Youngstown Italian American Architect P. Arthur D’Orazio

Questo riassunto è di un’intervista de ‘La Gazzetta’ a Joel D’Orazio  sul padre di Joel, Pasquale Arthur D’Orazio, un architetto molto rispettato a Youngstown. Joel parla delle origini italiane di suo padre ed anche della sua educazione. Joel descrive dei disegni più noti di suo padre a Youngstown in particolare 4 scuole, 2 chiese, e 2 edifici per uffici. Pasquale aveva una carriera ricca di successo e ha ancora una lunga reputazione per il suo lavoro.

Pasquale Arthur D’Orazio, 1909-2000, achieved acclaim as a prolific American architect who left a rich legacy in the Mahoning Valley and Northeast Ohio. He designed modern buildings that continue to excite interest. By 1985, his portfolio contained over 500 completed projects including, schools, churches, libraries, banks, apartment buildings, residences, and a post office. Let’s get to know more about D’Orazio from his son, Joel D’Orazio, himself an architect and artist.

La Gazzetta (LG): We appreciate this opportunity to learn about your father and his achievements in architecture. To begin, can you let our readers know about his Italian roots? Where was he raised in Youngstown? 

D’Orazio: My paternal grandfather was from San Martino in Pensilis and my paternal grandmother from Montelongo, both towns in the province of Campobasso, in today’s region of Molise. Dad was born on Youngstown’s East Side, on Oak Street, to be precise. He graduated from Rayen High School. 

LG: Montelongo was also the town where noted Youngstown building contractor, Louis Adovasio, was born. He built the Milton Dam which saved Youngstown from severe, periodic flooding.

D’Orazio: My paternal grandmother, Angelina Adovasio, was a cousin of Louis Adovasio. 

LG: What about your father’s education and formative years in architecture?

D’Orazio: In 1934, he graduated from the School of Architecture at Carnegie Institute of Technology. As a demolition squad leader and later captain, he served in WWII in the Army Corps of Engineers. After the war, he returned to his partnership in Youngstown with Myron Goodwin. Later, my father served as a member of many prestigious organizations such as the Youngstown Chamber of Commerce and the Cincinnati Conference for Religious Architecture. He was elected president of the Ohio Society of Architects and also of the Eastern Ohio Chapter of the American Institute of Architecture.

LG: I attended Ursuline High School, where the large addition was designed by your father, yet I never knew until recently that he drew the plans for my alma mater. What other buildings would Youngstowners be familiar with that came from his drawing board?

D’Orazio: Residents of the Mahoning Valley have probably seen most of these: Sts. Peter and Paul School; Girard Elementary; Summit Elementary; Bel-Park Professional Building; Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Canfield; Cardinal Mooney High School; St. James Catholic Church, Warren; and the former Union National Bank, Youngstown. 

LG: Your father’s style is often cited as “Mid-Century Modern.” What features define this characteristic?

D’Orazio: Taking advantage of new building materials, this style features clean lines, large windows, open floor plans and function over ornamentation. It defines most American building designs after WWII. 

LG: I can see sets of blocks in your toy chest when you were growing up. What can you say about your own career as an architect and artist? 

D’Orazio: My brother and I had no choice but to pursue an architectural education and see where that would lead. It definitely rubbed off on us. We are both visual people influenced by everything modern. I do possess a certain aesthetic that I carried and developed in my architecture and my art. I appreciate good classic architecture also but feel it should not be produced by today’s designers.

LG: Thanks so much. I think many of our readers will now have a greater appreciation for your father’s achievements in beautifying our community.