John Karl Partridge, 53, 'green' architect

John Karl Partridge, 53, of Narberth, an architect who was committed to sustainable green design principles, died Feb. 18 of complications of a brain tumor at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Partridge founded Partridge Architects in Philadelphia in 1987. In recent years, the full-service planning and design firm has been involved in the environmentally friendly, energy-efficient building movement and participated in the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

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John Karl Partridge

In 2006, the firm's own offices in the Bell Atlantic Tower at 1717 Arch St. were awarded LEED Gold certification.

Mr. Partridge, who lectured about green buildings, implemented several innovative green programs in his work space, including the planting of more than 75 trees in Fairmount Park to offset carbon emissions in his office, said his wife, Leigh Geiger Partridge.

He made clients feel comfortable with decisions they were making, said Peter Madden, president of AgileCat, a branding, advertising, and public relations agency.

When AgileCat decided to lease space at 19th and Market Streets in 2007, "I was nervous," Madden said. "John not only made me feel like it was the absolutely right thing to do, he made me think bigger."

For the offices of the company known for its cutting-edge graphic design, Mr. Partridge didn't want to create a vanilla space, Madden said. Instead, there is a red wall and an orange wall - the color of AgileCat's Web site. "John even designed a space for my drums," said Madden, a jazz musician.

Tuong Huynh, an associate at Partridge Architects, said that though Mr. Partridge's presence would be missed, "we are all committed to fulfilling John's wish of having this dynamic firm that he created and nurtured carry on. John was many things to all of us: colleague, visionary, mentor, leader, ally, and friend. We will continue to honor his memory."

A native of Long Island, N.Y., Mr. Partridge earned a bachelor's degree in architecture from the University of Virginia. He worked for architects in Alexandria, Va., and Wilmington before joining Cassway-Albert Ltd. in Philadelphia in 1981. From 1983 to 1987, he was an associate with Ueland & Junker Architects in Philadelphia.

He and his wife met at a University of Virginia alumni party and married in 1990. He died a day after their 19th wedding anniversary.

At home, she said, she and her husband and children had become increasingly sensitive to green issues, aggressively recycling and composting. Last summer, Mr. Partridge planted two tomato plants in a sunny spot by the driveway. They produced more than 100 tomatoes, and he joked that he could just pluck the vegetables off the vine from his car.

In November, more than 30 children attended the first meeting of the Narberth Greens' Kids' Environmental Club, which he helped found.

Mr. Partridge served on the board of the Charter High School for Architecture and Design in Philadelphia. He also mentored young people involved in Students Run Philly Style and ran the Broad Street Run with the group. He coached youngsters on the Lower Merion Soccer Club and Main Line Girls Basketball Association teams.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Bryan; daughters Emily, Allison, and Claire; his parents, Doris Partridge and John Partridge; a brother; and two sisters. His former wife, Barbara Partridge, also survives.

A funeral was held Feb. 21 at Overbrook Presbyterian Church.

Memorial donations may be made to the Charter High School for Architecture and Design, 675 Sansom St., Philadelphia 19106.

 


Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.