Robert L. Harper, FAIA, the Architect from Centerbrook, 1939–2004

  Robert Leslie Harper, FAIA, Centerbrook, Conn., died suddenly on July 31. He was 65 years old.

Early in his career, Harper worked for Charles W. Moore, which led to the partnership of Moore Grover Harper in 1975. He later was a founding partner of Centerbrook Architects and Planners. A native of Rochester, N.Y., Harper earned a BA in mathematics at Amherst College in 1961 and an MArch from Columbia University in 1964. While working on his master’s, Harper attended the École des Beaux Arts at Fontainbleau, France, in 1963. Upon completion of his graduate degree, he was awarded a William Kinne Fellows Traveling Fellowship, on which he studied early mill construction in Scotland in 1964–65.

In 1997, Harper began a solo practice focusing on restoration. As an architect, he focused on form, space, and light but included the use of humor and whimsy in design, a style he shared with Moore. His major building projects included the Williams College Museum of Art, the Amherst College Life Sciences Building, the Sharon Country Club, and numerous residences.

Harper’s accomplishments included 1985 elevation to the AIA College of Fellows and publication in numerous prestigious architecture magazines, including Architectural Record, Architecture, and House Beautiful. Harper, too, was an educator and mentor, serving as a visiting critic in architecture at Carnegie Mellon University, Yale University, and the Rhode Island School of Design. He was also an advocate of architectural issues within his community, and at the time of his death was a trustee of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation and the chair of the Regional Building Code Board of Appeals. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions in his memory be made to the Charles W. Moore Center for the Study of Place, 2102 Quarry Road, Austin, TX, 78703; 512-692-6862.

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