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Earl R. Flansburgh, Prominent Boston Architect, Dies

March 12, 2009

By Sebastian Howard

Earl R. Flansburgh
Earl R. Flansburgh
Photo courtesy Flansburgh family

On February 3, Earl Flansburgh, FAIA, died from complications resulting from a protracted battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 77.

Flansburgh received his bachelor's degree from Cornell in 1953 and his master’s degree from M.I.T. in 1957. He went on to practice architecture in the Boston area for more than 45 years.

His firm Earl R. Flansburgh + Associates (ERF+A), founded in 1963 and since renamed Flansbugh Architects, completed some 250 projects for educational institutions. These include the Cornell University Campus Store (1971), the William Kent Elementary School (featured in the May 1971 and August 1973 issues of RECORD), and the Boston College Library and Academic Wing (1997).

During his venerable career, Flansburgh was involved in several groups advocating for architecture in Boston, among them the Boston Society of Architects (BSA), for which he served as president in 1981.

According to Nancy Jenner, director of the BSA, Flansburgh “was a very generous man. He was a big supporter of young professionals, and especially of women architects.” Early on in his career, Flansburgh hired and promoted female architects, Jenner says, and “he supported their firms once they moved on.” Andrea Leers, FAIA, and Jane Weinzapfel, FAIA, whose firm Leers Weinzapfel Associates won the AIA’s 2007 Firm of the Year award, both started their careers at ERF+A.

Flansburgh designed the Cornell Campus Store (1971), which he placed underground
Photo courtesy Flansbugh Architects
Flansburgh designed the underground Cornell Campus Store (1971), which received an award from Progressive Architecture.
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In addition to the many awards his firm received over the years, Flansburgh was awarded the BSA Award of Honor in 1999. He was made a fellow of the AIA in 1972.

He is survived by his wife, Polly Flansburgh, Honorary BSA/AIA, and his two sons, E. Schuyler Flansburgh and John Flansburgh.

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