Obituaries : Pioneering Architect R. Soriano

Raphael Soriano, an architect best known for his pioneering use of steel framing in a series of homes and office buildings across Southern California, was found dead Saturday at his Claremont home.

His longtime friend, Richard Chylinski, said the Greek-born engineer and planner was 83 and had been in apparent good health. A specific cause of death has not been reported.

Sam Hall Kaplan, The Times' architecture critic, last May called attention to Soriano's "reasoned marriage between architecture and engineering." The comment was occasioned by Cal Poly Pomona's School of Environmental Design paying tribute to Soriano, who had returned to the Los Angeles area from Northern California three years ago.

He since had been teaching at Cal Poly.

A 1934 graduate of the University of Southern California, which honored him in 1986 with its Distinguished Alumnus Award, Soriano was admired for his elegant homes designed since World War II.

Unlike many architects, Soriano did not have a large practice, preferring to stay with his all-metal concepts even when they did not prove commercially successful.

Designs for which he is best known here include the Case Study House in Pacific Palisades, the Shulman House in the Hollywood Hills (declared a historical-cultural monument last year) and the Colby apartment complex on Beverly Green Drive in Palms that has since been demolished.

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