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Neal Prince

Neal Prince Neal Prince Neal Prince Trust

"Neal A. Prince (1921-2017) was Born in Corsicana, Texas with degrees in Architecture and Architectural Engineering from Rice University in Houston, Texas. Mr. Prince did military service with the United States Army 39th Combat Engineers in Italy. Returning to Texas, he first joined the Architectural Firm of Ernest Schultz. He soon became active at the Houston Little Theater, which produced a prizewinning play, "Cry Out Cassandra," that he had authored. After a period as he gave up his Architectural profession to become the President and Business Manager of the Houston Little Theatre, he went to the East coast and served for a season as Director of The Wyndham Playhouse in New Hampshire.

A spell in New York with the Actors Studio brought him to the classical quandary of those bitten by the theatre bug: a regular job supporting a regular diet or stick it out in Theater. Creature comfort won and through the Architectural League he secured a position with the firm of York & Sawyer Architects in 1950, the firm was noted for the design of hospitals. After several months of observations in New York Bellevue Hospital, Mr. Prince became the firm's expert on the layout and planning of Hospital Emergency Rooms.

In due course he decided against a lifetime in Healthcare Architecture, Mr. Prince switched firms to Schoen & Hennessy Architecture Firm in 1954 (The Named Partner was the son of Eugene Schoen, renown "Art Deco" Designer, who became a mentor to Mr. Prince), when Mr. Prince was assigned a project to design a motorway restaurant for Restaurant Associates, New York's most creative force in restaurant operations at the time. The job involved a complete package: Architecture, Drafting and Interior Design.

Mr. Prince took a genuine interest in the latter, and made a career move to the Walter M. Ballard Corporation, Interior Design Firm in 1958, at Byron Calhoun's request, he did work on a project to remodel the Hotel Jaragua in Ciudad Trujillo, Dominican Republic, most of which was never carried out, and a modest remodeling of the San Juan Hotel in Puerto Rico. The Firm of Walter M. Ballard had a contract for the Interiors of the Phoenicia InterContinental Hotel in Beirut, Lebanon, and Mr. Prince was sent there to work on the Interiors and also, because of his background, to represent the architect, Edward Stone, in matters of the Interior layouts and finishes. All the furniture pieces were designed by Mr. Prince and manufactured locally with Prince's supervision.

In January 1961, Mr. Prince was hired to work full time as the Staff Vice President of Interior Design Division for Intercontinental Hotels, a Pan-Am Airlines Development Department. The intention, being at least in developing countries, that InterContinental Hotels would produce its Interior Designs "in-house" and be reimbursed at cost under the TSA's. Mr. Prince shortly engaged Kenneth Smith, from the Walter M. Ballard Firm, and Charles R. Alvey, a specialist in Graphics and Industrial Design.

Mr. Prince's concepts and ideas were the forefront of its time, after designing and opening as many as 154 International InterContinental Hotels from 1961-1985, Mr. Prince gained the deepest respect on the International Interior Design level. Mr. Prince uses function with ethnic style. With his ability to design each new Hotel using local materials and talents, such as the native artists and craftsman, he produced each Hotel with its own National personality and flare but maintained the Corporate highest standards of InterContinental Hotel.

Mr. Prince gained the respect and acceptance by the local authorities.  This in turn avoided any local resistance in building the new Hotels around the world. With the assistance of Charles R. Alvey, Richard W. Simpson, Dale and Pat Keller, Joe Grusczak, James Ray Baker, Irene D'Alessio and others, Mr. Prince became an Innovator as he helped created an industry of International Hotel Designs and personalities that reflected the indigenous Country in each property. InterContinental Hotels gained much growth and respect throughout the world by those concepts of designs.

Still today, his work is relatively unknown on a domestic level, but his concepts and designs are still utilized by the InterContinental Hotels Group and Hotel Designers. Much is to be learned from Mr. Prince's long history of experience from his first complete design for a hotel, Phoenicia InterContinental Hotel in Beirut, Lebanon, to his last project doing the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C. Much is to be passed down from Mr. Prince's experience and knowledge. It is important that this is passed on in an educational manner." [ Ref.1 ]

"Neal Adair Prince (b. 1921) was born in Corsicana, Texas to a family involved in the oil and gas industry. Graduating from Rice University in 1943 with a degree in architectural engineering, he was drafted in World War II, where he served in the 39th Army Corps of Engineers until 1946. After working both in architecture and theatre-as a playwright, director, and set designer-he landed in New York, where he worked for architectural firms specializing in healthcare and hospitality design.

In 1958, Prince made a fateful career move to the architectural firm of William M. Ballard. Ballard had recently won a contract to design the interior of Pan-Am’s Phoenicia Inter-Continental Hotel in Beirut, and assigned Prince to accompany the hotel’s renowned architect, Edward Durrell Stone, to Beirut to plan out the interiors. At the Phoenicia, Prince would pioneer what would become his signature approach to interior design: marrying local culture, materials and the work of artisans to create interiors evocative of the color, climate, and vernacular traditions of each foreign destination, housed within the sleek modern sensibility of the Inter-Continental hotel’s architectural design. Prince would begin the design process with a “walk through” that included walking the streets of the given city to get a feel for the culture and local businesses.

In 1961, Prince was hired to work full time as the Director of Interior and Graphic Design in Pan-Am’s Hotel Development Services Division. Over the course of nearly 25 years, Prince would go on to lead the team responsible for the interior design and branding of more than 135 Inter-Continental hotels. He has received numerous awards, including Institutions Magazine award for outstanding Interior Designs for his work on Intercontinental Genève, in Switzerland and the Siam Inter-Continental in Bangkok, Thailand."  [ Ref.2 ]

1944-46, served to 1st Lt. 39th Combat of Engineers HQ, United States Army
1947-48, Architect, Ernest L. Shultz Architect, Houston, Texas 1949, Playwright and Business Manager, Houston Little Theatre, Houston, Texas
1950, Director, Wyndham Playhouse, New Hampshire
1950-53, Architect, York & Sawyer Architects, New York, New York
1954, Production Assistant, Production: LULLABY, Lyceum Theatre, New York, New York
1954-57, Architect and Designer, Schoen & Hennessy Architects, New York, New York
1958-60, Chief Architect and Designer, Walter M. Ballard Corporation, New York, New York
1961-86 Vice President Interior & Graphic Design Division, Pan-Am / InterContinental Hotels Corporation
1986-00 President, Prince Hotels Development, PHD, Inc., New York, New York
2001-2017, International Interior Designer Consultant to the Hospitality Industry

Projects in Iran
1- InterContinental Tehran Hotel, (1971)

2- Cyrus InterContinental Hotel, Shiraz, Iran (1971)
3- Darius InterContinental Hotel, Persepolis, Iran (1971)


1- InterContinental Hotel Corporation Digital Archives []
2- OMEKA | New York school of interior design []

Read 8459 times Last modified on Thursday, 28 May 2020 05:00