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In memory of Petar Perisic

October 2, 2008 - 11:59 am
Petar Perisic was a hugger. He hugged to say hello and goodbye and, in between, he’d talk to you intelligently about architecture, art or, his favorite subject, the environment.

Sadly, I just got forwarded an email from some of his friends informing me of his untimely death.

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of a man who was a friend to so many of us in the arts community. Petar Perisic died Tuesday, apparently suffering a heart attack while working at his groundbreaking PERI_scope Project. He lived with vigor, his vision, passion and activism tempered with a contagious sense of humor, generosity of spirit and an overarching love of life. We will all have to try harder in his absence to solidify the community that he so effortlessly brought together. Funeral arrangements have not yet been made. We will update as we learn more information.

Larry and Debby Kline

Below is more infomation on Petar and his PERI_Scope Project.

PERI_scope

Architect Petar Perisic is sick and tired of throwaway environmentalism

By Kinsee Morlan

Hunched behind a dusty old computer, its virtual desktop littered with dozens of tiny manila file folders and surrounded by blueprints, scale models and books by Edward Tufte that litter his real-world desktop, architect Petar Perisic squints into the soft blue glow of his computer screen.
The man is exhausted. Up late last night painting the outside of four huge shipping containers by the light of a flickering street lamp, Perisic’s been working nonstop on his latest project since he stepped off the plane from Machu Picchu last week.
And for the last year and a half, Perisic — a suntanned, towering, earthy kind of guy who wears his long brown hair in a ponytail at the nape of his neck and prefers a friendly hug over a formal handshake — has been working on and off, quietly but obsessively, on what he calls PERI_scope, a community center on 15th Street that he’s constructed out of recycled shipping containers. He plans to use the space for informational exhibitions on global issues, particularly global warming.
“It’s really about raising awareness about different issues that most people don’t pay attention to on a daily basis,” he says, his huge paint-splattered hands clasped loosely in front of him, his thumbs shooting straight into the air every time he makes a point. “It started out of an urge to effect change.”
When Perisic says things like “effect change,” one can’t help but believe him or — as evidenced by the small army of volunteers he’s amassed — maybe even join his battle against mindless consumerism and unsustainable living.
“I’m working on a timeline over here, which I can show you,” he says, springing up from his roller chair, suddenly reenergized by talk of his pet project. “It has the history of the universe. I’m formatting it in a way that compresses time logarithmically, so the last four years is about 4 feet wide and the 19th century is about two feet wide and it just continues to compress.” He walks the length of the rough-draft version of the timeline, scraps of scribbled-on paper taped to his office wall — just one early examples of the type of multi-media, informational displays that’ll eventually be inside the containers — and points out things like the population explosion of recent years and the worldwide increase in carbon dioxide levels.
Perisic doesn’t have kids, and his wife, a flight attendant, is often halfway across the country, which means he has extra time on his hands. He’s been using his downtime to gather information on anything and everything that has to do with globalization. The folders on his computer desktop have labels such as “starvation,” “AIDS” and “global warming,” and he has a series of folders called “emerging cartographies” filled with all kinds of maps — of everything from military bases to oil fields.
Taking his cues from Tufte, the “Leonardo da Vinci of data, ” Perisic and a handful of people he’s asked to participate in PERI_scope’s inaugural exhibition — artists and architects including Giacomo Castagnola Chaparro, Teddy Cruz, Rene Peralta and Helen and Newton Harrison — will present the information he’s gathered in user-friendly ways that let people process, compare and come to their own conclusions.
Perisic says PERI_scope is like global-warming films The 11th Hour and An Inconvenient Truth, but it has a third dimension, a permanent space, which he hopes will make the facts hit a bit harder. Movies, he complains, are temporary and never seem to offer solutions to the problems they present.
“You watch the film and then you go get in your Hummer and go on with your life, and the movie fades,” he says. “I want people to change. My goal, maybe through their vote or through their pocketbook, they can start to slowly have these ripple effects in the economy, because I think people are going to have to start buying things that are local, things that are recycled, not wasting, using less energy, being more thoughtful about what they choose. You know, you can change the little decisions you make every day that, on a massive scale, become huge.”
Days later, Perisic stands atop scaffolding, finishing up the last layer of silver paint on the shipping containers. In the small yard in front of the stacked structures, a slightly rusted but otherwise nice iron gate leans against an adjacent cement wall. Perisic found the gate in an alley just a few blocks away from the site. Inside one of the containers, he stores the rest of his finds — a dirty old globe, a charcoal barbecue grill and a rearview mirror are among a huge pile of things he found across the street at a place called SoCal Surplus. Almost all of the materials Perisic is using to construct PERI_scope are recycled materials he’s found by using his downtown neighborhood as a resource.
“It’s a little challenging when you start having to think in ways that you can’t just go to Home Depot and pick up this stuff or that stuff,” Perisic says, “but it’s amazing what you’ll find. Either I’ve been really lucky or I think everybody would be this lucky if they were open to looking for things.”
The biggest recycled products, the containers themselves, are prefabricated structures that work well as exhibition space with fairly minor adjustments, but that isn’t necessarily the reason Perisic is using them. He rightfully describes the containers as “what gave birth to globalization” and gets a thoughtful look in his eyes when he realizes they were invented just 51 years ago. “How fast the effects of globalization have spread,” he says.

