Van B. Bruner Jr., FAIA
Community design, professional outreach
The 1975 Whitney Young Award was bestowed upon Van Bruner Jr., FAIA, as a voice for broadening diversity in architecture and advocating for community participation in urban planning projects.
The principal of a small New Jersey architectural firm, Bruner devoted a large share of his time to professional and public concerns. AIA vice president from 1973 to 1975, he served on the AIA Task Force on National Growth Policy, helping to direct positive change for the organization’s future. He chaired the AIA Community Services Commission, bringing growing numbers of minority professionals into the organization’s structure and outreach activities.
As a member of AIA West Jersey, Bruner launched a community design center that brought free and low-cost architectural services to neighborhoods and nonprofit groups. The center worked within several Camden, New Jersey communities to improve affordable housing and also led a team of designers that converted a vacant theater into a neighborhood church building. In addition to his design center work, he participated as a lecturer at historically black colleges and universities in a joint project between AIA and the Urban League.