Richard Henry Franklin

Richard Henry Franklin, AIA, NOMA, BA70/MAUD74

During his 40-year career, Richard Henry Franklin has worked in every facet of architecture and mentored scores of students, architects, planners, and community advocates. From his early experiences working on projects designed by Mies van der Rohe, Walter Netsch, Stanley Tigerman, and Andrew Heard, he learned three critical lessons: architecture is about teamwork, every detail of an architectural project is significant to the whole, and architects have a responsibility to improve society.

The first African American to study architecture in the day program at Washington University in 1959, Franklin earned a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Architecture in 1970 and a Master of Architecture and Urban Design in 1974. Several faculty members—Joseph Passonneau, Dinos Michaelides, and Leslie Laskey—influenced his approach to the profession and personal mission: employ design in every aspect of planning, architecture, and construction to create environments that enhance people's lives and strengthen communities.

Through the first ten years of Franklin Associates, Architects/Planners, Franklin became more deeply engaged with the Northside St. Louis community. The practice produced a series of community development plans—including the first community-based plan adopted by the City of St. Louis in 1980—and also worked on community-based housing and health-care facilities.

In 1985 Franklin moved to New York and spent seventeen years at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, serving first as a senior manager and later as assistant chief architect. He worked closely with chief architect Robert Davidson on some of the Port Authority's most significant public projects, managing the design of portals into and around New York City, such as the Lincoln Tunnel Toll Plaza, the AirTrain rail systems to John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport, the Battery Park City Ferry Terminal, and the Jamaica Station project.

Max Bond encouraged Franklin to become an associate partner with Davis Brody Bond, where he led the design team for the award-winning Strivers Gardens residences in New York and also worked on the restoration of the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. He was a senior member of the architectural team developing Michael Arad's design for the National September 11 Memorial and managing construction administration of both the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

In addition, Franklin served as vice president of Aviation Transportation Architecture for STV Group, and was project architect on the Baltimore Cruise Terminal and the JetBlue Garage at JFK International Airport. He is currently the principal of Franklin Associates and partner in Sabir, Richardson & Weisberg Engineers, both in New York.