Lars Gustaf Soderbergh, 71, a long-time resident of Pacific Palisades and a renowned, award-winning architect, passed away surrounded by his loving family and friends on November 1 after a courageous, two-year battle with cancer.
A kind and gentle man. That’s how people who knew Gustaf Soderbergh describe him.
Born in Sweden on April 7, 1952, he was the son Karin and Lars Soderbergh. He spent his formative years growing up in Sweden, Italy, Japan and England and before coming to the U.S.
He received an associate of arts degree from the United States International University in Sussex, England, and a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Southern California.
A LEED-certified architect, Gustaf was a founding principal of Van Tilburg, Banvard & Soderbergh (VTBS), a prominent Santa Monica-based architecture, planning and urban design firm, where he worked for more than 40 years.
His innovative designs are apparent in many of the residential and commercial buildings and the mixed-used developments he managed for VTBS clients. These include Talaria and Venice Renaissance, mixed-use developments in Burbank and Venice, respectively, and the San Diego Design Center.
His design concepts and efficient land use insights will live on in his beloved Palisades community. As a member of the Palisades Park Advisory Board, Gustaf’s design plan for the Palisades Recreation Center’s parking area was the key catalyst for securing approval from the Coastal Commission for the development of the George Wolfberg Park at Potrero which opened In December 2022.
In addition to his many professional accomplishments, Gustaf’s legacy lives on through his family and many friends. An excellent cook and foodie, Gustaf was known for his open dinner table where he prepared elaborate meals and engaged in conversation that left a lasting impression on guests long after the night was over.
He was an avid reader, loved to explore the Santa Monica mountains on foot; say a friendly hello to people he met on his daily walks; and travel with family and friends. His international upbringing was also apparent in his love of music, especially rock and roll artists from the late 1960s and 1970s rock scene in London. (His iPod playlists were always a staple at events in his home.)
He is survived by his “darling bride” Melinda, his wife of 22 years, his children Erik, Karl, Marie, and Evan, and brothers Bo and Carl.
A memorial reception celebrating Gustaf’s life will be held on December 4 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the William Turner Art Gallery located at 2525 Michigan Ave. E-1, Santa Monica. Refreshments and light appetizers will be served.