William “Bill” Menking, a summer resident of Greenport for 24 years, passed away on Saturday, April 11, 2020, at his Tribeca, Manhattan, loft after a long battle with cancer. He was an architectural historian and educator who was co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Architect’s Newspaper. He was 72 and is survived by his wife, Diana Darling, and their daughter, Halle.
Bill was born at the Ramey Air Force Base in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, in 1947 and raised in Stockton, Calif. He attended University of California, Berkeley, to study architecture and urban studies from 1967 to 1972.
Bill was an invaluable part of the architecture community of New York as well as nationally and internationally. Best known for founding The Architect’s Newspaper with Diana Darling in 2003, he was also a prolific curator and writer. He was on the board of directors at the Storefront for Art and Architecture and The Architecture Lobby, as well as a tenured professor and trustee at Pratt Institute. He wrote several books, organized many exhibitions, and was the curator of the 2008 U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture.
For Bill, art was his life and he made life into an art. His zest for life and love for travel took him around the world, most of all to Italy; he literally attended every Venice Architecture Biennale since it started in 1980.
Always keeping social responsibility in mind, in 1974 and 1975 he worked as an organizer for the United Farm Workers, helping establish labor unions in rural towns in central and southern California, before landing in downtown New York City at a time of a vibrant art scene. He worked as a server at Studio 54, and he loved hosting at his Tribeca loft.
Bill began working in the early ’80s as a location scout for film and TV in New York. This led him to sunny and decrepit Miami, where he took up an art director post on “Miami Vice”; his contributions to the show helped rehabilitate many of Miami’s now-celebrated modern and Art Deco buildings. In the ’90s, he moved to London to attend the Bartlett School of Architecture.
He was a longtime summer resident of Greenport, Long Island, where he was an avid gardener and host of lavish summer barbecues at his house, where he had a large collection of small models and paintings of boats that he purchased on eBay.
Memorial contributions can be made at Pratt Institute (giving.pratt.edu) for a student travel fund in honor of Bill Menking.
This is a paid notice.