Newport Beach architect dies at 90

William E. ‘Bill’ Blurock: April 27, 1922 — June 12, 2012

William E. "Bill" Blurock and his firm contributed to building of area high schools, OCC library and more.

June 20, 2012|By Brittany Woolsey
  • Artist: Architect Bll Blurock designed many area buildings including the Segerstrom Center. Blurock died June 12 at the age of 90.
Artist: Architect Bll Blurock designed many area buildings…

William E. "Bill" Blurock, a Newport Beach resident and celebrated architect, has died. He was 90. Blurock died after never recovering from an emergency surgery to fix a ruptured colon June 12.

During his lifetime, and with the help of his architecture firm, the Blurock Partnership, now tBP/architecture, Blurock contributed to the building of several nationwide — and California — schools, including Corona del Mar and Estancia high schools, and the Orange Coast College library.

An earlier version incorrectly reported the name of the firm as tDP/architecture. Also, it was originally reported that his birthday was April 22. It was April 27.

He is also the architect of Segerstrom Hall at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, formerly named the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

Blurock's live-in companion and caregiver remembered him for his humble nature.

"Overall, a lot of Bill's success was due to being nice to people and appreciating them for who they were," Matt O'Toole said. "He certainly had a unique outlook on life for Newport Beach. He was almost an anti-elitist. He was open to anybody."


John McMurray, chief executive and board chairman at tDP/architecture, said Estancia was groundbreaking due to its unique one-building design. It also had department-based areas.

Estancia was an "open planning of clustered classrooms around an interior math commons and no doors on the classrooms," he said. "It was an environment which encouraged student engagements and conversations. The openness also allowed for teachers to team teach and maintain visual contact from the class space to the commons space and vice-versa."

Blurock also helped design schools around the world, including in Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Italy and Saudi Arabia. His company's American school in Rio de Janeiro won many international awards for its design and practical use of the site. The buildings were created with concrete on a sloping lot with a stream running through the middle. The lower portion of the lot used surplus dirt to create a play field. And, due to its tropical location, much of the usable space was open air and did not need much air conditioning.

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