everything within my power to live up to his high expectations. He was happy.

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