Alan Lapidus, Donald Trump Casino Architect, Dead at 85

Posted on: October 22, 2021, 05:47h. 

Last updated on: October 22, 2021, 12:12h.

Alan Lapidus, the designer who became known as “Donald Trump’s architect,” has died. He was 85 years old.

Alan Lapidus casino architect Donald Trump
Trump Plaza Atlantic City architect Alan Lapidus has died at the age of 85. Donald Trump’s go-to architect also worked on Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. (Image: St. Martin’s Press/

Lapidus envisioned numerous buildings for an array of high-profile figures. Along with the future president of the United States, Lapidus worked with everyone from Mafia-involved real estate developers in New York, Atlantic City, and Las Vegas to The Walt Disney Company in Florida.

His greatest architectural feat in the casino business was Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, which opened in 1984. Lapidus helped envision and design Trump’s later casinos and real estate ventures, and additionally worked on expansion projects at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Notable nongaming buildings credited to Lapidus includes Hilton Disney Springs in Orlando, and Crowne Plaza Times Square hotel in New York City.

Lapidus’ family confirmed to The New York Times this morning that their patriarch died last week on October 15 at his home in Maine. The cause of death was complications from prostate cancer.

Lapidus’ father, Morris Lapidus, was also an architect. Lapidus the elder became famous in the architecture world for his “Miami Modern” design. His career achievement was considered to be The Fontainebleau in Miami Beach.

Trump Relationship

Alan Lapidus enjoyed a long friendship with Donald Trump. The two met when Lapidus was a teenager and Trump just a child, as their fathers — Morris and Fred Trump — were colleagues on the Manhattan real estate scene.

When Donald Trump entered the casino business with Trump Plaza, he hired his longtime friend, Alan, to design it.

The most honorable developer I’ve ever worked with” is how Lapidus described his time working with the man who would become the 45th president.

Lapidus became an author in 2007 with his autobiography, Everything by Design: My Life as an Architect. He spoke to his career designing some of the country’s most recognizable structures. The book came with a roaring endorsement from Trump.

Alan knows what he’s writing about. He and his father designed for both me and my father, and his knowledge is comprehensive. He’s also a total pro. Pay attention to what he has to say — he is very good!” said Trump on the book jacket.

Entertain Women, Let Men Gamble

Lapidus revealed in his book that many decades ago, when he was designing casinos, developers behind the resorts stressed that the gambling floors should cater to males, while other resort features entertain the women.

“The main concern of the management of every casino I’ve designed has been how to occupy the wife or girlfriend and keep her away from her man while he’s losing the mortgage money,” Lapidus wrote.

Born in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood in 1936, Alan Lapidus studied at Columbia University and graduated in 1963 with an architecture degree. He learned the architecture trade by apprenticing under his father for more than a dozen years before venturing solo with Trump’s Atlantic City project.

Trump Plaza was the first from-the-ground-up casino resort designed by Lapidus and built by Trump. However, it is no more, as the main hotel tower and casino structure on the Atlantic City Boardwalk was demolished in February of this year.