Fernando Vazquez, the prolific architect who designed sports arenas including the San Francisco 49ers' new stadium and took on smaller projects including restaurants and community centers, has died.
Vazquez died April 17 at a Santa Monica hospital from stomach cancer, his daughter Jasmine told the Los Angeles Times. He was 59.
In addition to the new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Vazquez was instrumental in the renovation of Memorial Stadium at the University of California, Berkeley, and the construction of the University of Southern California's Galen Center basketball arena.
The native of Uruguay frequently accepted more modest, socially oriented jobs, such as the El Centro del Pueblo neighborhood center and a Planned Parenthood headquarters in Los Angeles, the newspaper said.
In addition, he helped found KFX Design, a Tokyo firm that designs retail centers, restaurants and housing projects in Japan.
He also designed the Bikestation in Long Beach, where pedaling commuters can store their bicycles and get minor repairs. It was said to be the first in the U.S. when its prototype opened in 1996, according to the Times.
"He was always working," said architect Greg Baker, a colleague at HNTB, the big architecture firm where Vazquez had been a design director since 2003. "He once told me that his idea of a vacation was going down to the lobby for a New York Times."
With a master's degree in architecture from the University of California, Los Angeles, Vazquez was steeped in knowledge of architectural history. At a 2011 news conference unveiling the design of Levi's Stadium, Vazquez came with pictures of ancient Roman amphitheaters.
"We love the metaphor," he said, "because the 49ers' style of play elevated the game to a beautiful thing. So we thought the idea of looking at football as high performance art was appropriate."
Vazquez's survivors include his wife, Analia Dichiara, and children Jasmine, Justo and Felix; brothers Gustavo and Pepe; and his parents, Edina and Julio.