PERI_scope opens from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12,
at 330 15th St., Downtown. http://www.peri-scope.blogspot.com

or 619-338-0884.

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32 Comments leave one →
  1. Brandon Griffith permalink
    October 2, 2008 - 3:36 pm 3:36 pm

    I had Petar as a professor at the NewSchool of Architecture and Design. He was a very gentle man with a passion for art and design. He really pushed you to produce your best work and to dig deep for inspiration. He will be missed.

    Brandon

  2. Peter permalink
    October 2, 2008 - 5:21 pm 5:21 pm

    I too had Petar as a professor at the NewSchool of Architecture and Design. Petar’s obvious love for architecture made every studio meeting provocative and exciting. I am thankful for the time that I spent in and out of school with him. He will be missed.

  3. Ray Minotas permalink
    October 2, 2008 - 5:24 pm 5:24 pm

    My condolences to his family and friends,

    -former student

  4. Friends & family in Cleveland permalink
    October 2, 2008 - 6:19 pm 6:19 pm

    May his memory be eternal…may all his students carry with them his love of life, art & architecture & pass that same passion on. We, his old friends in Cleveland knew that he was destined for great things as he left here & carried those same loves to San Diego. On a personal note, I can’t tell you how much we will miss him here. We all grew up with those hugs from such a gentle soul & I’m glad that so many loved & adored him. We are so proud of all he has accomplished & may you all continue to carry on his projects.

  5. October 3, 2008 - 1:40 am 1:40 am

    Petar was one of my main contacts for the story I wrote in CityBeat’s Architecture issue last year. Not only was he incredibly well-versed in the subject of sustainable design, the passion he exhibited when discussing the issue was unparalleled. His love of the arts and his philanthropic ideologies were downright infectious. It was crystal clear within the first few moments of meeting him that he loved life and wanted nothing but the best for his students and for those around him. I feel honored to have known him and am comforted by the fact that his knowledge and enthusiasm for sustainability and conservation were carried on to so many others before his passing.

  6. Family Friends in Cleveland permalink
    October 3, 2008 - 6:38 am 6:38 am

    The world has lost an incredible man. Growing up in a close Serbian community in Cleveland everyone knew who Petar was, his talents, contributions and selfless love. He will be forever missed and loved, never forgotton.

  7. joy mariama permalink
    October 3, 2008 - 9:18 am 9:18 am

    i was also a former student of Petar…he will be missed; but let us take solace in his fantastic legacy.

  8. summer jackson permalink
    October 3, 2008 - 10:15 am 10:15 am

    I was blessed to of known Petar and will forever remember his talent to spark thought, his ambition to create change, and his smile that continuously graced us all. My thoughts go out to his wife, family, and friends.

