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Terrance J. Brown, FAIA


Albuquerque, New Mexico


Native American advocacy, disaster mitigation

Architect and activist Terrance J. Brown, FAIA, received the 2004 Whitney Young Award for his decades-long efforts to preserve Mayan and Native American cultures through architectural projects as well as grassroots community organizing. “This remarkably talented man has demonstrated what a single architect can do to change the world and make the global community a better place to live,” wrote former AIA Vice President Barbara Nadel, FAIA, in her nomination letter.


A decorated Vietnam War officer, Brown traveled across Latin America working with the U.S. Peace Corps and United Nations on efforts to improve conditions of struggling indigenous villages. While in Guatemala, he helped launch a Mayan language preservation initiative and oversaw emergency relief efforts after a devastating earthquake in 1976—the first of many disaster assistance projects he would undertake throughout his career.


Upon returning to the United States, Brown began working with Weller Architects, the Native American-owned practice in New Mexico founded by 2000 Whitney Young Award winner Louis Weller, FAIA. Partnering closely with tribes and pueblos, Brown designed affordable housing and health facilities that responded to communal needs while honoring and respecting native beliefs. Collaborating with tribal leaders throughout the Western states, Brown has used this design sensitivity to uplift the built environment and improve the lives of some the most underserved communities in the U.S.

In 2016, Brown received the AIA Edward C. Kemper Award for his service within AIA and the profession at large. 

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