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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, November 3, 2003

Philip Chu, known for library designs, dead at 83

Advertiser Staff

Philip M. Chu, noted architect of more than 70 college libraries and dormitories, died Oct. 27 in Honolulu. He was 83.

Chu was born in Shanghai, China, on Dec. 10, 1919, and immigrated to the United States during World War II. He attended Oberlin College in Ohio and the University of Michigan.

In the 1950s, Chu joined the architectural firm O'Connor and Kilham, and after 20 years became the managing partner of the firm Kilham, Beder and Chu.

Chu was best known for his designs of college libraries, which his family said blended "modern influences from such innovators as Frank Lloyd Wright, the Oriental use of space and exterior design together with the traditional materials." Critics characterized his designs as "warm and inviting," his family said in a written statement.

Among his designs were the Robert Frost Library at Amherst College, which was dedicated by President John Kennedy; the library at Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia; the Barnard College library in New York; and dormitories at West Point. He also was the architect of the first modern wing of the U.S. National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Md.

In 1988 Chu and his wife, Esther, moved to Honolulu.

In addition to his wife, Chu is survived by sons, Dr. James Chu and the Rev. Ernest Chu; and grandchildren, Christopher and Jonathan.

Services have been held.