John Paul Eberhard, FAIA, a pioneer in understanding the neurological impact of the built environment and the founding president of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA), passed away on May 2 from complications of coronavirus and congestive heart failure. He was 93.
“With great sadness, we announce the loss of a dear friend and leader to ANFA, John Paul Eberhard,” said the ANFA in a press release. “John Paul, architect and educator, was not only a major influence in ANFA, but to all of the arts and sciences. He will be missed.”
Although Eberhard was born in Chicago in 1927, he grew up in Louisville, Ky., as the oldest of seven children. During World War II, Eberhard was drafted into the U.S. Marines and served until 1948, when he began attending the University of Illinois, where he met his wife, Lois. In 1952, Eberhard received his B. Arch and founded Creative Buildings (1952–1958) alongside a small group of friends and classmates, patenting the design for a prefabricated chapel.
In 1957, Eberhard became a Sloan Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he graduated with a master’s degree in industrial management and taught literature courses within the Sloan Program. From 1959 to 1963, he served as the director of research for Sheraton Hotels, where he contributed to the development of plans for a computerized guest registration system. In 1964, Eberhard assisted Herb Holloman, John F. Kennedy’s assistant secretary of commerce, in reorganizing the National Bureau of Standards.
In 1968, Eberhard became the first dean of the School of Architecture & Environmental Design at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he developed the institution’s graduate program. In 1973, Eberhard became the president of The American Institute of Architects Research Corporation (AIARC), spearheading research on energy conservation.
In 1981, Eberhard became the executive director of National Academy of Sciences’ building research board, where he served until 1988, when he became the head of the Carnegie Mellon University Department of Architecture in Pittsburgh. He remained with Carnegie Mellon until 1994, when he became the director of discovery at the American Architectural Foundation in Washington, D.C., where he led research on the neuroscience of individuals' interactions with architecture.
Eberhard became the founding president of ANFA in 2003, and that same year the organization received $100,000 though the AIA College of Fellows Latrobe Prize. In 2010, he also joined Johns Hopkins University Medical School in Baltimore, as a consultant to its Brain Science Institute.
Eberhard is survived by his four children and their spouses, as well as by his step-grandchildren and his great-grandchildren.