A service will take place on Sunday to celebrate the life and legacy of architect Mark Feinknopf, who was instrumental in shaping the modern Columbus skyline. He died on August 28.
In more than three decades as an architect and urban planner, Feinknopf has been involved in a series of transformational projects in the Columbus area, including the restoration of the Southern Theater, the North Market, the City Center Mall, the Columbus Zoo, the Columbus Museum of Art, AmeriFlora and the University of the Capital.
“He’s worked on so many projects,” said his daughter, Kim Feinknopf-Dorrian, who has researched her father’s life. “In 1987 alone, he was working on 23 projects near Broad and High. It has been a year.
Born in 1936 in Bexley, Feinknopf graduated from Yale University in engineering and, after serving in the military, from Harvard School of Design.
He returned to Columbus to join the architectural firm of his father, Mark Feinknopf and Associates, which would later become Feinknopf Macioce & Schappa (FMS) architects.
“He just had this architectural and planning story that he took with him in his life,” said Feinknopf-Dorrian, who noted that his father’s maternal grandfather was also involved in the development of the city.
One of Feinknopf’s most exciting projects arose from his Harvard thesis in 1963: a mixed-use transportation hub in downtown Columbus, an idea the Central Ohio Transit Authority is now pursuing at the site of the old Greyhound Bus Terminal on East Town Street.
Feinknopf has been one of a series of civic groups, many of which have focused on growing downtown, including the Capital Square Commission, the Capital South Task Force, the Downtown Columbus Executive Committee, and the Columbus Committee. development of the Great Columbus.
He was also active outside of his architectural practice, teaching at Ohio State University from 1963 to 1971, serving as President of the Columbus Chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 1979, co-chairing the County Planning Group of Franklin Together 2000, founding the Columbus Atelier on the Urban Environment and as a Bexley town planner for 23 years.
After retiring in 1996, Feinknopf moved to Georgia to be with his partner, Cynthia Moe. The couple were followers of Marshall Rosenberg, who founded the Center for Non-Violent Communication, which led them to establish the Compassionate Communication Center of Ohio in Columbus, dedicated to Rosenberg’s teachings.
For Feinknopf’s son, Brad Feinknopf, the two parts of his father’s life reflect a common thread.
“Basically, he’s done everything he can to make society a better place, whether it’s a physical space or something like AmeriFlora, or helping people communicate better with others,” said Brad Feinknopf, an accomplished architectural photographer.
Feinknopf was predeceased by his wife, Sheila Levison Feinknopf, and his sister, Ellen F. Mack. He is survived by his partner, Cynthia Sipes Ugan Moe, his children, Mark Bradley Feinknopf (Abby) and Kim Feinknopf-Dorrian (Joe), and his step-sons Kevin (Andrew) Ugan and Steven (Pam) Ugan, and his grandchildren.
Feinknopf’s life will be celebrated from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Jeffrey Mansion in Bexley. The family is asking that instead of flowers, charitable contributions be made to the Mark G. Feinknopf Legacy Fund, administered by the Columbus Foundation.