David Dillon, R.I.P.

A note just went around the newsroom at the Dallas Morning News. They’re working on the obit. Meantime, here’s the memo:

We have some sad news. Longtime architecture critic David Dillon has died suddenly of a massive heart attack at his home in Massachusetts. He was 68. Most recently, David did freelance work for us on some of Dallas’ biggest architectures stories, including Cowboys Stadium and the AT&T Performing Arts Center, in addition to writing books, teaching and consulting. He played a key role in the Tipping Points series. Previously, he was our staff critic and had a huge profile here as well as nationally.


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  • Topham Beauclerk

    This is so sad. He was an extremely astute critic of architecture and planning. His work made a tangible difference for good in this city.

  • willard spiegelman

    David was my colleague 35 years ago at SMU, before he left Academe to pursue his new career in journalism and architecture. He was a superb teacher, writer, and intellectual. He had begun teaching again, recently, at UMass (Amherst) and brought to the classroom — according to our mutual friends — the same zest and energy he brought to all of his other endeavors. I saw him last year here, at the Nasher, on a panel about Ray Nasher’s legacy. He was superb.

  • Jeanne Prejean

    I, like Willard, remember him at SMU. . . only differently. He was the hot young prof and we all had major crushes on him.

  • Bill Marvel

    I sometimes wonder if Dallas ever realized how lucky we were to have him. Certainly there were doubts when he wrote his controversial piece for D Magazine on why Houston had better architecture than Dallas. He was — as almost always — dead right.

  • Patricia O’Flaherty

    I had Professor Dillon for one of my Graduate courses at UMASS Amherst and I am deeply shocked and saddened to hear of his loss. He was one of the best teachers I have encountered and I was looking forward to his stern encouragement in future classes and I am at a loss to think what it will be like without him.

    Patricia O’
    UMASS M.Arch ’12

  • Laray

    On several occasions I consulted with David about a Gehry building. He had written an article (the article) on Starchitecture; it was a meaty, paradigm shifting essay on the politics of campus architecture. A few years ago, I was at that Gehry building in Mass. being interviewed by a video crew of college students. They wanted to know where to go to find out more about what was being discussed–I could only tell them to read Dillion’s article as a starting point, and assure them that they would figure out the rest on their own. People who think original thoughts and dare to state them in the open are rare. He will be missed.


  • Rawlins Gilliland

    FYI~~Note; people commenting on this respected man’s death using their actual names, openly standing by what they write about someone whose work they admired. No kids in the hall buck shots here.

    That said~~
    Dillon’s writing stirred my thinking as I followed his trail-of-thought essays. I never once recall feeling he was pandering. Opinionated, even harsh…but never trite or mean-spirited. I really looked at his DMN work as proof that a great newspaper has & hires & retains great people on staff. When he exited, it reminded me how true that is. At which point my subscription lapsed.

  • Christine

    Lee Cullum interviewed him for D Home a few years back. It’s a great piece. Terribly sad news.


  • He will be missed. I never met him but got to trade a couple of e-mails with him. One of my fave articles was the one about the Mckinney Ave strip center across from the Crescent.

    As shown by Christine’s link above, the man had great taste in houses. I didn’t know that 5381 Nakoma was one of his faves, as it is mine.

  • Grrrr!

    You know what sucks? If you go to the DMN website looking for the paper’s obit of Dillon, you have to work hard to find it. It’s not news that dallasnews.com is a horrible website, but you’d think that when one of the paper’s veteran stars dies, they’d at least showcase his obituary. You’d think.