Skip to main content

Lewis Zurlo Associates Architecture & Interior Design Collection

Identifier: MS 028

Scope and Content Note

Series 1: Job Files, 1985-2004 - Organized chronologically by job number (Boxes 1-14, oversized 1 and 2). Series contains: Correspondence, plans, proposals, shop drawings, sketches, construction schedules, certificates for payments, clippings, inspections, bids, and reports.

Series 2: Specifications/Contracts/Project Manuals, 1976-2003 - Organized chronologically by job number (Box 15-18, 29). Series contains: Outline specifications, contracts, and project manuals. Also includes models: Ericson House and the Savings Bank Loans Center.

Series 3: Blueprints and Drawings, 1967-2004 - Organized chronologically by job number (Blueprint boxes 1-11, and black flat file cabinet). Series contains: Blueprints, computer generated drawings, pencil and ink drawings.

Series 4: Request for Qualifications & Bids, 1984-2004 - Arranged in chronological order (Boxes 18 and 24). Series contains: Qualifications and bids.

Series 5: Slides and Photographs, 1958-2003 - Arranged alphabetically and chronologically (Boxes 19-21, slide boxes 1-6, photograph boxes 1-5, 2-drawer metal file, oversized 3 and oversized bin). Series contains: Slides, photographs, negatives and color photocopies (bids & costs estimates may also be included)

Series 6: Zip Disks/CD-RW Disks/Floppy Disks, 1992-2004 - Arranged chronologically. Series contains: Disk and zip disk file boxes, Projects and manufacturer's literature.

Series 7: Historic Preservation, 1976-1999 - Arranged alphabetically (Boxes 17-18, oversized boxes 1-2). Series contains: Correspondence, clippings, reports, periodicals, and pamphlets

Series 8: Personal, 1958-1997 - Arranged alphabetically (Boxes 18, 22-27, 29 and oversized 3, 6). Series contains: Awards, licenses, memberships, first office sign.

Series 9: Miscellaneous, 1963-2005 - Arranged alphabetically (Boxes 18, 24-26). Series contains: Brochures, clippings, and publications.


  • Creation: 1956-2005


Access Restrictions

Open for research without restrictions.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish materials must be obtained in writing from the:
Ruth A. Haas Library
Archives and Special Collections
181 White Street
Danbury, CT 06810
Phone: 203-837-8992

Historical/Biographical Note

Lewis Zurlo received a BA in Architecture from Pratt Institute in 1958. While at Pratt, he subscribed to the architectural magazine Progressive Architecture. Every quarter the magazine ran an article called "The Architect and His Community." Zurlo instinctively knew this was the model he would follow during his career.

While at Pratt, Mr. Zurlo competed with other students on various projects and placed as follows: Second Place to design a "Low Cost Housing Project" in NYC (1956); First Place as a team member to design "A City in the Jersey Meadows" (1957); Honorable Mention - Design "National Psychiatric Hospital" (1958).

Prior to establishing a private practice in 1973, Lewis Zurlo was a Staff Designer with the firm of Eero Saarinen & Associates, Assistant Chief Designer with John Graham & Associates, and Associate Architect with Eliot Noyes & Associates.

During this period, Zurlo was involved at various levels in such projects as the Lincoln Center Repertory Theatre in New York City; the Dulles Airport graphics program in Washington, D. C.; the U. N. Pavilion at Expo '68 in Montreal, Canada; the May Department Store, North Olmstead, Ohio; Mobil Laboratories and Offices, Stonybrook, N.J.; and the IBM Education Center, Armonk, New York.

As part of a team, Zurlo competed in two international competitions: Out of 287 architects who competed, Zurlo placed third for design of a "Library for Dublin University, Ireland" in 1960; although he did not place, he competed with other architects to design the tallest building in Buenos Aires with now famous architect Ceasar Pelli in 1963.

While working in the office of Eliot Noyes, Zurlo was project architect on the following among others: Meadow Street Fire Station: Best Building of the Year Award in Norwalk, Connecticut of 1971; "Record Houses" of 1971 and 1974; and the Johnson Residence, which received the Connecticut Society of Architects Honor Award in 1975.

