The lead architect of the Utica Memorial Auditorium has died.

Gilbert “Gil” Seltzer passed away on Saturday, just two months shy of his 107th birthday.

Seltzer’s firm Gehron and Seltzer, was contracted by Utica Mayor McKenna’s administration in 1956 to design what now stands as a National Historic Engineering Landmark.

The AUD, now known as the Adirondack Bank Center, was the first facility to ever use telescopic seating, as well as the first to use the groundbreaking cable-suspended roof system.

Seltzer determined that a circular building would best fit the relatively small parcel of land reserved for The AUD but realized that a traditional domed roof was impractical due to cost and weight considerations.

To solve the problem, Seltzer hired Structural Engineer Lev Zetlin, who ultimately designed The AUD's acclaimed roof system.

“Still to this day it amazes me on how well The AUD was designed more than 60 years ago,” said CEO of Mohawk Valley Garden Robert Esche. “Gil’s profound leadership and courage to take on a project with such challenges is a testament to who he was as a person; it’s also fitting that over the last couple of days, everyone has come together once again to restart the finalization of another impactful project connected to The AUD: the Nexus Center.”

In 2017, the arena commissioned a unique dimensional oil portrait of Seltzer himself, to be done by local artist Tim Rand.

The unique art piece is comprised of over 2,000 small wooden blocks, and hangs proudly in the suit wing of The AUD in a room known as Zuhaus.

photo courtesy of Adirondack Bank Center
photo courtesy of Adirondack Bank Center

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