Italian Jewish architect, anti-fascist activist, dies at 81

Born in Rome on Jan. 22, 1918, Zevi was Italy's most prominent architectural historian and theorist. An innovator in modernist architecture, he believed that organic form, not classic symmetry, was the key to modern design. As such, he helped popularize the work of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Among his best-known buildings was the Italian pavilion at the 1967 Montreal Exposition. He also wrote numerous books.

Zevi, who said he was "101 percent Jewish," was forced into exile in the wake of anti-Semitic laws instituted in 1938. After studying at Harvard, he returned to Italy in 1944 and took part in the anti-fascist underground.

Active in the Rome Jewish community, Zevi was the estranged husband of Tullia Zevi, who until 1998 served as president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities for 16 years and is a leading figure in European Jewry.