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James Stewart Polshek (born 1930, Akron, Ohio) is an American architect living in New York City. He is the founder of Polshek Partnership, the firm at which he was Principal Design Partner for more than four decades. He is currently Design Counsel to the legacy firm Ennead Architects, as well as being actively engaged as design lead on multiple projects.[1]

James Stewart Polshek, FAIA
NationalityUnited States
AwardsAIA Medal of Honor (1986) AIA Architecture Firm Award (1992)
PracticePolshek Partnership, now Ennead Architects
BuildingsWilliam Jefferson Clinton Presidential Center, Rose Center for Earth and Space, Newseum

Education & backgroundEdit

Polshek enrolled in premed at Case Western Reserve University's Adelbert College 1947. He began taking a variety of courses, including a course in the history of modern architecture. After deciding to study architecture he enrolled at Yale University, and graduated in 1955 with a Master of Architecture degree.[2] He was also a Fulbright/Hayes fellow in Denmark and received a number of grants from the Graham Foundation.[citation needed]

After he became dean of Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation in 1972, Western Reserve University granted his bachelor of science degree in 1973, forgiving the 8 credits he was short.[2]

Professional careerEdit

Polshek worked for I.M. Pei prior to starting his own firm, James Stewart Polshek Architect, in 1963. He is currently retired and maintains the title of Design Counsel to Ennead Architects.

He served as the dean of Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation from 1972 to 1987.[3]

Polshek is unusual among top-tier architects for taking the position that architecture is more craft than fine art, and that architects have some measure of social responsibility.[citation needed]

Polshek currently serves as the architect commissioner on the NYC Design Commission.

His book Building, Memory was published in 2014 by Monacelli Press.

Awards and honorsEdit

Polshek is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA), and the 2018 recipient[4] of the organization's highest honor, the AIA Gold Medal. He has also received the Gold Medal award from the New York City chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1986. In 2002, he was honored with the Municipal Art Society’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal, and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2005, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

He has received honorary degrees from Pratt Institute (1995), the New School University Parsons School of Design (1995) and the New Jersey Institute of Technology (2002).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Polshek Partnership Changes Its Name to Ennead Archived December 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b Ringel, Susan: "The Test of Time" Archived May 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, CWRU Magazine (2002)
  3. ^ Bohlen, Celestine (2001-01-22), "Built for Substance, Not Flash; James Stewart Polshek Says Architecture Should Serve People Instead of Egos", New York Times, archived from the original on 2012-07-13
  4. ^ James Polshek Wins 2018 AIA Gold Medal

External linksEdit