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Memories & Candles

“I know Annie is a remarkable woman....I never had the privledge to meet or know Kevin, but it's clear to me that too is remarkable man, who...Read More »
1 of 24 | Posted by: Liz carren - Uxbridge, MA

“I am so very sorry to hear about Kevin's passing. Although I didn't know him well, I experienced him as an incredibly generous person. Through a...Read More »
2 of 24 | Posted by: Ines Sommer - Chicago, IL

“I knew Kevin to be understated intellectually, softly funny, and easily generous. And like our friend Leslie Simmer said above, because of their...Read More »
3 of 24 | Posted by: Mary Brogger - CA - friend

“All the tributes to Kevin testify to the magnitude of the loss for those of us who knew him, for Chicago, and for everything in this world that needs...Read More »
4 of 24 | Posted by: Bob and Sarah Peters - Chicago, IL

“Kevin was my first friend in Chicago, and we remained friends for 23 years. He was warm, smart, collegial, and an undeniably crazy dreamer. We drove...Read More »
5 of 24 | Posted by: Luis Collado - Chicago, IL

“Please accept my condolences. I understand what a brave battle he fought. ”
6 of 24 | Posted by: Carole Gurbach - Tucson, AZ

“I never had the privilege of meeting Kevin, but I felt I had come to know him through his blog and the postings of his sister, Darcy. He must have...Read More »
7 of 24 | Posted by: Sharon Richardson - NC - friend

“I am so very sorry to hear of Kevin's passing. My thoughts go out to Annie and all of his family. Kevin was a great green pioneer and also "wise...Read More »
8 of 24 | Posted by: Claire Woolley - Chicago, MN

“Kevin was my thesis advisor during my second year of grad school at SAIC. I graduated in 2011 and we met that winter into spring to discuss my work....Read More »
9 of 24 | Posted by: Jessica Blemker Ferree - Pasadena, CA

“Kevin stood behind our California Dream Week sustainable design competition, acting as one of our judges in our 2012 edition. When we were...Read More »
10 of 24 | Posted by: melisa lasell - durham, CA

“I met Kevin while working at Farr Associates, my first job in the field of planning. But even after leaving the firm, I would hear his name in so...Read More »
11 of 24 | Posted by: Jamie Simone - Chicago, IL

“Sincere condolances Annie...My heart goes out to you. Love, Jamie ”
12 of 24 | Posted by: Jamie Ayers - Chicago, IL

“As a former colleague, I must admit Kevin challenged me. He often responded both rational and emotional which at that point, I was incapable of...Read More »
13 of 24 | Posted by: Patrick Thornton - Chicago, IL

“In addition to being artistic, Kevin had mechanical abilities, so he seemed like a magician to me ... but without the flashy showmanship. Kevin...Read More »
14 of 24 | Posted by: Keith Watson - Chicago, IL

“The paraphrase Kevin, there's a hole in my heart. The world has lost a bright and wonderful soul. Kevin's unflagging intellectual curiosity and sense...Read More »
15 of 24 | Posted by: Leslie Simmer - Chicago, IL

“It was an honor to know Kevin. He was a gentleman, with a devilish grin. So long, my friend. ”
16 of 24 | Posted by: Jim Dempsey - Chicago, IL

“Kevin represented the epitome of principles, passion and good sense. A model of excellence (and fun) in sustainability practice, Kevin showed us how...Read More »
17 of 24 | Posted by: Frances Whitehead - Chicago, IL

“Losing Kevin weighs heavily on me. More than I expected. The memory of which I recognize my gratitude to Kevin and Annie most is their unreserved...Read More »
18 of 24 | Posted by: Walter Andersons - Brooklyn, NY

“Thank you Kevin for your tireless commitment to sustainability and your many contributions to Chicago and our world. I too enjoyed countless...Read More »
19 of 24 | Posted by: drea howenstein - chicago, IL

“Felicity and I are very sad to hear about Kevin's passing and Annie's loss. We were privileged to be a part of several New Year's Day celebrations...Read More »
20 of 24 | Posted by: Vincent Michael - Los Gatos, CA

“What beautiful life dedicated to sustainable lifeways and impacting Chicago and beyond! Thank you Kevin. ”
21 of 24 | Posted by: Lisa Norton - Chicago, IL

“Thank you for your endless contributions to us and our city and our world. Rest in peace. ”
22 of 24 | Posted by: Chuck Blumenthal - Chicago, IL