In addition, Zurlo received the following awards: Sunderland Award for distinguished service to historic preservation from the Danbury Preservation Trust in 1990; in 1994 he was given the Excellence in Design Award from the City of Danbury for three projects at the opening ceremony of the Galleria. 1. The Union Savings Galleria, Main Street,

2. Liberty Terrace, Liberty Street, and 3. 258-268 Main Street Façade Improvements; and, Best Townhouse awarded to Liberty Terrace by two national magazines, Multi-Housing News and Pillars of the Industry in 1994.

Phase I: Most of Zurlo's early work in Danbury consisted of home additions especially in the Lake Waubeeka area of Danbury. By 1978 his home/office on Lake Candlewood was sold and Zurlo moved his office into a small, two-story building on Main Street, which he had recently renovated. Three of his first non-residential jobs were for local churches. He was commissioned to build a Chapel and Social Hall for the First Congregational Church in New Milford (1968), the interior and exterior of New Hope Baptist Church on Cherry Street (1976), and, added a second level to the United Methodist Church in New Milford (1978).

In 1978, Dr. Herb Janick asked Zurlo to join the Danbury Preservation Trust. He joined and remained a member for the next 20 years. During that time, Zurlo did many projects directly related to historic restoration and renovation; however, the work was not limited to historic work but was an all inclusive practice that worked for all clients regardless of the scope of their project. During this period Zurlo felt that much of his work tended to be more "social work" than architectural work.

Two of the first important historic façade improvements were on Danbury's Main Street: the Devoe Insurance Company and the Music Guild, both completed in 1984. These two façades are still maintained and set the tone and spirit of what the Danbury Preservation Trust wanted to establish for Main Street. It worked to a great extent because many other clients followed the example to a lesser or greater degree. It also led the then Mayor Dyer to award a contract to Zurlo's office for a complete study of Main Street façades including Post Office Street, Ives Street, and a part of White Street. The next contract was to illustrate architectural improvements for these façades but the work was never completed due to lack of funds.

A very important building renovation and addition was the Hull Building on Main Street. The Downtown Redevelopment Agency intended to tear down the building because they deemed it an eye sore. The north side of the building had suffered fire damage, both physically and esthetically, when the J. C. Penny Building burned down. The top floor of the Hull Building had been a gymnasium for Danbury High School for many years; the second floor was still used as a sewing space sweatshop; and, retail stores were on the first floor. When the Hull Building had burned down circa 1907, the Hull family decided to rebuild the entire structure in concrete so that it would never burn down again. With these facts in hand, Zurlo were able to convince the Redevelopment Agency, with the cooperation of Joe DaSilva, Sr., to renovate the building by having apartments on the upper floors and retail stores on the first floor. When the new Liberty Street was completed, the Redevelopment Agency asked Joe DaSilva, Sr. to put an addition on the north side of the remaining triangular property, which Zurlo did with DaSilva's cooperation.

Phase II: In 1980, Zurlo formed a partnership with Dan Kistler, an architect from New Canaan, Conn., who brought his client IBM with him. During 1980 to 1990 the office did many IBM interiors within the state as well as others. This partnership allowed the office to hire staff people, and by 1987 the office employed 8 people including the principals. It also allowed the office to pursue and obtain larger and better commissions. Zurlo still pursued the local work while Kistler primarily handled IBM.

Zurlo obtained the contract to convert the Old Library, at the corner of Main Street and Library Place, into a Cultural Center for the Danbury Music Center, the Cultural Commission, and the original Women's Center. This was accomplished by adding a new elevator/exit stair to the rear, new slate roof, new windows, restored woodwork, new HVAC, and new rest rooms on the second level so that level could become the Marion Anderson Concert Hall. In 1987, Zurlo+Kistler obtained the largest commission the office ever had: the Sandpit Luxury Condominiums, which was to be located above the medical center on Germantown Road. The condos had three swimming pools, underground parking, pent house apartments in two seven-story buildings with a separate clubhouse, indoor pool, and exercise center. A full set of drawings were completed but the project never went ahead due to the general collapse of the condo market in the late 1980s.

During this same time, Zurlo+Kistler did a considerable amount of affordable and elderly housing working with local, state, federal, and private institutions like HUD, CHFA, Connecticut Department of Housing, Farmers Home Association, Danbury Non Profit Development Corporation, and the Diocese of Bridgeport. Nolan Enterprises of Danbury was their client on many of these projects. Affordable housing projects included The Godfrey Apartments (1980), The Vincent apartments (1982), Phineas Park Apartments (1982), Halpin Court Apartments (1987), Hatter's Yard Condominiums (1987), and in the 1990s Bishop Curtis (elderly) Homes, Palace View (elderly) Housing, and Harrison Square Apartments (2000).

