Shraga Berenfeld, 73, architect

Posted: May 21, 2014

Shraga Berenfeld, 73, of Philadelphia, an architect known for his eco-friendly buildings here and abroad, died Friday, May 16, of respiratory arrest at Hahnemann University Hospital.

Born in Siberia, Mr. Berenfeld moved to Israel and then to the United States in 1964. After a stay in New York, he came to the Philadelphia area.

Working for most of the time under the company name Design and Build Architects in Wynnewood, Mr. Berenfeld spent more than three decades doing design and construction work. But his specialty was environmentally sustainable architecture.

He designed 2.0 University Place, 30 N. 41st St., an eco-friendly building officially certified as green.

Mr. Berenfeld also took the outmoded Holmes School at 5429 Chestnut St. and did a historical restoration of its auditorium. He converted the rest of the space into 48 units of housing for seniors.

In a third project - Mirasol in Playa del Carmen, Mexico - Mr. Berenfeld created a residential condominium complex with pool, Jacuzzi, and ocean views while keeping in mind the environment.

Yossi Brodsky, a general contractor who worked with Mr. Berenfeld, said his partner was also a builder.

"He was not a suit-and-tie architect who just supplied blueprints. He came in jeans and a T-shirt," Brodsky said. "He was there every day on the job, making sure his green principles were incorporated from the ground up."

Brodsky described his partner as honest, brilliant, and brimming with energy. "He only needed four hours of sleep. By the time you and I had half an eye open, he had half a day's work done."

He is survived by his wife, Francine Strauss; daughters Michelle, Nina, and Jessica Strauss, and two grandchildren.

Funeral services were Sunday. Shiva continues at the Berenfeld home through Wednesday, May 21, starting at 1 p.m.


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