“I read a lot of his blog. Wow. A brilliant and very kindly man, with so many moments as real as our own, or more. ”
23 of 24 | Posted by: John Shannon - Los Angeles, CA

“I met Kevin right after I came to work here at IGO in 2004. Kevin was already an IGO member and he and I hit it off right away. Kevin was the...Read More »
24 of 24 | Posted by: Richard Kosmacher - Chicago, IL


A pioneer in green architecture and sustainable development, Kevin Kurtz Pierce, 55, of Chicago, IL, passed away May, 2, 2013, following a "lengthy argument," as he drily referred to it, with glioblastoma multiforme.

For the past 15 years Pierce specialized in sustainable design. Memorable projects include the Chicago Center for Green Technology, the city's flagship green building and the first U.S. municipal structure to be certified "Platinum" by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Additional award-winning structures include Bethel Center and the Chicago headquarters of Christy Webber Landscapes.

As Sustainability Consultant for The Green Exchange, he helped create the country's first commercial real estate development to advance green business. He also designed more than 300 affordable, sustainably-designed housing units in Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

His designs won multiple Greenworks Awards from the City of Chicago, a Smart Growth Achievement award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and honors from the American Institute of Architects Chicago and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

Quarter century as an architect

He worked for a quarter century as an architect for renowned firms such as Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), Lohan Associates, Farr Associates and Shaw Environmental.

Since July 2011, he turned his sustainability focus to assume the position of chief operating officer for the Resource Center, a 40-year-old non-profit organization where he had been a volunteer for nearly a decade and had served as board chairman for five years. The Resource Center—through recycling, urban agriculture and additional programs—has promoted sustainability through creative reuse of unseen and neglected resources.
A vigorous advocate for urban agriculture, Kevin served as a steering committee member of the Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council and Advocates for Urban Agriculture, organizations dedicated to using community agriculture and local food systems.
Prior to being COO of the Resource Center, he was the director of Sustainable Design at Shaw Environmental and managing director of Shaw Sustainable Design Solutions.

A modest life in Wicker Park

Pierce resided in Chicago with Annie Morse, officially his wife since July 2012, in a modest brick house in Wicker Park. Their devotion to reuse of found materials, recycling and sustainability were well-known to friends and colleagues.

The highly social couple were familiar faces at art and architecture openings across Chicago, and celebrated the first day of each year by welcoming more than a hundred people at a New Year's Day open house at their eccentric home, with interior spaces redesigned by Kevin and filled with paintings by contemporary artists, most of whom the couple knew personally.

Despite the couple's hospitality, few of their houseguests knew of Kevin's many professional honors. They lived modestly.

The couple were virtually inseparable for a quarter century, signing a contract every five years (since 1989) at commitment ceremonies prior to being legally married.

He wrote a weblog about his illness, titled "There's a Hole in My Head."

From Chico to Chicago

Born in Boulder, CO, to Ann Dignan (née Trucksess), Kevin was adopted by James Pierce and grew up in Chico, CA. He received a bachelor's degree in architecture, graduating cum laude, in 1985 from the University of Oregon. He later attended the Professional Development Program at Harvard Graduate School of Design. He moved to Chicago in 1986.

His professional affiliations included the American Institute of Architects, for which he as an Illinois Board Member; member of American Planning Association, Congress for New Urbanism, Metropolitan Planning Council, Society for College & University Planning, U.S. Green Building Council and National Trust for Historic Preservation. In addition, he was an advisor to the Chicago Sustainable Business Alliance.

He is survived by wife Annie Morse of Chicago; mother, Ann T. Pierce, Chico, CA; sisters Alex O'Neill, of Chico, CA, and Darcy Enns, of Durham, CA; brothers Mark Pierce of Chico, CA and Jay Pierce of Seattle, WA; stepsister Lindell, of Sacramento, CA, stepbrother Brent Pierce of Coos Bay, OR; 11 much-loved nieces and nephews Jenny, Meredith, Casey, Jayne, Kellen, Maya, Lexi, Jesse, Kelsey, Maggie, and Sophia. He is preceded in death by James Pierce, his father, and niece Katie Kelley.

A private celebration of his life is being planned later in May. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Resource Center Chicago, 222 East 135th Pl., Chicago, Illinois 60827 (

Arrangements by Cremation Society of Illinois, 773-281-5058 or