Every urban architecture community has its great civic boosters. Think, historically, of Daniel Burnham in Chicago or Bernard Maybeck in the San Francisco Bay Area. For the past half-century, few architects in New York City had better claim to that role than Hugh Hardy, FAIA, who died on March 16. According to The New York Times, he collapsed during a performance at the Joyce Theater, one of the many theaters that he had designed or renovated, and subsequently died at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital.
A true gentleman of the old school, Hardy was born in Majorca, Spain, while his well-heeled parents were temporarily living abroad. He attended Deerfield Academy, a boarding school in Massachusetts, and Princeton University, where he obtained his professional degree in architecture. Theaters and restoration work were specialties of Hardy and his three successive firms, Hugh Hardy & Associates , Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, and H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture. Hardy Holzman Pheiffer, which Hardy co-founded with Malcolm Holzman, FAIA, and Norman Pfeiffer, FAIA, won the Architecture Firm Award from the AIA in 1981.
The firms' projects include Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis; the Hult Center for the Performing Arts in Eugene, Ore.; the Denver Performing Arts Complex in Denver; the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.; the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Jackson, Miss.; and, in New York City, Central Synagogue, the 255 East 74th Street condominium tower, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the New Amsterdam Theatre, the New Victory Theater, the Rainbow Room, Signature Theatre Center, Radio City Music Hall, the Cooper-Hewitt, and Lincoln Center Theater.