Gene Alexander was senior partner in the firm Alexander & Truex, which helped lead the community planning and visioning activities that resulted in the creation of the Church Street pedestrian mall in downtown Burlington. Alexander & Truex was deeply involved in master planning for Burlington and Winooski during the heyday of urban renewal in the 1960ís and 70ís, and downtown Burlington looks and feels the way it does today largely due to their influence. Gene started practicing architecture in Vermont in the 1950s, and during a 40+ year career he designed many residences, commercial and institutional buildings throughout the state.
Eugene Alexander was born in Varna, Bulgaria in 1921 and came to the United States as an infant. He grew up in Manhattan, graduated from Townsend Harris High School, attended college at Cooper Union, and studied art briefly under Hans Hoffman at the Art Students League. After a stint in the US Army in World War II, he attended University of Michigan School of Architecture in Ann Arbor, graduating in 1950.
Gene worked as an industrial designer, and moved to Charlotte, Vermont in 1953 to become chief architect for Dan Kiley. He left Kiley's firm in 1958 to establish an architectural practice in Burlington. In the mid-1960s he began a partnership with architect William Truex. Alexander & Truex grew and evolved through a series of changes in the 1970s and 1980s, becoming Alexander & Truex DeGroot Cullins, then Alexander Truex DeGroot. Gene retired officially in 1987, and began spending winters in Albufeira, Portugal. He continued to practice architecture after retirement, mostly for friends and community organizations in Burlington and in his adopted home in Portugal, until his death in October 1996.
Gene was an accomplished wood worker, designer, inventor, teacher and an inveterate tinkerer. He designed furniture for Herman Miller, and commercial graphics for a variety of manufacturers. He worked as a sign painter, and hand-painted the sign for a Vermont State liquor store he designed. He had a well-earned reputation as someone who could fix just about anything. If he needed a part or a tool to fix something and he couldn't find the right one, he would make it. Gene also taught architecture at the University of Vermont as an adjunct faculty member in the 1970s.
Biographical Statement by Ben Alexander, 2010
Used with permission