  9. snezana cvetkovic permalink
    October 3, 2008 - 2:11 pm 2:11 pm

    DRAGI NASI,vest koju sam cula o smrti naseg dragog Perice,jos uvek ne mogu da shvatim.Jos uvek ne verujem da ga vise nema.Medju svom nasom familijom u Beogradu vlada ogromna tuga i bol za tako predobrim bicem,kakav je bio Pera.Branka,Vesna,Mirko,Natasa,Misa,Zorka,kao i ja svojom decom,od kako smo saznali za njegovu preranu smrt,placemo i tugujemo.Jako nam je zao sto smo tako daleko od Vas i sto u ovako teskom momentu,ne mozemo da budemo sa Vama i pruzimo Vam reci utehe.Ako za ovakvu tragediju,uteha moze da postoji.Nikada necu zaboraviti nas zadnji susret,njegovu izlozbu,njegovo uvek nasmejano lice.Tih pola sata koje je uspeo da ukrade od svojih poslovnih obaveza i posveti meni i Natasi,pamticu zauvek.Govorio je da ce cesto dolaziti,da ima planove za rad u Beogradu.Kad god bi dosao,nikada se nije desilo da nas nije sve obisao makar na kratko.Uvek brz,nasmejan,srecan.A sada ga vise nema.S obzirom da sam i ja prosle godine ostala bez svog supruga,potpuno saosecam i sa njegovom zenom.Tebi strina i MIKIJU,neznam sta da kazem.U ovakvim momentima sve su reci suvisne,nijedna ne moze da umanji Vas bol.Nadam se da ce ova poruka stici do Vas.Znajte da smo sa Vama svim srcem i da saucestvujemo u Vasem bolu.A naseg dragog Pericu nikada necemo zaboraviti. Sneska Budina sa porodicom.

  10. Michael Watts permalink
    October 3, 2008 - 6:02 pm 6:02 pm

    I have a hole in my heart in the loss of the physical person known as Petar Perisic………
    However, I have an addition of love, knowledge, passion, and education as a result of knowing and being friends with Petar……..
    I will miss seeing him walk around the corner from his office into NewSchool……..and the smile, hearty handshake that always turned into a manly hug for me……..
    I will give my best to the remembrance of Petar………..

    Michael Watts, one of Petar’s many students……..

  11. alex rakic permalink
    October 3, 2008 - 7:47 pm 7:47 pm

    To my brother Pete, we will never forget you, I can remember hanging out at OSU, playing pool in that shitty old house you lived in w/ Mick, Ivan, and Ned. Having beers at the Stube, Crazy Mama’s, Mean Mr. Mustards, or whatever party we saw each other at. I will never forget your smile, your quick wit, your crazy hair. Even though we saw each other less as the adult world took up our time, I will always consider you a great friend, I only wish we would have stayed in touch more. Lots of love from your boys in NE Ohio.

    • Jules permalink
      July 6, 2009 - 6:48 am 6:48 am

      Jules Says:
      July 6, 2009 – 6:46 am at 6:46 am
      All your sentimental weeping constructs a psycho babble facade thats more humorous than the menial lives you live on an uncertain day to day agenda. Although all of these blogs may leave you feeling better about yourselves, you all are still expendable like everything else. You are no more important than the shoe department manager at K-mart. Life is a poker game and when the cash runs out and you ante up your car keys you need to man up. Morning comes, you dress yourself in the custom made (Rakic) tailored suit that was fitted 30 years ago and walk out the door. Can you feel it? Can you feel the suit sticking to your back? Remember the college days when you pledged Bite My Fatty Thigh and you thought that you were it. Now life continues without all the recreational drugs that were so convenient and your (friends) slowly pass on. Do you think that leaving a blog will make up for lost time? Will it make you a better person? Does it bring closure for you? Will you feel the same about the Turkey Twins? When you ask these questions of yourself look in the mirror for answers. When you look in the mirror you need to look beyond what you physically see. Your mental picture has the answers. You need to focus to arrange the pixilation. This vomit pit we live in is a reminder of what’s to come. No amount of your sympathy or sorrow will ever be enough. When your children have their shorts pulled down on the sidelines of a soccer game (on Wallings Rd.) I want you to remember to laugh at your kids as hard as you laughed at me!

      • T and J permalink
        November 4, 2009 - 11:42 am 11:42 am

        This person “Jules” seems to have a REAL HARD HEART! The NERVE of Jules to write this horrifying response to others in Grief! Get a Life Jules! Go to Kabbalah dot com for Light EVERYONE:)

  12. October 4, 2008 - 7:09 am 7:09 am

    So sorry to hear the news. It’s been years, since OSU. I too remember those days with great fondness. Pete had a incredible sense of humor, and very generous heart. My thoughts and prayers are with Mick, Suzanne and family.

  13. Scott Hanson permalink
    October 4, 2008 - 10:42 am 10:42 am

    My deepest condolences. I still remember the first time I met Mick in kindergarten and then his little brother, Pete. Both went to OSU and both made the time there significantly more fun. The party house with the Tyson fights and Pete cracking on Mick, great times. Pete was a good person, brother, friend and son and will be deeply missed.

