Herbert S. Newman, FAIA 1934-2023

A Tribute to our Founder

We are saddened to report that Herbert S. Newman, FAIA, founder and principal emeritus of Newman Architects, passed away on August 7th, 2023, at the age of 89. He leaves behind an indelible legacy of significant contributions to the built environment of the city of New Haven, the campus of Yale University, and cities and campuses across the country, as well as through generations of colleagues and collaborators influenced by his mentorship.

Born in 1934 in New York City where he spent his early childhood, Herb moved to Waterbury, CT, with his family as a teenager. After graduating from Brown University in 1955 with a Bachelor of Arts in American Civilization, he received a Master of Architecture from Yale University and was awarded the Eero Saarinen Traveling Fellowship for Academic Excellence in 1959.

Herb began his career as an architectural designer with I.M. Pei and Partners in New York, working on international projects including Place Ville Marie in Montreal, Canada. He established his own practice in New Haven in 1964, collaborating for a ten-year period with Edward Larrabee Barnes as Architecture & Planning Consultant to Yale University. He taught architectural design at Yale University from 1964-2017. In 1967 he collaborated with Dean Charles Moore and Kent Bloomer in the establishment of the Yale Building Project (now the Vlock Building Project) which offers Yale’s first year graduate students a program in design and construction in community building for a non-profit sponsor including affordable housing. As part of the faculty, he coordinated and directed this project for fifty years.

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Throughout his years in New Haven, Herb’s contributions to the fabric of the city include the restored and expanded City Hall, the award-winning restorations of Union Station, Yale University Law School Library, Battell Chapel, and the Yale Center for American Arts. A catalyst for urban renewal with the development of projects like Chapel Square Mall, Science Park, Ninth Square, Downtown South/Hill North, The Arts Center District, the Dixwell Community Center, and the revitalized Broadway District, he helped define a new level of Yale-New Haven partnerships. He was actively engaged in educational, civic, and philanthropic works.

His work in making places for human interaction has included university and community libraries and campus spiritual spaces including the Slover Public Library in Norfolk, VA and the Snyder Sanctuary at Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL.

Honored in 1981 for his contributions to the profession by being named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, Herb also served as State Commissioner of Design for the Connecticut Society of Architecture. In 1995, he received the Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture, a lifetime achievement award bestowed by the American Institute of Architects, honoring his career and contributions to the planning and design of public spaces.

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Herb’s work received over sixty awards for design excellence, including five National American Institute of Architects Awards for Design Excellence, and has been published internationally in Global Architecture, Architektur & Wohen, Casa Vogue, The New York Times Magazine, Architectural Record, Progressive Architecture, Architecture Magazine, Remodeling Magazine, Builder Magazine, Interior Environment, and Athletic Business.

He authored articles for numerous publications, including the Journal of Architectural Education, American School & University, and Architecture Magazine, and served as Visiting Critic, Juror, and Lecturer at Carnegie‑Mellon University, Harvard University, Columbia University, and the University of Tennessee.

Throughout his career and continuing into his retirement from Newman Architects in 2018, he was an active agent of community engagement and an advocate for sustainable physical environments that contribute to the conservation and preservation of our planet.

A funeral service will be held at Noon on Wednesday, August 16th, at the Shure Funeral Home in New Haven. We anticipate that a public event honoring Herb’s life and contributions will take place in New Haven in the fall.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the Connecticut Architecture Foundation, the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, or the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven.