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October 2009
Gianopulos Retires After 56 Years

Pioneering historic preservationist, structural engineer, and founding principal of Keast & Hood Co., Nick Gianopulos will retire with a celebration on November 13. He played a leading role in the restoration of Independence Hall, the 1989 emergency stabilization of the Academy of Music, and in the design education of countless young architects and engineers.

Gianopulos was a founding principal of Keast & Hood Co. in 1953. In his subsequent six decades with the firm, he offered leadership, knowledge, friendship, and the structural engineering experience gained through numerous restoration and new construction projects.

His retirement will be celebrated on Friday, November 13 at the Independence Visitor Center.

An historic building maven, Gianopulos worked on the restoration of Independence National Historic Park buildings in the 1950s, and was one of the first engineers actively involved in the preservation of historic buildings. His structural engineering design for restoration encompassed Christ Church, Glenmont (Thomas Edison’s House), The Merchants’ Exchange, Independence Hall, Academy of Music, and Carpenters’ Hall. His work is for the most part invisible as his approach sensitively and seamlessly incorporated new structure within historic architecture.

Equally adept at structural design for new buildings, Gianopulos worked with Louis Kahn on the design of the National Assembly Buildings in Dhaka, and with Robert Venturi on projects ranging from houses on Nantucket Island to Franklin Court.

A lifelong mentor, Gianopulos taught at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Fine Arts Department of Architecture from 1964-1991. There are few local designers – architects or engineers – who haven’t learned from him.

Gianopulos’ list of professional achievements includes founding membership in the Philadelphia Chapter of the Association for Preservation Technology; service on the Pa. Bureau of Historic Preservation Review Board and the National Park Service’s National Center for Preservation Training and Technology Advisory Board; and a post as director of the Philadelphia Historic Preservation Commission. In 1990, he was named Preservationist of the Year at the Pa. Annual Preservation Conference. In 2006, he received the Master Builder’s Award from the Carpenters’ Company of the City and County of Philadelphia.

Nick served his country in WWII and earned a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University in 1950. He has been a licensed professional engineer since 1955.

Photos, video, and additional information are available upon request.

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