Society of Fellows

Obituaries

Henri V. Jova, FAAR 1951

Henri V. Jova, FAAR 1951
Henri V. Jova, Piazza del Popolo at Night, 1951
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Henri V. Jova, Middle-eastern Cityscape, 1951
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Henri Vatable Jova, FAAR, 1951, FAIA, FASID, founding partner of the Atlanta architecture firm Jova/Daniels/Busby (JDB), died on January 13, 2014 in West Palm Beach, Florida, after a short illness. He was 94.

Henri Jova was the last of a generation of young architectural imports to Atlanta in the early 1950s. Along with an emerging group of home-grown architects, Jova contributed to the city’s post-WW II growth and architectural preeminence in the Southeast. His later work, and particularly residential design, was notable among his contemporaries in its fusion of modernism with classical design. This respect for the past motivated Jova‘s involvement with preservation and restoration projects such as the original Underground Atlanta that turned a derelict portion of the city’s historic center into a vibrant and popular commercial district. He was instrumental in the creation of the Midtown Neighborhood Association and actively involved in the formation of the Midtown Business Association. His work to revitalize Midtown Atlanta led to the title “Honorary Mayor of Midtown” and to projects like Colony Square which was the first mixed-use development in the Southeast. While a member of the AIA National Committee on Design in Washington, DC, Jova worked diligently for the preservation of the Grand Central Station in New York. 

Jova was the lead designer for JDB on such landmarks as The Carter Presidential Center (1986 and 1993), Atlanta City Hall Complex (1991), Colony Square (1973), Peachtree Road United Methodist Church Sanctuary (2002), Atlanta Newspapers Building (1971), Bank of America in Buckhead (1987), North Avenue MARTA Station (1981), Carnegie Pavilion in Hardy Ivy Park (1996), and Robert Shaw Room for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (1983). His regional projects included four buildings for Southern Progress Corporation in Birmingham, Alabama (beginning in 1974), Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens (1989), and Dalton (Georgia) First Presbyterian Church (1989). Among many commercial interior design projects at JDB, Jova lead his interior design team in the renovation of the Academy of Medicine and in the design for the new corporate headquarters for BellSouth Enterprises and Robinson Humphrey Co. at Atlanta Financial Center. 

A graduate of Cornell University (1949), Jova’s education was disrupted by World War II when he served in the U.S. Army Combat Engineers in the South Pacific, seeing some of the bloodiest battles of the war in New Guinea and the Philippines. 

Jova was born at his grandparents’ home Danskammer–on-Hudson, an 1830’s Greek Revival home near Newburgh, New York, to a prominent Spanish/French family on May 11, 1919. His grandparents Marie Vatable and Juan Jacinto Jova each traced their families back to Europe by way of the Caribbean. Baron Louis Francois Vatable was a French Governor General of Guadeloupe and Marques Sabas Marin, Jova’s great uncle, was Governor General of Cuba and Puerto Rico. Henri Jova’s father, Joseph Luis Jova, was a ceramic engineer and director in the family’s brick factory whose “JJJ” insignia can be found throughout the late 19th and  early 20th-century buildings of Manhattan and New England. His mother Maria Gonzalez Fernandez Cavada was the daughter of a Spanish diplomat and her great-great uncle, Federico Fernandez Cavada, was the leader of the insurgents during Cuba’s Ten Year War (1868-78) against Spain. He was captured, tried, and executed by a Spanish Tribunal. His portrait hangs in the Capitol at Havana today noting a great patriot in Cuba’s long struggle to gain autonomy. 

Jova was the winner of the prestigious Rome Prize from the American Academy in 1951. A Fulbright Fellowship added an additional year of architectural study in Rome. On his return to New York City he worked for architectural firm Harrison & Abramovitz before moving to Atlanta in 1954 to join his first cousin’s firm, Abreu & Robeson Architects, as chief of design. In 1966, he joined Stanley Daniels and John Busby to form Jova/Daniels/Busby. He retired from the firm as chairman of the board in 2002. 

During his career he was a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and a Fellow of the American Society of Interior Designers. In 1985, Jova received the Silver Medal for “consistent pursuit of achievement of the highest quality in design” from the Atlanta Chapter of American Institute of Architects. In addition he served as a member of the AIA National Committee on Design and as a member of the AIA National Honor Awards Jury. He was on the Board of Advisors at Cornell College of Architecture. 

Throughout his adult life he was active in the theater in New York and in Atlanta. He was involved with the original Wits End Players and was a life trustee of the Theater of the Stars that for many years brought Broadway productions to Atlanta. Jova also continued to have a parallel interest in painting. His work is in numerous corporate and private collections. He was a life trustee of the Atlanta Botanical Garden and served on the boards of the Visiting Nurse Association of Metropolitan Atlanta, the Fulton County Council of the Arts, and the Atlanta College of Art. He was a Knight of Corpus Christi de Toledo (Spain) and a member of the Century Association, (New York City), the Piedmont Driving Club (Atlanta), and a past member of the Society of the Four Arts (Palm Beach). 

A celebration of his life is planned at the Atlanta Botanical Garden on Thursday, April 3 beginning at 5 pm. 

He is survived by his partner of 40 years, David R. Rinehart of West Palm Beach and his nieces and nephews: Lisa Cline, Newburgh, NY; John Robert Cline, NYC; Peter Cline, Venice, CA and Margaret Jova de Gundberg, Madrid Spain; Henry Jova, San Juan, Costa, Rica; Tom Jova, Palm Springs, CA. He was preceded in death by his brother, the Honorable John Joseph Jova of Washington, DC and his sister Ines Jova Cline of Newburgh, NY. In lieu of flowers it is requested that a contribution be made to the Atlanta Botanical Garden (1345 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30309) or to the American Academy in Rome (7 East 60 Street, New York City 10022-1001.