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Remembering Blossom Architect Peter van Dijk

a photo of Blossom Music Center architect Peter van Dijk
Peter van Dijk in his living room in 2018. In addition to being one of Ohio's most celebrated architects, van Dijk was a champion swimmer well into his 80s.

Peter van Dijk, the renowned Cleveland architect who designed Blossom Music Center, died Sept. 7 at the age of 90. In a career spanning more than five decades, van Dijk designed some of Northeast Ohio’s most recognizable buildings.

Born to Dutch parents in Indonesia, Van Dijk studied at M.I.T and got his start working for Eero Saarinen, the famed architect behind the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

He came to Cleveland in the ‘60s to design the Celebreeze Federal Building. He led the restoration of the Ohio and State theaters in Playhouse Square.

But it’s his design of Blossom that has touched the ears of countless visitors.

In a 2018 interview, van Dijk told WKSU how much he loved sitting on the lawn for Cleveland Orchestra summer concerts.

"We bring the fried chicken. The other guy brings fabulous wines. Somebody will bring the cheeses. And we get there early enough (that) we have the perfect site right in the middle and just have a good, good time," he said with a smile. 

A champion swimmer, van Dijk won multiple golds at the Montreal Masters World Championship at the age of 85. He was inducted into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.

Mark Arehart joined the award-winning WKSU news team as its arts/culture reporter in 2017. Before coming to Northeast Ohio, Arehart hosted Morning Edition and covered the arts scene for Delaware Public Media. He previously worked for KNKX in Seattle, Kansas Public Radio, and KYUK in Bethel, Alaska.