Born in Dublin, Ireland, Kevin Roche received a Bachelor degree in Architecture from the National University of Ireland, Dublin, in 1945 and immigrated to the United States in 1948. He enrolled at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, to be near Mies van der Rohe. In 1951, he was hired by Eero Saarinen and Associates in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He became a principal design associate in 1954 until Saarinen’s death in 1961.
At that time, he and his colleague in the firm, John Dinkeloo, completed ten major projects begun by Saarinen, including Dulles International Airport, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, and the TWA terminal at JFK International Airport, New York. In 1966, they founded Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo, and Associates in Hamden, Connecticut.
Roche’s designs include the Zesiger Sports and Fitness Center, MIT; Oakland Museum, California; Deere West Office Building, Moline, Illinois; the Ford Foundation Building, New York; the Power Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan; U.N. Plaza, New York; and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Center for Folk Art, Williamsburg, Virginia. Roche was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize; the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects; the Gold Medal for Architecture from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters; the California Governor’s Award for Excellence in Design; and a Grande Medaille d’Or from the French Acadamie d’Architecture, which also elected him a member.