David Ming-Li Lowe ’54

David LoweDavid Ming-Li Lowe ’54, passed away on September 24, 2013, in Los Angeles, California.

Born in Shanghai to a father who was a foreign-service officer for the Chinese Nationalist Party, the Kuomingtang, and a graduate of the University of Chicago, David was educated in Calcutta, India, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the U.S., and was, in his early years, “a mirror of the political, social, and economic make-up of my diplomat parents.”

At the encouragement of his older brother, David enrolled at Reed. “My two years at Reed were years of change and discovery. For someone as naive as I, secluded from society by gated prep schools, the freedom of action, the newly made acquaintance of the other sex, and the involvement of weightier issues all helped to form the person I am today.”

In particular, he enjoyed the company of his good friend Karl Metzenberg ’54. David studied in the combined program in engineering with Reed and MIT, but left the program after being recruited by California State Polytechnic, where he earned a BS in architectural engineering. He then obtained a BS in architecture and environmental design from USC, graduating in 1957 with the honor award for best design by the American Institute of Architecture Students (now Association of Student Chapters, AIA).

David and Willoughby Greenwood ’55 married in 1959; the couple had a son and parted ways five years later.

During the time that followed, David decided to pursue his interest in film. He completed a master’s degree in theatre arts through the motion picture department at UCLA in 1972. He made numerous musical promotion films and 4 feature films in the nearly 12 years he worked in the field. With the revenue he earned, he invested in local property. He returned to architecture and later married Adrienne J. Lowe; they were together until her death in 2007 and raised a daughter. David taught architecture in the School of Environmental Design at California Polytechnic State University in Pomona and at Los Angeles City College. His own practice as an architect began with industrial, large-scale projects using steel. He did mid-scale residential, commercial, and institutional work, and designed buildings that were earthquake resistant, introducing and utilizing the GERB vibration control system. He was largely responsible for the Lockheed-Martin complex at Sunnyvale, and best known for a number of notable residences of imaginative design. In 1994, the Southern California Chapter AIA selected David as one of 100 California architects with significant work in the last 100 years.

Survivors include his children, two grandchildren, and a sister.

2 thoughts on “David Ming-Li Lowe ’54”

  1. David was my instructor regarding blueprint reading at Rio Hondo Jr. College back in the early days. I am indebted to his memory and wonderful enlightenment as I still live today.

  2. I met David when he offered a class in “Visual Architecture” in the evenings at Cal Poly Pomona back in the seventies. We became fast friends, and, at the end of the year, me having had too much “real world” experience, and David being so far ahead of the faculty, we both left the school. He was at that time building a house with two partners, one being Karl. David asked me if I would do some landscape design for his house because he wanted to “have my hand on his home”. David was one of my major mentors…a man of amazing inspiration and depth. As a second-generation architect, I went on to work with my father, winning an architectural award for the “ best body of work in any 25yr period”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.