David Etnier Austin
(1933 -2023)
A Tribute from Stuart Disston

David Etnier Austin, 90, a profound architect and founding partner of Austin Patterson Disston, died on February 18. A modernist whose work included private residences and community spaces across the Northeast, his designs were thoughtful, innovative and elegant.

In 1984, I had the tremendous fortune of meeting Mr. Austin (‘David’ to me). David was not only a friend, but a mentor and business partner. It is my privilege to acknowledge him as well as his work.

Born in Hartford to Helen Goodwin and A. Everett “Chick” Austin on January 19, 1933, he attended the Kingswood School, Harvard College (B.S.) and the Harvard Graduate School of Design (M. Arch.). He began his career with Philip Johnson in New York before opening up his own practice in Connecticut.

In 1984, Mr. Austin formed a partnership with McKee Patterson and Louise Braverman. Louise left to form her own practice in 1992 and in 1994 I became a partner making what is today, Austin Patterson Disston Architects.

Mr. Austin had a vivid imagination and boundless enthusiasm for life — his passions included sailing, skiing, playing the violin and travel. He never failed to take pleasure in a thoughtful conversation over a good meal. 

He is a great loss to the architectural field, his firm, family and friends.