Henry N. Cobb FAIA

Founding partner Henry Cobb was an eloquent and influential voice in architecture—as practitioner, teacher, and mentor—for more than half a century. Contributing actively and continuously to the work of the firm since its inception, his practice embraced a wide variety of building types across North America and around the world, yielding built works that have received numerous awards for design excellence, including five AIA National Honor Awards and the AIA Twenty-five Year Award for the John Hancock Tower in Boston.

Buildings designed by Mr. Cobb consistently reflect his alertness to place and occasion as significant generators of built form. This approach is evidenced not only in his cultural, educational, and civic buildings—such as the Portland Museum of Art in Maine, the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, and Palazzo Lombardia in Milan—but equally in his buildings for corporate clients and commercial developers, such as the Goldman Sachs Global Headquarters in New York, Fountain Place Tower in Dallas, Tour EDF at La Défense in Paris, and Four Seasons Hotel and Residences at One Dalton, now under construction in Boston. Each of these works demonstrates, in a manner unique to its circumstance, the power of architecture to illuminate the distinctive identity of people, program, and place.

Throughout his career Mr. Cobb coupled his professional activity with teaching. He lectured widely and held visiting appointments at a number of universities. From 1980 to 1985 he served as Studio Professor of Architecture and Urban Design and Chair of the Department of Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he continued to teach occasionally as a visiting lecturer. In 1992 he was Architect in Residence at the American Academy in Rome.

Honors recognizing Mr. Cobb’s contributions as architect and educator include the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Architecture, the Architectural League of New York President’s Medal, the AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education, and the Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council on Tall Buildings in the Urban Habitat.

Henry N. Cobb died in New York City in March 2020.


Harvard Graduate School of Design
MArch 1949

Harvard College
AB 1947

Phillips Exeter Academy
Diploma 1944

Professional Experience

I. M. Pei & Partners/
Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
Founding Partner 1955–2020

Webb & Knapp, Inc.
Architectural Division 1950–55

Hugh Stubbins
Architect 1949–50