Giorgio Cavaglieri, 95, an Italian Jewish architect who designed airfields for anti-Semitic dictator Benito Mussolini before fleeing to America and spurring the urban-preservation movement, died from internal bleeding Tuesday at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan, his nephew Andrew Tesoro said.
Mr. Cavaglieri's name is linked to some of New York's most famous buildings.
He transformed the old Astor Library in the East Village into Joseph Papp's Public Theater, and created the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.
Many consider the Jefferson Market Library in Greenwich Village - a onetime Victorian courthouse with a turret - the first successful preservation of a historic building in the city.
Mr. Cavaglieri, who was born in Venice, graduated from Milan's Polytechnic University and was working for insurance giant Assicurazioni Generali when Hitler came to power, with Mussolini his ally.
In 1939, after the family's assets were seized, Mr. Cavaglieri boarded a ship for America with his mother and sister. They moved into a $15-a-month apartment on Madison Avenue before Mr. Cavaglieri found work in Baltimore, where he met his wife, Norma Sanford.