David J. Pickert, 63, died peacefully in his Chicago home on Saturday, September 2, 2023 after a brief but intense bout with cancer. Born February 19, 1960 in Chicago he was the son of the late Harold and Mary Alice (Madden) Pickert.
Dave was an architect of great talent and sensitivity, universally admired by clients and colleagues alike. He leaves behind a legacy of beautiful buildings as well as a lasting impression on the many young architects he mentored, and the numerous professionals in the field that he collaborated with over the decades.
Dave was an authentically nice guy, dashingly handsome, impeccably self-styled, with a quick sense of humor and an easy smile. Dave always knew he wanted to be an architect — even as a child he’d run off to investigate neighborhood construction sites. Summers spent at the family lakefront cabin in Wisconsin instilled in Dave a lifelong love for biking and swimming. A love he brought back with him to the city, spending long hours biking the Chicago lakefront and city streets.
He traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States — anywhere there were buildings to study, museums to visit, or volumes to add to his ever-expanding library of architecture and design books. In 1997 Dave married Mary Wagner, her love of art, design and culture dovetailing with his own. They built a home together overlooking the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan.
Dave received his BSA in 1983 and master of architecture in 1985 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he attended the London Study Program in conjunction with the Architect’s Association of London, and in 1990 earned his architects license. He was LEED AP credentialed. His career path led him to positions as architect at Hammond Beeby and Babka, project architect at Stuart Cohen and Julie Hacker Architects, principal architect at HBRA, adjunct professor at the UWM School of Architecture & Urban Planning, and most recently as the director of architecture at Craig & Company. He served for many years as the chair of the architecture committee on the board of directors of the iconic Mies van der Rohe Esplanade Apartments ensuring the continuation of Mies’s modernist legacy.
Dave’s architectural achievements include many of the finest residences and institutional projects in Chicago and across the United States. Whether for a museum or a home, Dave’s attention to both function and aesthetics gave birth to enduring spaces that will continue to delight their occupants for decades to come.
A distinguished roster of clients gave him the opportunity to orchestrate some of the most outstanding professionals in the field: masons, woodworkers, sculptors, cabinet makers, interior designers, contractors, landscapers and so forth. And a natural empathy for both client and collaborator gave Dave a place in all of their hearts. He had a gentle but authoritative manner; and generously shared his expansive talents and knowledge.
David is survived by his spouse Mary Wagner. His siblings Jeffrey Pickert (Elizabeth Ahearn) of Peterborough, N.H., Gregory Pickert (Laurie Russell Pickert) of Shoreview, Minn., Lorraine Pickert of Verona, and Julia Hopp (Chris Hopp) of Verona, and his nieces and nephews Catherine, Caroline, Matthew, Liliana, Logan, Owen and Sophia. A memorial for Dave will be held sometime this autumn. Please direct memorial donations in Dave’s name to The Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR.org) or Cancer Research Institute (cancerresearch.org).
Services entrusted to Central Chapel, 6158 S. Central Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60638 773-581-9000.
Please visit David Picker Book of Memories. To express your thoughts or memories in the online guest book, visit www.chapelc.com or www.facebook.com/centralchapel. For more information call 773-581-9000.