John L. Volk Collection

Royal Poinciana Plaza, site rendering circa 1957
Royal Poinciana Plaza, site rendering circa 1957

John L. Volk (1901-1984)


John Volk was born in Graz, Austria, and emigrated to New York City at the age of nine with his family. Volk studied architecture at Columbia University and apprenticed with H.P. Knowles, a Masonic architect in New York. In 1925 he relocated to Florida during the real estate boom, and he opened his own practice there in 1926. Architect Gustav A. Mass joined as a partner from 1927 to 1937.  He was commissioned to design over 2,000 projects during his 60 years of practicing architecture in Palm Beach. 

Volk’s most significant commercial projects are the Royal Poinciana Plaza and additions and renovations to the First National Bank.  Outstanding among his civic projects were the Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale, the Royal Poinciana Playhouse, and additions and renovations to the Everglades Club and the Bath and Tennis Club. His residential projects ranged from estates for titans of the financial world to smaller homes in new subdivisions. There is no particular style exclusively associated with Volk; he perfected many styles from Mediterranean Revival to Modern. Volk’s legacy can be found on almost every street in Palm Beach and throughout the United States and the Bahamas. 

Collection: The collection was donated in 2018 by Volk’s son John K. Volk Jr, and contains over 24,000 architectural drawings, 300 volumes from his personal library, 4,000 photographs, and a collection of Volk family correspondence and social history documentation. Click here for the Volk Finding Aid.

John L. Volk


Tangier Estates, section, elevation, and plan, 1948