Architect, father, and grandfather, Joseph Schappa passed away in sunny Florida late in the evening on March 10, 2019. His wife, Ruth Palmer and sons, Caleb Schappa and Noah Schappa, were at his bedside. He enjoyed visits from his grandsons, nieces, and nephews during his final days of hospice. His longtime friend and associate, Mark Feinknopf and he met for the last time in Miami earlier this year and enjoyed visiting Wynwood Walls together.
Joe moved to Columbus, in 1971, when Mark Feinknopf, Andrew Macioce and he transitioned the exiting Feinknopf firm to Feinknopf Macioce Schappa Architects (FMS). At FMS, he was involved in many projects including The North Market, Southern Theatre, and several educational oriented projects. Prior to arriving in Ohio, Joe was highly regarded by the Boston architectural community. He enjoyed a close working relationship at The Architects Collaborative with his mentor, Walter Gropius and also with Serge Chermayeff, his critic from Harvard. By 1971, Joe had already designed his first school, been recognized for low-income housing, renovated his historic Salem, MA home, and been President of Historic Salem while they set out to preserve the historic community.
Joe was born on June 21, 1933, in New Haven, CT. Early in life, Joe began a habit of reading several books per week in order to better educate himself. He believed that anything was possible through hard work. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Rhode Island School of Design and his Master’s in architecture from Harvard University, where he first met Gropius. Between his time at RISD and Harvard, Joe served in the Marine Corps and was stationed on the West Coast. While in Boston, Joe also taught at Harvard and the Boston Architectural College. After moving to Ohio, he dedicated his career to creating an inclusive, diverse firm. He encouraged young architects to complete their registration and to keep learning, as he did. Joe was a registered architect in 33 states. His innovative spirit and talent greatly impacted Columbus and the surrounding areas. Later in his career, his passion for education lead him to several school projects around Ohio, including Baltimore, Columbus, Hilliard, Huntington, Tricounty, and Zanesville. Joe felt strongly that schools and environments conducive to learning were the most important contributions an architect could make to the community. He wanted to inspire kids to learn. Joe was active in his local community working closely with the Liberty Union-Thurston School District and helped found and run the Liberty Union Youth Soccer Association. Please consider contributing to colorectal cancer research or the Mystic Seaport Museum. Friends and family can pay their respects at the celebration of life on Sunday, June 23, 2019, from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. at The Westin Great Southern Columbus, 310 S High St, Columbus, Ohio, 43215.