Bernardsville Architect Honored for Achievements, Contributions to Architecture
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 30) – Bernardsville, N.J.-based architect Philip S. Kennedy-Grant, FAIA, was among 134 American Institute of Architects (AIA) members who were recently elevated to its prestigious College of Fellows. Kennedy-Grant, a member of AIA’s New Jersey chapter (AIA-NJ), was recently invested at a ceremony in Miami, Fla., during the 2010 AIA National Convention.
The honor, which entitles recipients to use the designation FAIA after their names, is awarded to architects for their individual achievements, as well as for significant contributions to the profession and practice of architecture on the national level. Out of a national membership of more than 86,000, the honor of fellow has been conferred on only about 2,800 members.
“AIA-NJ is proud to have a member of the professional stature of Philip Kennedy-Grant elevated to the College of Fellows,” said Jason Kliwinski, AIA, LEED AP, president of AIA-NJ. “Kennedy-Grant has made a mark not only as a designer of homes that honor American architectural traditions, but also as an artist focused on depictions of buildings and places and as a generous contributor to the architectural community.”
Kennedy-Grant could be described as a renaissance man. In addition to his architectural work, he also is an artist, a musician — he writes songs and plays guitar — and even a furniture designer. If a home he has designed requires a certain type of furniture, he will design it. In addition, he has devoted himself to volunteer activities in his local community, as well as for the state and national AIA.
Whether he is writing a song or designing a home, Kennedy-Grant’s creative process follows the same pattern: although his work rests on traditional underpinnings, he draws from the site, the surrounding environment and the needs, desires and personalities of his clients to create structures that, although they are rooted in the classic, don’t predictably follow the traditional path, but rather are sophisticated, fresh and new.
“I would describe myself as an American architect,” said Kennedy-Grant. “I take my inspiration from local history. I don’t need to be cutting edge. What I am after, however, is to do it right. I want the houses I design to last for 200 years. I know my buildings will age, but I want them to age well. My intention is not for a building to be frozen in a particular moment, but to create a lively human structure that will stand the test of time.”
Kennedy Grant has been the principal of Bernardsville-based Kennedy-Grant Architecture, Interior Design & Planning since 1988.
About 70 percent of the firm’s work is residential, and many of the homes and additions Kennedy-Grant has designed are in Bernardsville and the surrounding communities, which comprise the picturesque area known as the Somerset Hills, renowned for its country estates reflecting architectural styles, such as Arts and Crafts, Georgian, and Shingle Style, that were popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Although Kennedy-Grant’s designs draw from the area’s architectural heritage, they are adapted to the needs of today’s residents: “For instance, the homes designed in the Arts and Crafts style often had the kitchens in the basement, which is not something a contemporary resident would want,” he notes.
Some of Kennedy-Grant’s designs are for homes or additions that are relatively small. “I’m more interested in building well than building big,” he said. This statement was reinforced by that of architect Edward N. Rothe, FAIA, principal of Fletcher Thompson Architects and himself an AIA Fellow, in the letter to the AIA Jury of Fellows in support of Kennedy-Grant’s application. “What I most admire about Phil is his ability to consistently create significant architecture from small residential additions and unique renovation projects by seamlessly combining contemporary function with traditional detailing,” he said.
The need to reinforce a sense of community is also of great importance to Kennedy-Grant, both professionally and personally. On a professional level, he demands that the structures he designs reflect — and serve — the character of the communities in which they are located. On a personal level, he has devoted countless volunteer hours to his local community, as well as to the architectural community.
On the local level, Kennedy-Grant was founding chairman of the Bernardsville Historic Preservation Advisory Committee and served in the role of chairman from 2002 through May of last year. Shortly thereafter, he became a member of the Board of Trustees of the Somerset Art Association. He is also the past president of The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills.
On the professional level, Kennedy-Grant was chairman of the Design Awards Committee for the Newark and Suburban Architects section of AIA-NJ from 2007 through 2009, and is editing a guide to New Jersey’s 150 best buildings and places for AIA-NJ to be published by Rutgers University Press. AIA-NJ identified the state’s best buildings and places in 2007 in observance of the national organization’s 150th anniversary. He has also been active on the national AIA Committee on Design.
Kennedy-Grant has received 27 design awards for projects ranging from residences to renovations of historic structures and his work has been featured in national publications and in books. His paintings and drawings have frequently been the subjects of exhibitions, including an exhibit entitled “American Architects in Paris” at the Alliance Française in Washington, D.C., in 1999.
Kennedy-Grant graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and served in the Army Corps of Engineers. He attended the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Ind., where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the School of Architecture. He is an NCARB (National Council of Architectural Registration Boards)-certified architect and is licensed in New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. He is also a licensed planner in New Jersey and has been a lecturer at the School of Architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, N.J.
For more information on Kennedy-Grant, please visit the Web site at http://www.kennedygrantarchitecture.com.