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Architect Dies after Fight with Worker

Thursday, April 25, 2013

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International architect Graham Downes has died from injuries suffered in an assault outside his California home, according to an announcement by his company.

Police officers found Downes unconscious about 1 a.m. Friday (April 19) in front of his home in San Diego. He is alleged to have been beaten by an employee identified as Higinio Soriano Salgado, 31. Salgado faces criminal charges in the case.

Downes died Sunday (April 21) from his injuries, his firm announced.

The 55-year-old architect, whose true name was Downes Graham Trouncer, was the principal and founder of Graham Downes Architecture Inc., a firm renowned for its retail, hospitality, entertainment and urban mixed-use projects.

Graham Downes
Photos: Graham Downes Architecture Inc.

Graham Downes, 55, the owner of Graham Downes Architecture Inc., was reportedly beaten to death by an employee.

San Diego police officers had responded to a neighbor’s call about two men fighting in front of the home. Downes suffered severe head injuries and was taken to a local hospital, where he died late Sunday morning, reports said.

Alleged Assailant Charged

Salgado was arrested on attempted-murder charges after the incident Friday. He was arraigned Tuesday and pleaded not guilty, according to the District Attorney's office.

Prosecutors say they plan to file murder charges once the architect has been declared "legally deceased," according to a statement issued by the District Attorney's office. A status hearing is set for April 26.

Local news outlets indicated that Salgado was a property manager employed by Graham Downes Architecture and that the altercation between the men occurred after a social gathering of several employees. Salgado was said to have been the last guest to leave Downes' residence.

A "work-related" verbal argument escalated into a physical fight, police told reporters.

No weapons were found. Salgado was still at the scene when law enforcement officials arrived, and he was not treated by medical personnel, reports said.

Salgado is being held on a $3 million bail. A readiness hearing in the case has been set for May 29, and a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for June 11.

Remembering the Designer

Friends and family described Downes as an “adventurous man who did no less than devour life,” according to a statement released by Danielle Gano, his firm’s publicist.

"There were no half-measures in his world, and those who knew him socially surely have a memorable story to tell in which he is invariably at the center, but his heart's passion was with the design practice he toiled so hard to create and grow, Graham Downes Architecture," Gano said.

Graham Downes Architecture

Downes' decades of work included many hotels, such as The Padre Hotel (pictured) in Bakersfield, CA.

“He leaves behind a world-class outfit that stands firmly on the foundation he built.”

Downes founded his firm in 1994. His design portfolio spans more than 25 years and includes projects abroad.

Among his works are the San Diego Hard Rock Hotel, Shelter Island's Bali Hai restaurant, Tower 23 Hotel, Tom Ham’s Lighthouse, Hard Rock Hotel Nuevo Vallarta, Charlotte Russe, and Quiksilver.

Many of his urban mixed-use projects have served as catalysts for neighborhood renaissance, such as Downtown San Diego, Barrio Logan and Banker's Hill, where he lived, the firm said.

Downes is survived by four brothers and "everyone who ever met him, for if you did, you will certainly remember him," according to the firm.


Tagged categories: Architects; Architecture; Color + Design; Designers; Fatalities; Hotels; Retail

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