It is with great sadness that we announce that Walter Alexander Hunt, FAIA, a beloved member of our firm’s founding generation, passed away peacefully on May 27. Walter retired from Gensler in 2012, but remained a constant presence in our firm, renowned as a mentor to our next generation of leaders. Our clients knew Walter as a superb leader of such projects as the expansion of the Novartis Campus in Hanover, N.J.; the development of MGM Mirage’s CityCenter in Las Vegas; and the Heart of Doha project for Msheireb in Qatar. He was a master at assembling and harnessing the best talent and expertise to design and produce great projects around the globe.
Active in New York’s business and civic communities, Walter was Co-Chair of the Capital Campaign for the Center for Architecture in Manhattan, for which he helped raise $6 million. He had a significant impact on the AIA New York Chapter, which he served as President and Board member. He was also on the Board of the New York Foundation for Architecture, where he worked to create and promote a broad range of design education programs. A graduate of Yale’s School of Architecture, he was a longtime member of its Alumni Committee and also served on its Dean’s Council.
A passionate advocate of our “One-Firm Firm” philosophy, Walter embodied our culture of trust, respect, passion, empathy, and a team spirit, inspiring his colleagues with his example. He began his career at Gensler in San Francisco in the 1970s. In 1978, he opened our Denver office. He then joined Margo Grant Walsh in opening our New York office in 1985, later serving as Managing Director of our Northeast Region and as a member of our Board of Directors and Management Committee. To acknowledge his leadership, Gensler established the “One-Firm Firm Award” in 2012, honoring those whose careers best reflect his inspiration.
Walter was a leader in architecture and architectural education in New York. He was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 2005 and received both the President’s Award and Harry B. Rutkins Award from the Center for Architecture and the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 2006. In 2012, the Center for Architecture Foundation established the Walter A. Hunt, Jr. Scholarship Fund to honor his dedication to the field of architecture.
Those who were lucky enough to know Walter would tell you, he was an extremely generous man, preferring always to give rather than receive. He devoted much of his time in retirement to pro bono consulting work that benefited the profession and the community. Walter made a difference in our lives and personally touched many, many people, inside and outside of the firm.
Walter left behind his beloved wife, Judith Tansey Hunt; sons David Alexander Hunt and Christopher William Hunt of Denver, Colo., and Stephen Austin Hunt of Basking Ridge, N.J.; daughters-in-law Erin Crowley Hunt, Sarah Anschutz Hunt, and Mary Matthews Hunt; eight beautiful grandchildren; and his sister Bonnie McIntyre Hunt of Holderness, N.H. With them, we mourn the loss of a warm and wonderful man. He will be deeply missed and always remembered.
In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to the Center for Architecture – Walter A. Hunt, Jr. Scholarship Fund, 536 LaGuardia Place, New York, NY 10012; or to the Judith and Walter Hunt Fund in Architecture, Yale University, to support faculty and student travel related to courses at the Yale School of Architecture.