SARASOTA, FL, February 20, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ -- William P. Graff has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.
With more than four decades of architectural practice, William Pancsovai Graff has been recognized as an outstanding practitioner in that profession. Born in Budapest, Hungary, to Vilmos Pancsovai Graff II and Klara Pejtsik in 1925, Mr. Graff's career spanned many countries. Educated in his early years in Italy, he grew up among some of the most famous structures of the world. Back in Hungary, he obtained his master's degree at the Budapest Technical University, one of the four such institutions in Europe at that time.
Due to political considerations, Mr. Graff escaped from Hungary in 1949, and worked in Rome until his emigration to Canada in 1951. While there, he worked at Marani and Morris and John B. Parkin in Toronto on both the Crown Life and the Confederation Life buildings.
In 1954, he was fortunate to gain entry into the United States, working first with Maguolo and Quick in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1956, he joined Hugh Stubbins and Associates in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he participated in the design of Boston's first condominium at 330 Beacon St., as well as plans for the Berlin Kongress Halle, a gift from the United States to that city.
When Walter Gropius' The Architects Collaborative group was awarded the design of the Baghdad University by King Feisal of Iraq, Mr. Graff was one of an architectural group which moved to Rome in 1960 for the design of this challenging 11,000-student project, which included housing not only for the students but also for the faculty and all their families, with religious, medical and educational accommodations. During the 2002 Iraqi war, the campus was incredibly undamaged.
In 1962, Mr. Graff joined the Societa Generale Immobiliare in Rome to lead the Studio Gabor Acs, which was entrusted with several international projects, the most important of these being the Watergate Project in Washington, D.C., whose primary designer was Luigi Moretti of Rome. Other major projects were the Tour de La Bourse with Pier Luigi Nervi and the Port Royal residencies in Montreal, the Hotel Mirabeau in Monte Carlo and the 82 Champs d'Elysees in Paris. In 1964, Mr. Graff was selected as the project architect for the Watergate and moved back to the United States with his family.
By 1967, Mr. Graff and Henry C. Holle had formed the Holle and Graff Partnership in Washington, D.C. Large condominium projects in the Capital City area followed, among them: the Watergate at Landmark, the Rotonda, the Montebello, the Porto Vecchio and the Belvedere, as well as office buildings, such as the International Club at 1800 and the office complex at 1801 K St. NW, and the Wink and Westin City Center Hotels. Following these projects, the partnership designed the twin office buildings at 8200 Greensboro Drive, McLean, Virginia, for IDI, and the Bush Hill and Hoffman Office Center in Alexandria, Virginia, as well as those in Maryland, such as the One Central Plaza on Rockville Pike, the National Central Research, the Plaza 270 and the headquarters of the National Cash Register Co. buildings in Rockville, Maryland. Before his leaving Holle and Graff, this partnership developed the area's first Leisure World on Aspen Hill, Maryland.
His most exciting personal project was the design of the first two solar houses in Washington, D.C., one of which was Mr. Graff's private residence on Arizona Terrace, NW. The most interesting and challenging opportunity, both architectural and diplomatic for him, was his engagement by the United States Department of State's Foreign Buildings Office from 1983 to 1988, to participate in the negotiations with the government of Hungary for the settlement of the 15 expropriated American real estate properties in Budapest. Ambassador Nicholas M. Salgo, of conglomerate fame, led the negotiations for almost two years, assisted by Mr. Graff's language skills, personal contacts and familiarity with local architectural practice. Part of the successful settlement was the building of an American International School in the Buda Hills, the renovation of all diplomatic residences and the construction of new housing for the growing members of the diplomatic staff.
Prior to retiring, Mr. Graff joined Ralph Parsons for the planning of Yanbu City, Saudi Arabia, in 1982 during which assignment he was entrusted with the design of a vacation palace on the Red Sea for the Royal Saudi Dynasty. It was in 1983 that the invitation from the U.S. Department of State's Foreign Buildings Office arrived for him to join negotiations in Budapest. Mr. Graff is grateful to both his native and adoptive countries, and he gladly accepted this task. Due to his outstanding achievements, he was honored in numerous editions of Who's Who in America. His partnership received several awards from builders' groups. He was a member of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta beginning in 1972 and of the American Institute of Architects.
In 1959, the year he was naturalized, Mr. Graff married Clara Lenke Marot in Stamford, Connecticut. They went on to become the proud parents of four grown children: Marcella, Carlo, Guido and Mattias, as well as six grandchildren: Chiara, Fabiola, Fiona, Lily, William and Henry. Mr. Graff passed away in 2019, after a long and fulfilling life.
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