Mr. Davar and his wife, Mary, were married for nearly 40 years

Ashok Davar, architect, author, illustrator and teacher, has died at the age of 77 | Pro Club Bd

Ashok Davar, 77, of Philadelphia, a noted architect, author, illustrator, teacher and lecturer, died Thursday, June 16, at his home of a heart condition.

Mr. Davar was born in India, graduated from college, and came to Philadelphia on an academic scholarship from Rotary International. He earned a master’s degree in architecture through a joint program at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Kansas, and went on to design buildings and art of all kinds, teach creativity, and write and illustrate children’s books.

He admired world-class architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Eero Saarinen, was a pioneering environmentalist, and valued character and originality in his designs. He was a colleague of Edmund Bacon, former executive director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, and worked with fellow architects Louis Kahn and Buckminster Fuller.

He redesigned the Victor Cafe in South Philadelphia and the historic Saddler’s Cottage in Malvern. “Architecture is very important to me,” Mr. Davar told a writer for Main Line Media in 2017. “It affects our lives. It is a constant companion.”

He lectured on art and architecture around the world, wrote and illustrated articles on design for newspapers and magazines, and was featured in a local television documentary entitled The creative world of Ashok Davar.

Known for his distinctive line drawings, he published six children’s books in the 1960s and ’70s, including 1969 speaking words1976s The kissand 1977 King Asoka’s wheel. Celebrated novelist Pearl S. Buck wrote a foreword for The kiss, and an online reviewer said in 2014, “I loved this book as a teenager. I even shared it with my classmates for my graduation speech.”

King Asoka’s wheel received special recognition in 1978 from the Jane Addams Peace Association, which presents the annual Jane Addams Children’s Book Award for promoting peace and social equality. The original manuscript for speaking words, a creative picture book of the alphabet, is in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

“This beautiful alphabet book features pictorial representations of a word for each letter in a unique format,” wrote an online reviewer in 2018. Take the word, for example hair represents H and Mr. Davar drew strands of hair to form the letters of the word.

His freehand illustrations, such as The Parade of Playful Elephants, were simple but detailed and interesting, using angles, shapes, textures and whims as key components. He became a US citizen in Philadelphia and taught creativity at the collegiate level in Allentown at Cedar Crest College and the Baum School of Art.

“He was a real modern Renaissance man,” said his wife, Mary. “He believed that art and architecture were one.”

Mr. Davar has also been vocal in his quest for world peace, and his books and artwork reflect that dedication. Of a patriotic but inclusive illustration he created after 9/11, he wrote, “May the angels protect our country and surround the world with peace.”

Mr. Davar was born in India on July 27, 1944 and earned a bachelor’s degree from the Sir JJ School of Arts, Mumbai. William Weir, a longtime local Rotarian, helped him organize his community in the early 1960s, and he lived at International House, a residential center in Philadelphia for international students, which he supported throughout his life.

He met Mary Vogel through a mutual friend and they married six months later in 1983. “He was a very spiritual person,” said his wife. said. “He appreciated the simple things.”

Mr. Davar liked country music and western movies. He joked and told stories with friends and audiences, and he always had chocolates to share.

He loved to travel, liked falling water as an architectural backdrop, and often stopped to view houses that caught his eye. Sentimentally, on one of their trips, he secretly slipped a photo of himself into his wife’s suitcase. Another time she was admiring a work of art in a shop window, so he made her a replica of his own design.

“We can talk about anything,” says his wife. “We never got tired of talking and sharing stories.”

In addition to his wife, Mr Davar is survived by a sister, a brother and other relatives.

A private celebration of his life is to take place later.

Donations on his behalf may be made to Rotary International, 1 Rotary Center, 1560 Sherman Ave., Evanston, Illinois, 60201, and Theosophical Society, 1926 North Main St., Wheaton, Illinois, 60187.

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