Architect Norval White, a pioneer of New York City’s preservation movement who parlayed that passion for buildings into a widely read and frequently reprinted book, died on December 26 of a heart attack at his home in Roques, France. He was 83.

Educated at M.I.T., Princeton, and the Fontainbleau Schools, White, a native New Yorker, fought unsuccessfully to save the original Pennsylvania Station, a Beaux-Arts creation from McKim, Mead & White that was razed in 1963.

White had more luck, however, with the AIA Guide to New York City, a witty and scholarly block-by-block directory of landmarks, avant-garde mid-rises, and any structure with a good back story across the five boroughs.

The first edition of the 464-page guide, which White co-wrote with the architect Elliot Willensky, came out in 1968. Willensky died in 1990.

The guide’s fifth edition, due this summer from Oxford University Press, was completed 11 days before White’s death, according to architect Fran Leadon, AIA, its co-author, who expressed regret that White would never get to see a published version of the 1,056-page book he called “elegant.”

Though White could be reserved in his one-on-one interactions with Leadon, “I was amazed by his ability to hold court in a room full of people, how charming and funny and suave he could be,” says Leadon, who began the project with White two years ago. “I was looking forward to seeing that side of him at parties for his book.”  Full article is in The Architectural Record.