Educated in both private and public schools, young Shreve entered the College of Architecture at Cornell, and following his graduation in 1902 remained a member of the faculty at the College four years.
Among the works he supervised - erection of Goldwin Smith Hall on the campus, a building designed by Carrere & Hastings, and on completion of the building in 1906, Mr. Shreve joined the drafting staff in the firm's office. In his work he was brought into association with William Lamb, and in 1920 they left the firm to begin practice together.
Acquiring a large and efficient organization, Shreve & Lamb were able to plan and execute many important commissions in a partnership in which their efforts and responsibilities were divided as work in the office might demand. On the 102-story Empire State Building, the world's highest structure when completed in 1931, Mr. Shreve was personally responsible for solving the many problems involved in the design and erection of the huge structure. Among other major achievements of the firm was the Standard Oil Building; Office of the North American Insurance Company, 500 Fifth Ave., the Fisk, Macmillan and General Motors Buildings, and a 20-story addition to the Bankers' Trust Company Building, all in Manhattan. Shreve 6 Lamb were also architects of the Acacia Mutual Life Insurance Building, Washington, D.C., the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Building, Winston-Salem, N.C., Hudson House, Ardmore-on-Hudson; the Auditorium, Library, Faculty House and Dormitories at the Connecticut College for Women at New Haven, and a new building on Park Avenue, New York, for Hunter College.
In addition to his private practice Mr. Shreve served as Chief Architect of the Williamsburgh Housing Project in New York, the first of the city's large- scale developments under the new Housing Authority; Director of the New York Slum Clearance Project; Chief Architect of the Parkchester and Metro¬politan Life Insurance Housing Projects; member of the Board of Design for the 1939 New York World’s Fair; member of the New York Zoning Com¬mission and member and past-president of the Housing Commission.
Throughout his career Mr. Shreve was prominently identified with the American Institute of Architects. A member after 1921 and advanced to Fellowship in 1932, he served two years (1941-43) as President of the Institute, and in his untiring efforts for the betterment of the profession won the highest regard of his contemporaries. He was also a member of the Architectural League of New York, and the Royal Institute of British Architects.