Herb Auerbach had the good fortune of being born on the right side of the bridge in Brooklyn, New York over 70 years ago. To compensate for his meagre talents and to assuage a doting aunt, Herb spent much time during his youth allowing her to drag him to Broadway shows and dance performances.
While at the High School of Art and Design in New York, he also studied painting at the Brooklyn Museum. His interest in art combined with his love of theatre led him to a career as a stage designer, doing work for the American National Theater Academy. This career was soon aborted in favor of one in architecture.
Upon parole from Pratt Institute, his degree in architecture was accompanied with a commission in the US Army, which resulted in a tour of duty in France, culminating by living in Paris France for 5 years. Returning to the US to recapture his identity, Herb returned to work as an architect in the offices of I.M. Pei and Associates, and was soon sent as the firm’s resident architect on their famous Place Ville-Marie project in Montreal. After 3 years in Montreal Herb he and his wife Mary decided to remain in Montreal, become Canadian citizens, and raise their 5 children.
Herb was Vice President of Development for Concordia Estates, President of Descon Condordia the sole Canadian firm to win a major research grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. He co-founded Devencore Real Estate Consulting Division which conceptualized and realized such avante garde projects as Place Mercantile and Les Ruelles de la Fortification in Montreal. During this time he sat on the planning committee of the National Capitol Commission.
For the past 40 years, the last 27 in Vancouver, Herb has acted as a real estate development consultant, conceiving highest and best use scenarios, and packaging unique real estate ventures. His clients, among others included, Simon Fraser University, BCTF, Weldwood of Canada, CANFOR, Macmillan Bloedel, Tokyu Canada, Hammerson Canada Inc, and Guelph University. Herb has been teaching for the past eight years, the course he created, “Real Estate Development from the Inside Out” as part of Simon Fraser University’s City Program.
Throughout his professional career, and in attempt to maintain his sanity, Herb Auerbach remained committed to, and has been involved as a volunteer in serving the arts. In Montreal, on a battlefield strewn with corpses, he founded Centaur Theatre, the City’s major English language regional theatre, which after 40 years is still thriving. Herb is currently a life governor of the National Theatre School of Canada, and was a Founding Director of the Western Gold Theatre Society. He has inspired, encouraged and provided advice to many budding arts groups. In Montreal he assisted in launching La Groupe de la Place Royale and the Montreal Chamber Orchestra. In Vancouver he was the first donor to the Vancouver Fringe Festival, has been an advisor to the Full Figure Theatre Company, the Arthur Erickson House and Garden Foundation, the President’s Council of the University of Northern British Columbia, the Dance Foundation, and a member of the Downtown Vancouver Association’s Arts and Culture Committee. Herb Auerbach is a past member of the Boards of the Downtown Vancouver Association, Vancouver Playhouse, The Dance Centre, Business and the Arts, and served on the Advisory Board of KCTS PBS television.
Herb has been responsible for producing the 9 Bill Reid Invitational Concert Series at the Haida House at the University of british Columbia, and for having established the Bill Reid Foundation, and is currently its advisor and Founding Director. He played a key role in producing the Foundation’s “Spirit Concert” broadcast nationwide, as well as playing a key role in bringing the Foundation’s major 2006/2007 exhibition “Totems to Turquoise” to the Vancouver Museum.
Herb is credited with conceptualizing and promoting the project of a National Aboriginal Art Gallery and creation of the Cultural Precinct for Vancouver, a project embraced by the City of Vancouver and the Province of British Columbia.
Herb Auerbach teaches a course on real estate development at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver. He wrote Placemakers: A Brief History of Real Estate Development with Ira Nadel. He has abiding interests in history, travel, and visual arts.