[PRESS RELEASE] 30 years later, a gravestone for architecture’s ‘Man of Steel’

Raphael Soriano and a Basque shepherd. © J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2004.R.10)
Raphael Soriano and a Basque shepherd. © J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2004.R.10)

Raphael Soriano, designer of architectural landmark homes, receives final honor

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Oct. 19, 2018) -- The resting place of Raphael Soriano, one of the leading figures of mid-century modern architecture, will finally get a permanent marker to replace the cardboard sign that marked his grave for three decades.

On Sunday, Oct. 21, architecture professionals, educators and Soriano admirers will gather for the unveiling of Soriano's permanent headstone at the Home of Peach Memorial Park in Los Angeles. The Ceremony will be hosted by Cal Poly Pomona's College of Environmental Design, where Soriano spent the final years of his life as an architecture lecturer.

DATE: Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018
TIME: 1 p.m.
PLACE: Home of Peace Memorial Park, 4334 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles

Soriano passed away in 1988, with no family members to make funeral arrangements. His architecture department colleagues were able to raise enough money for a burial ceremony but not a permanent marker. The marker to be unveiled on Sunday was made possible by a fundraising campaign that produced 24 small individual contributions. The marker itself was designed by architecture alumna (’18) Kayley Ryan. "Our intention is to finish a process that started 30 years earlier,” said College of Environmental Design Dean Michael Woo who initiated the fundraising effort for Soriano’s permanent marker.

One of the leading visionaries of mid-century modern architecture, Soriano (August 1, 1904 – July 21, 1988) was renowned for his innovative use of steel and aluminum framing in his residential projects, at one point earning the nickname “Man of Steel.” Like architects of his generation he recognized the appeal of Southern California's Mediterranean climate and sought to connect indoor and outdoor spaces – a hallmark of the mid-century style.

Soriano designed about 151 structures during his career in Southern California, of which roughly 30 were realized, and only about a dozen remaining standing today. He spent his later years traveling as a researcher, architectural writer and lecturer. When he relocated to the region for the last time in 1985, he did not have an active practice. At the behest of Richard Chylinski, then the chair of the Department of Architecture at Cal Poly Pomona, Soriano was hired as a Special Sessions Instructor for the department's external degree program.

For more information about Raphael Soriano, and his connection to Cal Poly Pomona, visit

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