  14. Dave Hohenshil permalink
    October 4, 2008 - 11:02 am 11:02 am

    Pete you will be missed! I remember the great times we had to together at Ohio State. Playing foosball in Baker Commons,
    Spring Break at Daytona beach, Listening to music and playing pool at Mick and your party house off of Campus.

  15. October 4, 2008 - 5:33 pm 5:33 pm

    You know you have met a person of high integrity and character when all who have encountered him speak with so much love, respect, and warmth. The same can be said for the entire Perisic family. I will always remember the generous hospitality extended to me by Pete and Suzanne during my brief stay in San Diego many years ago. May his family and friends find comfort in their happy memories with Pero. Vecna mu slava i hvala.

  16. Linda permalink
    October 5, 2008 - 5:28 pm 5:28 pm

    My heart goes out to Petar’s wife, family and others who knew this priceless human being. I have rarely met a person with such warmth and depth who also happened to be an incredibly intelligent and talented artist. Petar led the remodeling project on my house, to accomodate my elderly Mother’s declining health. He led a very rich professional life but even with his busy schedule he was never too busy to spend a little time listening patiently to my Mom’s story or question of the day. My Mom passed away just recently and it occurs to me that her time on earth – like that of so many – was better for having know Petar. It is comforting to know that they are both now at rest in a better place.

  17. October 6, 2008 - 5:12 pm 5:12 pm

    He was a ray of light walking in or by our cafe.
    His smile was visible and infectious from far away.
    His laugh was genuine and touching.
    His conversations were intelligent, passionate and captivating.
    He will be greatly missed by his extended family here at cafe chloe.
    Our thoughts are with Suzanne and the rest of his friends and family.

  18. Sara Mottaz permalink
    October 6, 2008 - 8:17 pm 8:17 pm

    I remember Pete as a kind and warm guy who worked so hard at OSU and then went crazy on spring breaks. He always had the biggest smile and a soft demeanor. My heart goes out to all.

  19. Tom Reddock permalink
    October 7, 2008 - 2:26 pm 2:26 pm

    I am shocked and deeply saddened to hear of Petar’s passing. Such a beautiful, vibrant, optimistic human being! What a loss for for all of us! My deepest condolences to his wife and family.
    Tom Reddock, a client and friend.

  20. sasha permalink
    October 8, 2008 - 5:51 pm 5:51 pm

    how can he die… this is a trajec mmoment… idk wat to do or wat to say. im one of his frndz serbian in cleveland. this is unimaginable i can barely see waht im typing ucuz im crying/… we wil never forget u pete… 😥

  21. Rade Plavsich permalink
    October 9, 2008 - 3:55 pm 3:55 pm

    I can not bellive that we lost Petar.We have spend over three hours on Monday, on construction site of my project 5x 5 lofts, making some corrections with our contractor.
    We made plan to meet within next several days, working on some other details of project.
    As everybody knows, Petar was very proud with his 5×5 lofts project. He also was very happy that I started with a construction of this project, and he followed constraction in all fases.
    I want to Clivelend to Petar’s funeral, and I was very impress, how those people in Ohio loved him. Over 300 people participate on the funeral.

    Dear Petar, we all love you and we are going to miss you very much.

  22. Sava Gmitric permalink
    October 9, 2008 - 8:46 pm 8:46 pm

    Petar,

    I will forever miss you.

    I don’t think a day went buy without me looking forward to someday coming out to San Diego and hangin’ with you. I always felt it would been an outstanding experience. I know that you were very much loved and respected by the one’s around you. I wish that I could have spent some time with you and your West Coast Friends. Sadly it will never work out that way.

    I will always remember the times at the Slava’s, Dance’s, Wedding’s, Picnic’s and outings in Cleveland. Your pesence always made the homecoming perfect.

    The funeral was very hard on me. It hurt alot. However each of the three priests made sense of the situation. Petar was an unselfish human being. Petar always saw the positive in any situation. God always takes the ones that he loves the most first.

