Joseph Urban was one of the most famous architect in the US during the late 1800s and the early 1900s. He did the interior design of Mar-a-Lago, often known as President Trump’s Southern White House.

Early Life and Education

On May 26, 1972, Joseph Urban was born in the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria. As a child, Urban did his formal architecture studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. By the age of 19, he was already a competent architect, who designed one of the wings for Abdin Palace in Cairo.

Personal Life

Joseph Urban was undoubtedly an architectural child prodigy. Although he died at an age of 61 in 1933, his legacy of American Art Deco Style still influences a lot of architects.

Joseph Urban died of heart attack in his Manhattan-based apartment.


Joseph Urban had already been a well-known and highly demanded architect by the early 20s. Hence, in 1890, he started his own architecture firm Hagenbund in collaboration with his brother-in-law. Working in the firm for two decades, Joseph decided to move to the United States as Art Director at the Boston Opera Company. Subsequently, he moved to New York City in 1914 and joined Metropolitan Opera.

While at Metropolitan Opera, Urban offered at least 47 new productions and some renovations. Then, in the 1920s, impressed by Urban’s eye-catching works, Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. enticed him towards Ziegfeld Follies. Alongside Ziegfeld Follies, Urban worked with media tycoon William Randolph Hearst in the film industry. Similarly, Urban also co-produced Caliban by the Yellow Sands.

Works of Joseph Urban

  • 1920: Sherman Hotel Tiger Room, Chicago
  • 1922: Wiener Werkstätte showroom, New York City
  • 1926: Mar-a-Lago, Palm Beach, Florida
  • 1926: Demarest Little Castle, Palm Beach, Florida
  • 1926: Paramount Theatre, Palm Beach, Florida
  • 1927: Anthony Biddle residence, Palm Beach, Florida
  • 1927: Bath and Tennis Club, Palm Beach, Florida
  • 1927: Ziegfeld Theatre, New York City
  • 1926–27: St. Regis Hotel Roof Garden
  • 1928: Hotel Gibson Roof Garden, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 1928: Bossert Hotel, Grill Room, Brooklyn
  • 1928: Bedell Store, New York City
  • 1928–29: William Penn Hotel, Urban Room, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 1929: International Magazine Building, New York City
  • 1929: Central Park Casino
  • 1929: Metropolitan Museum of Art 11th annual exhibition of American Industrial Art
  • 1929: The Gingerbread Castle, Hamburg, New Jersey
  • 1930: The New School for Social Research, New York City
  • 1929–31: Atlantic Beach Club, Long Island, New York
  • 1931: Park Avenue Restaurant, 128 E 58th Street
  • 1932: Congress Hotel, Joseph Urban Room, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1929: Urban Room, Omni William Penn Hotel, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 1933: Katherine Brush Apartment
  • 1933: Color scheme for the Century of Progress International Exposition

Donald Trump and Joseph Urban

Joseph Urban was the architect who did the interior designing of 200-million-dollar Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.


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