New York architect Jordan Gruzen dies
DateFebruary 9, 2015
NEW YORK CITY – Architect Jordan L. Gruzen, who died January 27 at 80, had a career that spanned six decades. He played a significant role in enriching the urban landscape of 20th-century metropolitan New York where his firm, Gruzen Samton, was based.
Jordan’s firm merged in 2009 with IBI Group and is now known as IBI Group-Gruzen Samton.
Co-workers, friends, and family remember Jordan as a man of great accomplishment, joie de vivre, warmth and optimism who fully embraced life in both work and play.
Gruzen and his firm were architects and urban planners. While their work was national and international in scope, most of their work was in New York City and New Jersey. The firm had a broad portfolio of project types including schools, universities, courthouses, transportation terminals, residential complexes, facilities for the elderly and synagogues.
Significant works in Lower Manhattan include Stuyvesant High School, NYPD Headquarters at 1 Police Plaza, Southbridge Towers, Chatham Towers, Chatham Green and five residential buildings in Battery Park City. Notable education projects include public schools in New York and New Jersey, and dormitory and student life buildings at City University of New York, Columbia University, The Cooper Union, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University and Cornell University.
Gruzen’s firm was also known for large-scale planning particularly on the waterfront. The firm developed two plans, Litho City and Lincoln West, on Manhattan’s West Side, which were predecessors to and inspiration for today’s Riverside South. The firm was also involved in the development of Queens West on the East River in Long Island City and Roosevelt Island’s Manhattan Park and South Town residential complexes. In New Jersey, the firm designed ferry terminals in Weehawken and Edgewater, and numerous residential developments in Jersey City, Fort Lee, Hoboken, Guttenberg and West New York that revitalized the New Jersey waterfront.
Gruzen’s international work included the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, civic work in Tel Aviv, residential and office buildings in Tehran and Nairobi, new housing developments in Dubai, and a new town plan for Bell Helicopters in Isfahan.
Jordan served as a leading figure in the fight to save McKim, Mead & White’s Penn Station. Although he and his cohorts failed to save the iconic structure, their efforts raised awareness and contributed to the passage of New York City’s first landmarks law.
Jordan was born in Jersey City in 1934. His father founded the architectural firm Kelly & Gruzen in 1936. Jordan received his Bachelor of Architecture at MIT and Master of Architecture at University of Pennsylvania and was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Italy. In the early 1960s, Jordan and MIT classmate Peter Samton joined Kelly & Gruzen. Jordan and Peter became partners in 1967, and changed the firm name to Gruzen and Partners, then to The Gruzen Partnership, and in 1986 to Gruzen Samton.