Noted Affordable Housing Architect Passes Away

Peter MacKenzie AIA, 50, died March 21, 2012, at Stanford Medical Center, surrounded in the comfort and love of his wife, Nina, and their only child, Paige Josephine, 18.

Peter MacKenzie AIA, 50, died March 21, 2012, at Stanford Medical Center, surrounded in the comfort and love of his wife, Nina, and their only child, Paige Josephine, 18. MacKenzie’s death was also eased by the presence of his older brother, John, and John’s partner, Greg Vega. MacKenzie had been receiving treatment at Stanford for brain cancer GBM since June 2011, yet his death was unexpected and swift. His ferocious strength and courage both during his treatment and on his final day was a testament to his splendid life.

MacKenzie studied architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1983.

As a student at UC Berkeley in 1983, he began a professional internship with David Baker FAIA, which led to his first design position as the firm’s third employee. MacKenzie spent his full career at this firm. MacKenzie became licensed as an architect in 1988 and was made Partner of the firm, now known as David Baker + Partners, in early 2001. MacKenzie guided more than three dozen developments through the design and construction process, creating more than 2,500 new homes throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The projects he lead in the firm garnered more than 60 local and national design awards and were widely published. In total his built work exceeds $500M in construction value. His work and talent contributed greatly to the firm being selected as the 2012 Distinguished Practice by the AIA California Council.

MacKenzie’scareer spans nearly three decades of the creative, management and technical aspects of architectural practice. He was a master in design, construction document preparation, and construction administration. Skilled in a wide range of project types, MacKenzie had a special talent for housing, including custom homes, lofts, senior housing, homeless programs, farmworker housing and affordable multi-family housing. His latest work focused on the re-use and renovation of existing buildings and on sustainable affordable housing. Many of his project were awarded design recognition and several of his projects were created in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Pilot Programs and became early built examples of what is increasingly becoming the sustainability standard in green building. He was also responsible for two gracious hotels in Healdsburg, California, as well as numerous commercial buildings in Berkeley, Calif=. His most recent completed project, the Drs. Julian and Raye Richardson Apartments, providing 120 green homes for formerly homeless residents in SF,  =just received a 2012 National AIA Housing Award.

MacKenzie valued his trusted long-term relationships with partners David Baker and Kevin Wilcock as well as clients, such as Holliday Development, BRIDGE Housing, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Co, MidPen Housing, and Mercy Housing California. MacKenzie was known for his level-headed leadership, and over the years he served as a stern mentor for many young designers and architects, and guided many development teams through the complicated process of creating large, urban infill buildings.  Examples of MacKenzie’s award-winning work can be seen at

A public memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 21, 2012, at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland where Peter will later be interred. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, bereft friends may wish to support Peter’s long-time client and collaborator Mercy Housing California [] or a charity of their choice. Please share your own images and memories of Peter at

You May Also Like