Jim Polshek (1930-2022)

February 17, 2023

Jim Polshek

James Stewart Polshek, one of the leading architects of his time, passed away on September 9, 2022, in New York City. He was 91 years old. Born in Akron, Ohio in 1930, Polshek dedicated his life to the design of transformative buildings that enhanced the human experience and elevated the role of architecture in shaping our world.

Spanning six decades, Polshek’s remarkable career encompassed a wide range of projects. His legacy as an architect is marked by his innovative designs, his commitment to sustainable architecture, and his ability to create spaces that inspire and engage communities. His works include the William J. Clinton Library and Museum in Little Rock, Ark.; the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan; the Santa Fe Opera; and the Newseum in Washington. Mr. Polshek received the 2018 Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects, the group’s highest honor.

One of Polshek’s most notable projects was his renovation of Carnegie Hall in the heart of Manhattan, which served as a testament to his commitment to preserve the legacy of great buildings while adapting them for contemporary use. Polshek’s firm, Ennead, also designed the Puffin Gallery for Social Activism at the Museum of the City of New York, conceived as a space that would inspire visitors to take action on issues that mattered to them. Using interactive exhibits and immersive installations, the gallery aims to encourage visitors to engage with the city and its activist history in new and meaningful ways. The gallery features a plaque commemorating the Americans who volunteered to fight fascism in the Spanish Civil War.

Polshek is survived by his wife Ellyn, a longtime ALBA board member, his sister Judy, his children Jennifer and Peter, and two grandchildren.