Mori was an accomplished innovator and entrepreneur in architecture, engineering, real estate development, and manufacturing processes. He held a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Notre Dame (1960), spent two years as an Officer in the U.S. Navy (1960-62), and then went on to earn both a B.A. in Architecture and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from M.I.T (1966). While at M.I.T., “Mori developed the first commercially used 3-D graphics software in North America, and taught 3-dimensional design and computer programming there as well," wrote Mori’s former wife, Carol Mann. From 1966 -1972 he taught at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, integrating the new CAD technology with traditional architecture practices. In 1972 Mori founded Moritz O. Bergmeyer and Associates (later becoming Bergmeyer Associates, Inc.) as a solo practice in what was a vacant 19th-century mercantile building in Boston’s North End.
In the ’70s, the Boston waterfront consisted of decrepit warehouses dating from the 18th and 19th Centuries. “Mori saw the beauty in the aged brick buildings and led the fight to rehabilitate these structures to create charming residential streets,” recollected Mori’s friend, Judy Smith. His efforts to have the city incorporate sidewalks and modern gas-style lamps were met with resistance, and he was often physically threatened – or worse – beaten for his efforts. But against recalcitrant neighbors and city politicians, he persevered. “One neighborhood friend of Mori’s remembers waking early on a Sunday morning to see him perched on an old building to stop a wrecking ball ready to swing into action. By mid-morning, dozens of neighbors had joined Mori on the building, saving it from destruction,” continued Smith. His role on the forefront of the battle for adaptive reuse of the historic North End structures helped catalyze the development of Boston’s waterfront. In 1988 the City of Boston honored Mori with its Award for Historic and Social Preservation. His firm also contributed to the restoration of the historic waterfront in Newport, R.I.
Bergmeyer Associates, Inc. grew into a successful and established multi-specialty architecture and interior design firm in the 1980s fueled in some part by Mori’s own commercial development ventures.
In addition to founding our firm, Mori also launched commercial development and property management companies based in Boston’s Leather District. In 1988, after a vacation in Wyoming, he bought the Grand Targhee ski resort and moved west, selling Bergmeyer Associates to its senior staff. Through the 1990s, he completely repositioned Targhee into a world-class destination. "They opened new terrain, installed a new high-speed quad, introduced snowboarding, dogsledding, and horse-drawn sleigh rides to the resort, renovated the existing base facilities and added new restaurants,” said Mann. Mori founded Bergmeyer Furniture to create a new line of furniture for Targhee’s base lodge, shops, and renovated hotels, and ultimately sold to local and national retail and hospitality businesses. Selling Targhee in 1997, Mori continued to design restaurants, stores, and private homes. Prolific to the end, he was developing and patenting an innovative prefabricated tetrahedral staircase in his final years.
Mori’s passion for innovation, his entrepreneurial zeal, his open-minded approach to design, and his beliefs that motivated and empowered people were key to his successful ventures. These qualities laid the foundation of our practice and culture, as Mori’s legacy lives on in our organization, our work, and our name.
Mori Bergmeyer (far right) and the owners of Bergmeyer Associates, Inc. shortly after the sale of the firm.