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News > Member News > In Memoriam: Neil Sandvold

In Memoriam: Neil Sandvold

April 20, 1961-August 11, 2023
Architect Neil Sandvold
Architect Neil Sandvold

Neil Sandvold, architect, artist, collector, died in August 2023 after a long illness. He was 62. 

Born in Champaign, Illinois, Neil was drawn to art and architecture at an early age. He experimented with painting, ceramics, textile design and metallurgy at what is now the Prairie Arts Center in Stillwater, Oklahoma, before matriculating at Washington University.

After graduating with a major in architecture and a minor in art history, he went on to earn an M.Arch. at the University of Pennsylvania, including a formative year at the Instituto de Archittectura di Universario de Venezia in Italy.

Neil thrived at his first job with Otto Speer Architects, designing commercial and residential properties in Philadelphia and the western suburbs from 1985 to 1995. In 1995, Neil and Andrew Blanda created Sandvold Blanda Architecture + Interiors and won acclaim particularly for hospitality design.

Neil was on the Board of Collab at the Philadelphia Museum of Art during this time, serving as chair during the Design Excellence Award celebrations of luminaries Gaetano Pesce, Georg Jensen, Frank Gehry and Marcel Wanders.

Sandvold Blanda closed in 2014 due to Neil's illness, and in 2016, Neil's husband Mark Robinson died.

In 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, Neil left Philadelphia for the quiet seaside town of Florence, Oregon to be near family. Despite his frailty, he designed and oversaw the building of his own accessible home, filled with his stellar collection of modern furniture and art.

In 2022, he approached the Philadelphia Museum of Art about creating a development fund for the collection of modern and contemporary design. His legacy gift created the Collab Acquisition Fund that allows curators the flexibility to purchase pieces immediately when they come up for auction or sale. Before his death, Neil participated in the selection of the first articles purchased using the fund he created.

Neil is survived by his mother and sister. A celebration of life will be held in the spring at Cape May, New Jersey. Donations in Neil's honor may be made to the Collab Acquisition Fund at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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