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Stephen Cram


Washington, D.C. and eastern Kentucky


Community development, urban planning

The 1974 Whitney Young Award was awarded posthumously to Stephen Cram, recognizing a tragically short career dedicated to bringing the power of design to communities that need it most.


A graduate of Cornell University’s School of Architecture in 1968, Cram began his work in architecture as a volunteer in eastern Kentucky for Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), the antipoverty program originated by John F. Kennedy which served as a precursor to AmeriCorps. Working closely with local residents in Pikeville, Kentucky, he led a program to develop a construction method for affordable housing, which was later used as a prototype for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In 1969, Cram joined the AIA national staff as VISTA coordinator and immediately urged the development of Community Design Centers (CDCs), an AIA program that brought volunteer architectural and planning services to neighborhoods that could not otherwise afford them. A part of numerous AIA outreach efforts, he worked to diversify the architectural profession with scholarships, training, and mentorships, while continuing his interests in designing affordable housing. Upon his death in February 1973, Cram was an architectural designer with Robert J. Nash and Associates in Washington, D.C.

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