Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Richard Jorasch


September 15, 1936 – May 8, 2012

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Richard Jorasch, an architect and artist who was a well-known figure in the Polk Street gay scene, died May 8, friends reported.

Most notably, Mr. Jorasch designed the University Art Museum in Berkeley.

Born in Utica, New York, on September 15, 1936, Mr. Jorasch moved with his parents and brother to Maple Heights (Cleveland) Ohio when he was 10 years old.

Officially, Mr. Jorasch's art career began while he was in high school and he was given the job as the art editor of the school's yearbook. He entered Cornell University with a full scholarship, graduated at the top of his class in design, and after graduation moved to New York City.

A year later Mr. Jorasch enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves for six months and afterwards received a one-year Fulbright Grant to the Royal Academy of Copenhagen in Denmark, which provided the base from which Mr. Jorasch could, along with some of his Fulbright friends, explore all of Scandinavia, most of Europe, St. Petersburg and Moscow, and the opportunity to visit most major art museums throughout Europe.

When Mr. Jorasch moved back to the U.S. he settled in San Francisco and became the lead designer for an architectural firm headed by Mario Ciampi. Fortunately, he and Ciampi shared the same interest in integrating art into architecture and among Mr. Jorasch's many design achievements while with this firm was his winning entry for the design of the University Art Museum in Berkeley. His design has since been reproduced in dozens of art and architecture books and magazines throughout the United States and abroad.

He later made a transition into photography. His photos were well received in San Francisco, having seven or eight exhibitions, and were featured in Drummer, a San Francisco-based international magazine that catered to the leather community. The editor, John Rowberry, wrote, "Richard Jorasch is the leader of the neo-classical San Francisco photographers."

He later arrived at helix-generated paintings.

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