NEW YORK -- Giorgio Cavaglieri, an architect who designed airfields for Italian dictator Benito Mussolini before fleeing to the United States and spurring the urban preservation movement, has died at the age of 95.
Mr. Cavaglieri, who was born in Venice, died Tuesday at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan from internal bleeding, said his nephew, Andrew Tesoro.
"He was vehemently anti- Fascist, and he didn't know his work would be ultimately Fascist-related," said Tesoro, who called Mr. Cavaglieri "a great New Yorker."
The architect's name is linked to some of the city's most famous buildings.
Mr. Cavaglieri transformed the old Astor Library in the East Village into Joseph Papp's Public Theater, and created the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.
The Jefferson Market Library in Greenwich Village, a onetime Victorian courthouse with a turret, is considered by many to be the first successful preservation of a historic building in New York City.
These and other buildings, includ ing town houses on the Upper East Side with elegant red granite fronts, helped shape the architectural preservation movement.
"He was a proponent of the philosophy that old buildings are not meant to be frozen in time and placed on an altar, but to be adapted to a changing world," Tesoro said.
For the Jefferson Market Library, rebuilt in the 1960s, Mr. Cavaglieri had the cellar excavated to make more reading rooms, built a catwalk above the main reading room, and set a sleek glass door into the carved limestone stair tower.
Mr. Cavaglieri was the consummate Italian gentleman. Tall and slender, he wore tweed jackets, knitted ties, and suede shoes, driving around in his small Italian sports car. He also took the subway, climbing the steps into his 90s, said Tesoro, who worked with his uncle.