In 1984, developer Nolan Enterprises hired Zurlo+Kistler, along with world famous architect Ceasar Pelli of New Haven, to enter a local competition to redesign an 8 acre tract in the center of Danbury. Zurlo had worked with Ceasar Pelli in the offices of Eero Saarinen in Birmingham, Michigan, and thought they had a good chance to win this competition. It ended with John Errichetti being awarded first prize under questionable circumstances. Even though Errichetti was awarded the contract, he never finished the project. In the end, Zurlo+Kistler were able to get many of their original proposals designed and built on a much smaller, more appropriate, scale. The projects included the Main Street Galleria (1994), Liberty Terrace (1997), and moving the Bethel Church of God (1997). Although Zurlo+Kistler did not design the skating rink, the original idea was shown in their Redevelopment Plan of 1984.

Another significant project was the redesigning of the Downtown Sidewalk Streetscape (1989). They did preliminary drawings which were instrumental in obtaining Connecticut State funds to move the project forward.

This phase ended with Zurlo receiving the Sunderland Award (1990) for distinguished service to Historic Preservation.

Phase III:

When Dan Kistler retired in 1990, the office reverted back to Lewis Zurlo Associates. During the next 10 years, Zurlo was very fortunate to be the architect for the Union Savings Bank and the Savings Bank of Danbury. The Galleria (1994) was commissioned by the Union Savings Bank and has become a landmark in downtown Danbury. Zurlo did almost all of the interiors within the Galleria as well as the Union Savings Bank. Zurlo also restored, renovated, and put a major addition on the west side of the Savings Bank of Danbury (1997). By 1999, Zurlo had designed and built the Savings Bank Loan Center in time to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Bank. He also designed the interiors for these two jobs as well as other branch banks such as the Savings Bank of Danbury in New Milford. Charles Frosh, President of the Union Savings Bank and Hal Wibling, President of the Savings Bank of Danbury were his main clients during this period of time.

The Community Health Center (1998), commissioned by Tony Rizzo for Danbury Hospital, was a major contribution to needy people in downtown Danbury.

A pro bono project that Zurlo worked on was the Ericson House at 3 Pandanaram Road. The project involved restoration and/or moving the house to another location. Ten years of off and on attempts to have it restored were unsuccessful. Even though there had been a bad fire in the Ericson house, developer George Davon salvaged much of the historic trim and Zurlo developed plans to rebuild the front section exactly as it was. To make it economically feasible, plans were drawn to alter the rear portion of the house and construct three condominiums within the building. The City of Danbury cooperated and gave a piece of land on the corner of Franklin Street and Osborn Street where the house could be moved to. Unfortunately, Davon died unexpectedly in the late 1990s and the project was cancelled.

Zurlo worked with the Sullivan Architectural Group during 1997-2003. Their final large project in the downtown area was the city's new Senior Center, Elmwood Hall (2003).


60.5 Linear Feet (36 boxes, 1 photo box, computer disks)

Language of Materials



Lewis Zurlo spent 32 years designing buildings in and around the western Connecticut area and was a member of the Danbury Preservation Trust. The collection includes personal and architectural materials Zurlo collected over his professional career and significant architectural information on a number of buildings in and around Danbury for which Zurlo and his firm's services were retained.


See Scope content note.

The files are grouped into 9 series:

Missing Title

  1. Series 1: Job Files, 1985-2004
  2. Series 2: Specifications/Contracts/Project Manuals, 1976-2003
  3. Series 3: Blueprints and Drawings, 1967-2004
  4. Series 4: Request for Qualifications & Bids, 1984-2004
  5. Series 5: Slides and Photographs, 1958-2003
  6. Series 6: Zip Disks/CD-RW Disks/Floppy Disks, 1992-2004
  7. Series 7: Historic Preservation, 1976-1999
  8. Series 8: Personal, 1958-1997
  9. Series 9: Miscellaneous, 1963-2005


The collection was donated to the WCSU Archives/Haas Library in 2005.

Guide to the Lewis Zurlo Associates Architecture & Interior Design Collection
Unverified Full Draft
Mary Rieke
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from Lewis Zurlo Assoc. Inventory.doc

Repository Details

Part of the Western Connecticut State University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Haas Library
181 White St
Danbury 06810 USA US
203.837.8322 (Fax)