Trump Plaza. Trump Place. Trump Park Avenue. Trump World Tower. Trump International Hotel and Tower. They all have another name in common:
Mr. Kondylis was the architect of choice for Donald J. Trump and other developers of luxury apartment towers in New York for three decades. He died on Aug. 17 at his home in Manhattan at 78.
The cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease, his daughter Alexia Leuschen said.
“My concern is to create value for the developer, because they’re my clients,” Mr. Kondylis told The New York Times in 2007.
Mr. Kondylis (pronounced kon-DEE-lis) was a senior partner at Philip Birnbaum & Associates from 1979 to 1989, when he founded Costas Kondylis & Associates. That practice, renamed Costas Kondylis & Partners in 2001, dissolved in 2009.
“Costas was an incredible friend to our family and a remarkable architect,” Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump of the Trump Organization said in a joint statement on Thursday. “He leaves behind an amazing legacy.”
President Trump checked in with Mr. Kondylis throughout his illness, Ms. Leuschen said.
As an architect, Mr. Kondylis did not so much have an aesthetic style as a business formula. He provided developers with efficient, marketable, dependable, comfortable buildings. The designs won few prizes or critical plaudits, but they also caused few headaches for those who financed and built them.
“His clients trusted him on their projects to find the sweet spot between machines for living and profitability,” the architect David West said on Thursday. Mr. West is a founding partner of Hill West, which was formed by three alumni of the Kondylis firm.
Mr. Kondylis worked by the numbers, and the numbers were impressive. “From 2000 to 2007, he designed 65 buildings — so, one building every six weeks,” the website The Real Deal calculated.
“I do the conservative approach, like Mercedes-Benz,” Mr. Kondylis told The Times in 2011. (Automotive analogies came easily to a man who enjoyed collecting Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Maseratis.)
Trump World Tower, completed in 2001, was a striking 861-foot-tall exception to his conservatism. Erupting from a block opposite the United Nations, it was a monolithic slab of bronze glass so dark that it almost appeared black from some angles at certain times of day.
Mr. Kondylis was credited with persuading Mr. Trump not to clad the building in gold-tinted glass, though in his characteristically courtly way he demurred. “We discussed it together,” he said.
In retrospect, Trump World Tower can be seen as setting Manhattan on course to being a modern-day, stratospheric version of the medieval Italian city of San Gimignano, with a skyline pierced by a dozen or more towers for the rich and powerful, far out of proportion to anything around them.
Though Trump World Tower has since been dwarfed by a new generation of super-tall apartment buildings, like 432 Park Avenue, it was phenomenally tall in its day — so tall that the Trump Organization marketed it as a 90-story residence. (There are actually only 72 floor levels.)
Well-heeled neighbors were infuriated by its size, and preservationists were dismayed that a new skyscraper visually overshadowed the United Nations Secretariat Building.
But Trump World Tower had important admirers. Terence Riley, then the chief curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art, said in 2002 that the tower was his favorite new building in New York. And Herbert Muschamp, who was then The Times’s architecture critic, described it as “undeniably the most primal building New York has seen in quite a while.”
“The tower’s appeal is as much polemical as it is aesthetic,” he wrote. “It punches through the morbid notion that the Midtown skyline should be forever dominated by two Art Deco skyscrapers, the Empire State and Chrysler buildings, as if these cherished icons couldn’t stand the competition.”
Mr. Muschamp contrasted Trump World Tower with the six “reactionary” buildings Mr. Kondylis designed — three in association with Philip Johnson — at Trump Place, along the southern extension of Riverside Park in Manhattan.
Guidelines developed by six civic, environmental and neighborhood groups in concert with the Trump Organization were meant to encourage buildings that evoked Central Park West. The towers, however, turned out to be “awkward giants, glorious to look out (at the river and palisades) and inglorious to look at,” the “AIA Guide to New York City” said.
Mr. Kondylis also reshaped the skyline around West 42nd Street with the twin Silver Towers for Larry A. Silverstein. “If I’m going to do a residential building in New York, the most natural thing in the world is to pick up the phone and call Costas,” Mr. Silverstein said in 2007.
Constantine Andrew Kondylis was born on April 17, 1940, in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi. (The city was known at the time as Usumbura.) His parents, Vassiliki and Andreas Constantine Kondylis, were Greek citizens. His father opened a chain of general stores in Africa.
Costas, as everyone called him, earned a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Geneva and, in 1969, a master’s degree in urban design from Columbia University.
From 1972 to 1979, Mr. Kondylis worked at the New York architectural firm Davis, Brody Associates, now Davis Brody Bond, principally on projects in Iran.
For the Trump Organization, Mr. Kondylis designed the reconstruction of the Gulf & Western Building at Columbus Circle as the Trump International Hotel and Tower, in collaboration with Mr. Johnson; the conversion of the Hotel Delmonico, at Park Avenue and East 59th Street, as the Trump Park Avenue; and the residential conversion of the Mayfair Hotel, at Park Avenue and East 65th Street.
Besides Ms. Leuschen, Mr. Kondylis is survived by another daughter, Katherine Cary Kondylis; four grandchildren; and two sisters, Mary Kalogreas and Penelope Kondylis. His marriage to Gretchen Barnes ended in divorce. His second marriage, to Lori Lotte Neuner, ended with her death in 1995.
Architecture may have been Mr. Kondylis’s great love, but it was not his first.
“His best childhood memory was lying on the back ledge of the interior of the new Studebaker my grandfather had delivered to Bujumbura each year while they lived there, and looking up at the sky as his parents drove around,” Ms. Leuschen said in an email. “His earliest wish was to be a car designer, but my grandmother directed him to architecture.”
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