Robert W. Noble was born in Calkins, Wayne Co., PA, the son of Mervin G. and Elva A. Spencer Noble. He earned a B. Arch. in 1926 from the University of Pennsylvania, winning the AIA student medal his senior year. After graduation he entered the office of Stewardson & Page, where, as Noble later recounted it in a "Professional Autobiography," his future partner, Harry G. Stewart, gave him "a one year course in office orientation." Noble then spent two years as a draftsman in the office of Thomas, Martin & Kirkpatrick. From 1928 to 1932 he worked for Ernest J. Matthewson, then engaged on the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co. Building at 6th and Walnut streets in Philadelphia in association with Stewart, who brought Noble in on the project. Noble reported that he was responsible for much of the general design as well as the finish details of the building, including the "cartoons for the bronze doors at the Walnut Street Entrance." After the completion of the Penn Mutual project in 1932, Noble spent a year traveling and sketching in Europe. In 1935 he went to Washington, D. C. to work on a Hightstown, NJ project for the federal Resettlement Administration as an associate architect to Alfred Kastner and Louis I. Kahn. He remained in Washington until the spring of 1937, when the work of Administration was reduced. Noble then found work as a designer in Raleigh, NC, with architect William Henley Deitrich. During World War II Noble worked on military and civilian housing projects for employees around military and naval bases. Noble remained with Deitrich until 1948, and was an associate in the practice by the time of his departure. When Noble then returned to Philadelphia, he worked briefly first for Carroll, Grisdale & Van Alen and then for Harold Wagoner, before joining the practice of his former employer Sydney E. Martin as an associate architect. Harry Stewart was also an associate in the office at the time. Both Noble and Stewart were named Martin's partners in 1954, forming Martin, Stewart & Noble. Noble's affiliation with the firm and its successors continued until his retirement around 1970.
Noble joined the national AIA in 1945 and was named to the College of Fellows in 1962. He was a director of the Philadelphia Chapter in the 1960s. During his stay in North Carolina in the late 1940s, Noble transferred his Chapter membership to that area, moving back to the Philadelphia Chapter in 1950.
Emily T. Cooperman, and
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- North Carolina Chapter (AIA)
- University of Pennsylvania
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