  23. Chuck Crawford permalink
    October 10, 2008 - 10:26 am 10:26 am

    It is still just too hard to think that you are gone

  24. Kirk O'Fallon permalink
    October 11, 2008 - 9:00 pm 9:00 pm

    I heard the sad news while I was in Sedona AZ.
    Supposedly a very spiritual place. While I was at the chapel,
    a striking piece of architecture built into the side of a mountain, I was reading the architects manifesto and my thoughts were of Pete. What his take on this structure and the natural beauty that surrounds it would be.
    The following day my son called and we began to mourn the loss of a good friend.
    I’ve been looking at the photo’s I have of Pete, maybe a dozen in all. Most of them taken at job sites.
    All full of big smiles and grins… That’s how I’ll remember Pete.
    Peace,love,strength and courage to you all!

  25. ROGER CONNOR permalink
    October 13, 2008 - 11:24 am 11:24 am

    Dear Suzanne,

    Since my parking space is next to Petar’s, I saw him in the garage fairly often. The spaces are small and there is a pillar between his space and mine. Since we both had to angle in, I was concerned that I did not leave him enough space, but he always said it was no problem. He was a big, handsome man with a ready smile and I still find it hard to believe that he is no longer with us. I think of him often, especially when I go to the garage and see his car, just as he left it.

    When Sharon and I first moved to The Park at Tenth, there was a meeting in the lobby about a proposed design for the lobby and the hallways. I did not particularly like the plan, but since I was the new kid on the block I did not know if I should say anything. Thank goodness Petar spoke up. He said something like, “It looks like it should be in a sorority.” He didn’t like it either. Of course, at the time I did not know about his talent for design.

    His designs for the hallways and the lobby are strikingly attractive. A new couple who recently moved in told me that the beauty of the hallways was the clinching factor in their decision to buy.

    I have read the heartfelt tributes to Petar in a San Diego Blog and in the Ohio funeral home site. How touching they are! He had friends on both coasts and in the heartland. What a wonderful man Petar was. It is so hard to say ‘was.’

    I trust that the good Lord has welcomed Petar into heaven and will comfort you in this time of deep sorrow.

    Sincerely,

    Roger Connor
    #303, The Park at Tenth

  26. Keri Cuppage permalink
    October 15, 2008 - 10:52 am 10:52 am

    Petar worked across the hall from my dad and I at 733 F Street several years ago. For the years that I have known Pete he was always someone who inspired me to be happy. I have run into him at the City of San Diego, and other places around town over the years, and his hugs have always held a special place in my heart. He will be deeply missed, and always loved.

  27. Alissa Gabriel permalink
    October 20, 2008 - 10:17 am 10:17 am

    All of us at the City of San Diego’s Storefront Improvement Program are deeply saddened by Petar’s passing. His energetic spirit was captured in all the outstanding designs he created for the program and we are fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with him.

  28. Heather Roberge permalink
    December 5, 2008 - 11:22 pm 11:22 pm

    My condolences to Petar’s family and countless friends.

  29. Jules permalink
    July 6, 2009 - 6:46 am 6:46 am

    All your sentimental weeping constructs a psycho babble facade thats more humorous than the menial lives you live on an uncertain day to day agenda. Although all of these blogs may leave you feeling better about yourselves, you all are still expendable like everything else. You are no more important than the shoe department manager at K-mart. Life is a poker game and when the cash runs out and you ante up your car keys you need to man up. Morning comes, you dress yourself in the custom made (Rakic) tailored suit that was fitted 30 years ago and walk out the door. Can you feel it? Can you feel the suit sticking to your back? Remember the college days when you pledged Bite My Fatty Thigh and you thought that you were it. Now life continues without all the recreational drugs that were so convenient and your (friends) slowly pass on. Do you think that leaving a blog will make up for lost time? Will it make you a better person? Does it bring closure for you? Will you feel the same about the Turkey Twins? When you ask these questions of yourself look in the mirror for answers. When you look in the mirror you need to look beyond what you physically see. Your mental picture has the answers. You need to focus to arrange the pixilation. This vomit pit we live in is a reminder of what’s to come. No amount of your sympathy or sorrow will ever be enough. When your children have their shorts pulled down on the sidelines of a soccer game (on Wallings Rd.) I want you to remember to laugh at your kids as hard as you laughed at me!

  30. T and J permalink
    November 4, 2009 - 11:41 am 11:41 am

    Jules reply is ABSOLUTELY HORRIFYING! Someone needs to get a HEART FAST! Please delete and IGNORE that HATEFUL HEART of Jules!!!!

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