In Memory of Walter Moleski, 1936-2019
December 19, 2019
It is with great sadness that we recognize the passing of renowned professor Walter H. Moleski on November 30. Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Walter first became interested in architecture as a child and he later graduated from the Tulane Architecture School in 1960. Returning to Philadelphia he worked for several architectural firms including Louis Sauer and GBQC before starting a partnership with George Manos.
While practicing architecture, he commuted to New York to do graduate work in Environmental Psychology at the City University of New York. The link between architecture and psychology became the focus of his intellectual pursuits for the rest of his career as he investigated design’s profound effect on people’s psychological and social well-being. He was the author of several publications including Designing for Human Behavior (1974) and Functionalism Revisited (2010) with co-author Jon Lang. He won several awards including one from Progressive Architecture for a study he did regarding South Philadelphia Historic Sites. In 2002, he received the Environmental Design Research Association’s Career Award.
Passionate about both architecture and education, Walt taught and lectured extensively about programming, environmental psychology, architecture, humanities, industrial design, and other subjects at many local and national colleges and universities.
Most notably, he taught at Drexel University from 1977 until 2008, serving for ten years as Assistant Department Head of Architecture. He was dedicated to his students, many of whom took night classes while working long hours during the day in architects’ offices. He was a staunch advocate that these students receive the best possible education in architecture that the school could provide. Much beloved by his students for his outgoing personality, good-natured teasing and deep insight, his pedagogical legacy is lasting and profound.
Nine years ago, Walter suffered from the first of what would be a series of strokes. As a result, he suffered from expressive aphasia. Although it was a challenge for him to talk, his health issues did not diminish his spirit or the pleasure he took in reading, painting, or spending time with friends and family. He is survived by his wife Aileen, his son Charles, daughter-in-law Stephanie McConnell Moleski M.D. and two grandsons Bryce (13) and Luke (11).
A memorial service will be held at Christ Church (2nd and Market Streets) on January 11, 2020 at 11:00 AM. Drexel University’s Department of Architecture, Design and Urbanism is accepting donations for a travel fund being established in Walter’s memory.