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navid maqami

NAVID MAQAMI, RENOWNED ARCHITECT AND CO-FOUNDER OF S9 ARCHITECTURE, DIES AT AGE 59

Navid Maqami, prolific New York architect and co-founder of S9 Architecture, known widely for his kindness, humor and dedication to his craft, died on Friday, July 19 after a yearlong battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his wife and two sons in Manhattan. He was 59 years old.

His wife Niloo confirmed his death.

S9 Architecture, which Maqami co-founded with John R. Clifford in 2011, is responsible for creating some of New York’s most celebrated projects of the last decade. Built with a deep and defining sense of teamwork, he empowered those around him to develop and express their creativity. Maqami believed that every project had a story, and that narrative was the inflection point between a block or neighborhood’s past and its future. His dedication to this kind of social, societal and physical storytelling made him one of New York’s most respected contextual architects. This commitment earned him more than a dozen awards including from the Municipal Arts Society and Urban Land Institute. 

One of his most lauded projects is Dock 72, towering 16 stories above the East River in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Historically the birthplace of some of America’s most venerated warships, the Brooklyn Navy Yard was one of the nation’s premiere maritime construction facilities for much of the 19th and 20th centuries. Maqami led the design process to reimagine the shipyard as a hub of innovation that pays homage to the mighty ships built along the river while simultaneously creating a modern ecosystem to foster technology, manufacturing and creative sectors. In 2016, the project received the Excellence in Design Award from the New York City Public Design Commission.  

Dock 72 celebrated its grand opening just a few weeks before Maqami died. Unable to attend, he commemorated the opening from his hospital room with his wife and two sons, never missing a moment to celebrate both extraordinary opportunity and his unyielding love for his family. 

Born in Iran and raised in the United Kingdom from age 13, Maqami attended Oswestry Boarding School before graduating from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London in 1984. He moved to New York in 1987 and worked at Davis Brody and GreenbergFarrow before launching his own venture, S9 Architecture.

Devoted to bringing out the very best in his people, Maqami was infamous for using laughter as a tool to help young associates learn and grow. Never from a place of judgement and always smiling, he used clever turns of phrase and extraordinary wit to communicate the thesis of a critique. 

His life outside of work was dedicated entirely to his family. Since 1993, the West Village of Manhattan was their beloved home where he and Niloo, his wife of nearly 40 years, raised their sons. Arsean, a senior director of development at WeWork, and Arman, a musician and actor, brought him much joy.  

Maqami was a member of the American Institute of Architects, the Architectural League, the Urban Land Institute and the Urban Design Forum.

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To celebrate Navid’s life, his family is creating a digital book of your favorite memories, inspirations, funny stories, photographs, sketches, etc. that capture how Navid’s joy and passion for life touched you. The family is collecting these mementos, including photos of hand-written notes and thoughts, so they can have a record of Navid’s life seen through the eyes of his colleagues and friends and how he inspired so many.

You may share any of the above by emailing them to: maqamifamily@navidmaqami.com

Once the digital book is complete, a notice will be sent to everyone who contributed to it so it may be viewed by all. Hard copies will be printed and bound for family members.

Thank you for providing these memories of Navid’s life.