Heins and LaFarge met as students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  In 1886 they opened their offices in New York.  Heins was the man on the site and LaFarge, the principal designer. Early commissions were designs for LaFarge’s father, the renowned painter, stained-glass artist and muralist John LaFarge.  In 1888 a design competition for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the most prominent project of its kind in the US was entered by 68 architectural firms, and won in 1891 by Heins & LaFarge who designed it in the Byzantine-Romanesque style.  The next year they won another prime commission to design what is now known as the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, at 91st Street and West End Avenue.  In 1897 the partners designed Astor Court, the original nucleus of neo-Classical temples at the Bronx Zoo, and provided the architecture and details for the Interborough Rapid Transit, the first subway system of New York, and the control house for the IRT at Bowling Green at the corner of Battery Park.  When Heins died in 1907, LaFarge on his own and in partnership with others, went on to design a variety of buildings like the 1915 Brooks Brothers headquarters at 44th and Madison and the 1929 New York Genealogical and Biographical Society at 122 East 58th Street.


George Lewis Heins
B. 1860 Pennsylvania
D.  1907 New York


George Lewis Heins studied at the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he graduated in 1882.  He served his apprenticeship in Minneapolis and then settled in New York where he and Christopher Grant LaFarge formed a partnership in 1886.  In 1896, Heins married the sister of LaFarge.  Heins, one of the best-known architects in the United States, was appointed New York State Architect by governor Theodore Roosevelt in 1899, and designed interiors for the first buildings at the State University of New York.   After an extensive study of cathedrals, Heins became one of the leading authorities on church architecture.  He designed the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the Cathedral of St. Paul the Apostle, the interior of the Church of the Incarnation and the alterations in Grace Church. He was a member of the Calumet, Century, Racquet, University, and Underwriters’ Clubs, the Architectural League, the American Institute of Architects, and the Fort Orange Club of Albany.


Christopher Grant LaFarge
B. 1862 Newport, Rhode Island

D.  1938 New York


Christopher Grant LaFarge, the eldest son of the artist John LaFarge, famous especially for his murals and stained glass panels, was a fellow of the American Institute of Architects.  He served on advisory committees for the schools of architecture at Columbia University, M.I.T. and Princeton University, and also as trustee and secretary for the American Academy in Rome.  In 1866 LaFarge formed a partnership with George Lewis Heins and worked with him to design cathedrals, buildings at the Bronx Zoo, as well as a showpiece station at City Hall and other entrances for the NY subway system.  LaFarge worked with Heins until Heins’ death in 1907.  LaFarge went on to form a partnership with Benjamin Wistar Morris and designed, among other structures, the Architects Building, 101  Park Avenue at 40th Street in New York City.


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