Ralph Walker

CFA Service: 1959–1963

Ralph Thomas Walker, FAIA and RIBA (Hon.), was a prominent New York architect called “The Architect of the Century” by the New York Times upon his receiving the inaugural Centennial Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects, where he served for two years as president. Although he was the designer of many buildings ranging from commercial art deco to modern in style, Walker is relatively unknown today. Trained initially as an apprentice, he received his undergraduate degree in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1911 and worked at several firms, including Warren & Wetmore and York & Sawyer, in New York City. He was awarded a Rotch Traveling Scholarship in 1916 and served in World War I. Walker joined McKenzie, Voorhees & Gmelin in 1916, becoming a partner in 1926; he remained with the firm until his retirement. Walker’s projects include the AFL-CIO building and Belgian Chancery in Washington, D.C; the Prudential Building and Bell Telephone Lab building in New Jersey; the Barclay-Vesey Telephone, the Brooklyn Edison, the Irving Trust Co., and the Western Union Telegraph Buildings in New York City; and the IBM Research Center in Poughkeepsie, New York. He was involved in the planning of the 1933 Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago and in the 1939 New York World’s Fair. He was associated with the Architectural League, the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, and the Municipal Art Society of New York, and was the author of several books on architecture. Walker was a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was awarded the 1927 Gold Medal of the Architectural League of New York.