Thursday, October 16, 2008

Petar Perasic: Obitiuary from the San Diego Union-Tribune


Petar Perisic; award-winning architect confronted global issues


October 15, 2008

Whether he was building a community center from recycled materials, designing a unique five-unit condominium project in Hillcrest or nurturing the talents of others, Petar Perisic always found creative ways to combine his passions for art, community and the environment.

Mr. Perisic, an artist and award-winning architect, last year founded Peri_scope, a downtown community center designed to raise awareness of global issues, especially global warming. He formed four large storage containers where visitors could find multimedia presentations on important issues.

He won design awards for several projects, including the Hammond Lofts on India Street and the Park to Bay Link Trolley Station at Park Boulevard and Market Street, which earned first prize at an International Design Competition for Mr. Perisic and his collaborator, sculptor Ante Marinovic.

Mr. Perisic died suddenly Sept. 30 while working at his design studio in downtown San Diego. The cause of death is pending. He was 42.

Friends and colleagues said Mr. Perisic had a way of making everyone feel as if he was their best friend.

“If he was talking to you at a party, asking what was going on in your life, everyone else in the room disappeared,” said friend Debby Kline. “He had the ability to make people feel connected.”

With his long, dark hair and a height of well over 6 feet, Mr. Perisic created a striking presence when he walked into a room, Kline said, but his presence was felt most deeply in the arts community through his support and encouragement.

He might help someone write a grant for an art project or showcase an emerging artist's work at Flux, the gallery he co-founded with Ken Miracle.

Mr. Perisic also taught at the NewSchool of Architecture & Design and at the University of San Diego.

“Petar loved to nurture the talent of others both through showcasing emerging artists from San Diego and Mexico in cross-border shows at Flux and in his teaching,” Miracle said.

Mr. Perisic was born June 8, 1966, in Serbia to Milojko and Emilija Perisic. The family, including an older brother, moved to the United States in 1969 and settled in a Cleveland suburb. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in architecture from Ohio State University.

Although their father was an architect, Milan “Mick” Perisic said his brother did not express an interest in architecture as a career until after their father's death.

Mr. Perisic moved to San Diego in 1993 after visiting a friend in Pacific Beach. He worked for Stu Segall Productions as an assistant to the art director until he established his own architectural firm, Perisic Design Studio.

He married Suzanne Stephens in 1998. The couple wed in Cleveland in one of the three Serbian Orthodox churches designed by his father.

His local works include a unique housing project in the heart of Hillcrest in which each unit is a hybrid of a loft and townhouse.

“It's a condominium project where the (five) units intertwine like branches on a tree. No single unit can stand on its own,” Miracle said of the project, which is under construction and known as the 5x5 lofts.

Mr. Perisic is survived by his wife, Suzanne of San Diego; his brother, Milan; and mother, Emilija Perisic of Cleveland.

He was buried Oct. 8 in Cleveland. A memorial will be held locally at a later date.

Blanca Gonzalez: (760) 737-7576;


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