Celebrating the Life and Work of John Belle, 1932–2016

February 07, 2017

John Belle changed the way American architects view the preservation and reclamation of our historic resources and, thus, provided the country, the city of New York, and Beyer Blinder Belle with an undying legacy.” — Frederick Bland, Managing Partner

A memorial service celebrating the life and work of John Belle (1932 - 2016) was held last night at Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall.

John Belle, a founding partner of Beyer Blinder Belle, was dedicated to social and cultural responsibility through architecture. This viewpoint was solidified early on for John as an architectural student in London while working on a project in the coal mines of Wales. There, John made the connection between the fabric of a community and the impact that an architect could have on its preservation and growth, as well as the day-to-day lives of people.

Highlights from the event are being posted.


Joseph Giulietti, President, Metro North Railroad

Thomas Prendergast, Former Chairman, Metropolitan Transportation Authority

David Belle (son) & John H. Beyer (friend and partner)

David Belle and John Beyer together presented on John’s personal and professional life.

Célimène Daudet, Piano

Peg Breen, President, New York Landmarks Conservancy

…[John] ended almost every hand-written note by saying, “I only wish I could do more.” The only more we wished for was more time with you John. But we have all been blessed by the time we had. Thank you John Belle.

Philip Heylen, Honorary Vice Mayor, City of Antwerp, Belgium

Sometimes you encounter people who you will never forget. John Belle was such a person… By listening carefully to our story, he could feel the soul of our [Red Star Line] museum which is reflected in the astonishing building he left us.

Adam Gopnik, Writer, The New Yorker

…What John did was less like restoration, —more like resurrection. Yes, resurrection — John devoted himself to the resurrection, the rebirth of the monuments that gave New York an ongoing sense of itself.

Célimène Daudet, Piano

Fred Bland, Managing Partner, Beyer Blinder Belle

Fred announced the launch of the John Belle Travel Fellowship, which will bestow its first prize in the spring of 2018.

Read New York Times reporter David Dunlap’s tribute to John’s legacy: “An Architect Who Built His Career on Resuscitating New York Landmarks.”

Watch “How John Belle brought buildings back to life.” We thank The Real Deal for this video looking at John Belle’s legacy.