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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Abraham Rothenberg, 80

Abraham Rothenberg, noted Westport architect, died Aug. 28 from complications from a stroke he suffered eight years ago. He was 80. 

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Abe Rothenberg: noted architect. Contributed photo

A graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic and Princeton University in architecture in the early 1960s, he worked for Curtis and Davis Architects in New York City where his major projects included the award-winning Worcester Public Library and the James Forrestal Building in Washington, which today houses the Department of Energy.

In the late 1960s, he worked for Pomerance Breines Architects where he designed the John F. Kennedy Center for Research in Mental Retardation in the Bronx, and the NYU College of Dentistry.

He established his own firm in Westport in the 1970s, where his major projects included the Museum of Modern Art Bookstore II in Manhattan, the Spector Playground in Central Park, the Sofia Building on the Upper West Side, the Memphis/Evans Tower on the Upper East Side, the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library in Long Island.

Other projects included additions to the Green’s Farms Congregational Church, Nichols Church in Trumbull, the Westport Arts Center, and numerous private houses and office buildings in Fairfield County and Westchester.

Rothenberg was active in Westport civic life as member of the Sunrise Rotary Club, where he helped to fund the Transitions Foundation for the Disabled in Guatemala, and in 2001 he invited a group of Russian architects to visit their colleagues in Connecticut through the Center for Citizens Initiative. 

He also served many terms on the local Architectural Review Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals. In 1997, Rothenberg was instrumental in stopping the town’s plan to pave over Jesup Green.

“What is it about our current town administration,” he wrote in the Westport News on July 31, 1997, “that seems to favor asphalt over greenery, parking lots over parks?” 

Later, with the help of his neighbor Paul Newman, he worked to preserve 40 acres of pristine meadow, some of the largest open space left in Westport, opened to the public in 2011 as the Aspetuck Land Trust’s Newman-Poses Nature Preserve.

He is survived by Barbara Rothenberg, his wife of 50 years, and his sons Daniel Rothenberg and David Rothenberg; daughter-in-law Jaanika Peerna, and grandson Jaan Umru Rothenberg.

Funeral services were held Wednesday, Aug. 31 at the Abraham L. Green Funeral Home, Fairfield. The family will visitors at home, Thursday and Friday, 4-7 p.m.

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Posted 08/31/11 at 11:19 PM  Permalink



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