Urban Physiology, LLC 

   John Rivers   

NCARB, AIA, NOMA

John’s distinguished professional career in art & architecture started around the age of nine or ten, when he challenged himself (jokingly) to draw an image of a woman’s head from a comic book competition, “Draw Me”, sponsored by the Art Instruction School, located in the mid-western United States. As a result of John’s impressive abilities, he was enrolled in the school and got his first ‘T’ square, drawing board, triangle, protractor and compass drafting equipment. While developing his artistic skills, John, also developed a very strong interest in playing neighborhood sports (touch football, stick ball and back yard basketball). For John, stick ball led him to organized baseball; thus, the Cannon Street African American YMCA little league baseball program. In 1955, John was named to the now very famous and historic 1955 Cannon Street YMCA All Stars Little League Baseball team; this team was the only Black Little League team in the State of South Carolina, chartered by Little League Inc. He played short stop. 

While in high school, John continued to develop his skills in drafting and found his talent and passion for wood working, carpentry and mathematics. As a result of this, he decided to become an architect. John attended and was awarded a B.S. in Art Education June 1965 from Hampton (Institute) University. He decided to forego the master’s program at Pratt Institute Fine Arts Graduate School in Brooklyn, NY to become a working architect. Over a 15 year period, John attended Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture’s evening school and worked for very prestigious architectural firms in New York City including Skidmore Owings & Merrill, Bechtel, the M.W. Kellogg Co and Bond Ryder Associates. In 1980, he started his architectural practice and currently leads John Rivers Architects, Inc. 

John is a compassionate world citizen who has made monumental strides and contributions within our communities. He has performed professionally in various capacities – from designer/draftsman to principal – in shaping the lives of others through architecture. And these privileges have afforded him opportunities to become personally involved on some very high-profiled architectural projects, i.e. The Joseph H. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; The Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violent Social Change, Atlanta, GA; The Schomburg Library for Research in Black Culture, New York City; Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, Atlanta, GA; Georgia Pacific Headquarters Office Building, Atlanta, GA; RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, Columbus, GA and others. 

Throughout his career, he has served as a mentor, educator, volunteer and contributor to youth, colleagues, Atlanta’s first black Mayor, Maynard Jackson and America’s first black President, Barack Obama. A member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and a graduate of Leadership Columbus 2000, John has been recognized for his achievements from Georgia U.S. Congressman Sanford Bishop, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and served professional and civic organizations. He served on the advisory board for the current Mayor of Columbus, GA and the foundation board of Columbus Technical College. 

John and his family are avid travelers. They have traveled throughout the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, Europe and Africa. He and his wife, Robenia, have two children and three granddaughters.