Meet 2021 New England Design Hall of Fame Inductee David Scott Parker
October 29, 2021
Perhaps it was inevitable that David Scott Parker would become an architect. He grew up in tiny New Harmony, Indiana, a town founded in the nineteenth century as a utopian community. The Lutheran separatists who settled the town were fascinated by and passionate about design.
Luckily, the generations that followed appreciated the houses and commercial buildings those early settlers erected, and when Parker was a teen, the town was in the process of preserving the old structures. “I worked on the restoration of twenty or thirty buildings between junior high and college,” he recalls, “and that experience made me fascinated with traditional architecture and with restoration and preservation.”
New Harmony also attracted some of the twentieth century’s modernist stars, Parker says, resulting in fine examples of contemporary design by such luminaries as Philip Johnson and Richard Meier.
The reverence for old and appreciation of new followed Parker through his studies at the University of Virginia and Harvard, at his first job, working with Richard Meier on The Getty museum in California, and with the founding of his Southport, Connecticut, firm in 1989.
The twenty members of his company work on a wide range of projects both residential and institutional. They’ve preserved National Historic Landmarks like Connecticut’s Mark Twain House & Museum; designed the master plan for Berklee College of Music’s New York City facility; and built new homes in a variety of styles across the country, from a Mediterranean-inspired California villa to a contemporary Manhattan penthouse to a classic shingled New England carriage house.
Whether he’s building a new home or renovating an older one, Parker particularly likes the interactive nature of residential architecture. “I enjoy working with clients and engaging them in the process so that they take pride in what we’ve accomplished together,” he says. “I get a lot of pleasure out of making clients happy.”