Shalom Life | March 11, 2015

The Ten Most Iconic Jewish Architects

From the simplest of stone buildings, to the most intricate of glass buildings, we look at the men and women who invented them into existence

By: Caitlin Marceau

Published: March 10th, 2015 in Business » World

The Ten Most Iconic Jewish Architects

Photo: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York


When you look out across a city skyline and see the tall buildings and exquisite monuments jutting out into the sky, you can’t help but wonder who the designer behind them is. From the simplest of stone buildings, to the most intricate of glass buildings, it’s hard not to imagine the men and women who invented them into existence.

So we at Shalom Life have compiled a list of the ten most influential Jewish architects. So next time you’re in New York, Toronto, or even Minnesota, make sure to check some of these buildings out.

10.

Ely Jacques Kahn (1884 - 1872)

When you look out at the New York City skyline, Kahn is one of the architects you need to thank for the view. Born and raised in New York, Kahn built a variety of buildings over the course of his career. In addition to designing buildings, he also ran his own firm, and helped build New York into what it is today. His works include the Municipal Asphalt Plant, the 120 Wall Street building (pictured above), and the Film Center Building in Hell’s Kitchen.

9.

Irwin Chanin (1891 - 1988)

A trend-setting American Jewish architect, Chanin was one of the best in the business. A graduate of Cooper Union in 1915, the school ended up naming it’s school of architecture after him. Chanin, in addition to being an architect, owned the Chanin Theatres Corporation with his brother, and designed several of their locations. His notable works include the Chanin Building (pictured above), the Richard Rodgers Theatre, the art-deco (his preferred style) apartment building called The Century, and a beautiful skyscraper named The Majestic.

8.

Michael Arad (1969 - )

Arad was born in London, lived in Jerusalem, and settled down in the United States. Having been inspired by his travels and growing up surrounded by a plethora of different cultures, his designs are original and inspirational. In 2004, the architect got his big break when he won a design competition, which granted him the rights to design the World Trade Center Memorial (pictured above). Although his design sparked controversy at first, with its projected budget at $1 billion, his work has become world renown and revered.

7.

Frederic Schwartz (1951 - 2014)

An inspiration to the world around him, this American-born author, city planner, and architect has some of the most esteemed accolades in the industry. During his life he won the Rome Prize in Architecture, and was honoured by the First Lady in 2003 at the White House National Design Awards ceremony. His works include the Staten Island Ferry Whitehall Terminal, the Rising in Westchester County, and Empty Sky in New York (pictured above).

6.

Elizabeth Close (1912 - 2011)

Considered by many to be the first woman to practice architecture in Minnesota, Close not only designed public and private buildings, but ran her and her husband’s architect firm for extended periods of time during her career. Born in Vienna, Close moved to the U.S. before the second World War. Her works include the Gray Freshwater Biological Institute, and the University of Minnesota’s Ferguson Hall on their West Bank campus (pictured above), both of which can be found in Minnesota.

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