John Macsai, who designed Lincolnwood’s famed Purple Hotel and also graceful Lake Shore Drive high-rises, died Friday at his Evanston home after a long illness, according to his family. Mr. Macsai, 91, a native of Hungary, was a Holocaust refugee who toiled in work camps where he “built airfields, cleared forests and starved,” according to a 2002 interview coordinated by the Art Institute of Chicago. Though he was an architecture professor at the University of Illinois from 1970 to 1996 and the designer of the Harbor House condominiums at 3200 N. Lake Shore Dr. — as well as 1110 N. Lake Shore Dr., 1150 N. Lake Shore Dr. and 1240 N. Lake Shore Dr. — he was best known for the now-demolished Purple Hotel at 4500 W. Touhy in Lincolnwood. He created the lavender building, which initially was called the Hyatt House and opened in 1962, for A.N. Pritzker of the Hyatt family. The elegant curve of 1150 N. Lake Shore Dr. | Sun-Times files In a 2012 interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Mr. Macsai recalled, “I planned to use a warm, gray brick, and he [Pritzker] said, ‘Can’t you come up with something a little livelier?’ John J. Baldwin Jr., then the general manager, outside the Purple Hotel in November 2004. | John H. White / Sun-Times files “So I made a great mistake for an architect. Instead of just bringing back some samples, I brought him the whole color palette. He said, ‘I want something lively like that purple.’ You don’t argue with a guy who could borrow $12 million on his signature only.” Mr. Macsai called it “a very good modern building.” “I had no regrets,” he said. “Everybody loved the purple. Some of my colleagues said it was a bit strong.” The Hyatt Lincolnwood was a cheery modernist splash at Touhy and Kilbourn and a destination where people used to go to hear entertainers like Barry Manilow and Perry Como. But, in its later years, it fell into disrepute. It became known for hosting swingers’ parties. And mobster Allen Dorfman was gunned down in the parking lot in 1983. Mr. Macsai was born in Budapest to Margit and Ferenc Lusztig. His studies at Polytechnic University in Budapest were interrupted by the German invasion of Hungary in 1944. A postcard for