In Memoriam: Nancy Ai-Tseng Miao Twitchell MArch ’60
On May 29, in Stamford, Connecticut, Nancy Ai-Tseng Miao Twitchell MArch ’60 passed away at the age of 92. Nancy was one of the first women architects to be elected FAIA by the American Institute of Architects. She held a Professorship at the Pratt Institute School of Architecture for 30 years and was a Partner at two of her own firms, Architects Design Group and Twitchell & Miao, Architects, which she founded with her husband, Terry Twitchell.
Please find an obituary published in the New York Times below:
Nancy Ai-Tseng Miao Twitchell, FAIA, Architect and Professor, passed away peacefully in Stamford, Connecticut on May 29, 2020 at age 92.
Nancy was born on March 13, 1928, the daughter of Miao Chien-Chou and Zhou Chi-Fung. As a child in China, her family was forced to move frequently due to her father’s political career during the tumultuous period before and during World War II. She lived in Beijing, Tianjin and Hong Kong before attending Nankai High School in Chongqing as a boarding student. Following the Second World War, the family moved to Tokyo, where her father held a diplomatic position for Chiang Kai-Shek’s government.
Soon after, Nancy came to the U.S. as a student in Boston, earning a BA from Tufts in 1951, an MS from Boston University in 1953, and a Master of Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in 1960. She achieved early success as an architectural designer, serving on the design staff of Hugh Stubbins & Associates, The Architects Collaborative (TAC), Edward Larabee Barnes Associates, and Mitchell Giurgola. Nancy went on to be a Partner of two firms based in New York City along with her Architect husband, Terry Twitchell, whom she married in 1966 – Architects Design Group and Twitchell & Miao, Architects.
She was a prolific designer with a tremendously varied portfolio of work. Nancy designed residential skyscrapers including Carnegie Hill Tower in Manhattan; multi-block urban college campuses like Manhattan Community College in New York City; large suburban healthcare campuses notably Broome Developmental Center in Binghamton, New York; private residences that won “Architectural Record House” awards, including the New York home of the former Corning CEO; and laboratory buildings such as the Coykendall Science Building at SUNY New Paltz.
The American Institute of Architects recognized her professional achievements by electing her to the College of Fellows and awarding the FAIA title, a distinction that only 3% of AIA members have received and even fewer women architects. Nancy was also a Professor of Architecture at Pratt Institute School of Architecture for thirty years.
Nancy and Terry retired in 1999 and moved to Boston, where they enjoyed reconnecting with old friends from their Cambridge days. They spent many summers at their Chilmark home on Martha’s Vineyard, and recently moved to Darien, Connecticut to be closer to family.
Nancy was predeceased by her brother, Dazue, who died at age 4, and her parents, who passed away in Taiwan. She is survived by her husband Terry Twitchell, her son Daryl Twitchell and his wife Peggy Bell Twitchell, and her two grandchildren Emily and Brian, as well as countless generations of architecture students who studied with her in the U.S. and Taiwan.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in her memory to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, or The Glass House of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in New Canaan, Connecticut. A private burial will be held at a later date in Chilmark, Massachusetts.