AIA West Jersey Banquet Awards and Installations

AIA West Jersey installed its 2011 officers and presented annual awards on January 29th at its Inaugural Banquet held at The Mansion on Main Street, Voorhees, N.J.

Van B. Bruner, Jr., FAIA Presented with the Prestigious Louis Goettelmann Award

2011 AIA West Jersey Board with Goettleman Award recipient Van Bruner, FAIA

2011 AIA West Jersey Board with Goettleman Award recipient Van Bruner, FAIA

AIA West Jersey presented the prestigious Louis Goettelmann Award to Mr. Van B. Bruner, Jr., FAIA, for his commitment and exemplary service to the profession and the West Jersey Chapter of AIA. The award was presented to him by William Fearon, AIA, Past President AIA-WJ.

Mr. Van B. Bruner, Jr., FAIA, has been dedicated to serving and enriching the community around him. Born in 1931, in Washington D.C. and spending most of his youth in our nation’s capitol, he first arrived in New Jersey in 1945 and went on to attend both Haddon Heights and Woodbury High Schools.

Ever since his adolescent years, he has been a leader in his community. Excelling at both the high and low hurdles, he earned a track scholarship in high school to the University of Michigan where he went on to break a 25 year old university indoor track hurdle record. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in Commercial Art, he married his wife Lillian Almond and then made the decision to join the United States Air Force. Demonstrating the courage and bravery of a leader, he trained to fly the propeller driven re-fueling planes and helped keep the American aircraft in the sky around the clock during the Cold War.

After leaving the USAF in 1957, he attended Drexel Institute and began to study architecture. After graduating from Drexel, he was blessed to work with some of the most well known architects in Philadelphia such as Vincent Kling and Louis Goettelmann 2nd. It was in 1968 that he started his own practice, The Bruner Firm, while being Department Chairman of the Building Construction Engineering Technology of the Spring Garden Institute of Philadelphia.

Mr. Bruner, Jr., FAIA, helped set a precedent when he became the 2nd Black Vice President of the National American Institute of Architecture and during his time there he helped to create Community Design Centers throughout the United States, the Minority Disadvantage Scholarship, and recognition of Black Architects within the society. In 1975, he was awarded the Whitney Young Award for his Civil Rights actions during the 1960 -70 and received the designation of Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, (FAIA) while participating in the National AIA.

Throughout its years, the Bruner Firm has been a leader in civic design and development completing such projects as the CCMUA Building, Gloucester County Superintendent Office Building, Third World Culture Center in Princeton, New Jersey, and the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Burlington, New Jersey.

St. Joseph’s Carpenter Society Awarded the Community Service Award

Presented the Community Service Award to St. Joseph’s Carpenter Society, Camden, N.J. The Community Service Award is awarded annually to a person or organization that has made a significant contribution to the built community. Accepting the award on behalf of St. Joseph’s Carpenter Society was Ms. Pilar Hogan Closkey, Executive Director, presented to her by William Fearon, AIA, Past President AIA-WJ.

St. Joseph’s Carpenter Society is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1985 with the goal of renovating a single house in East Camden. Since then, the organization has created over 875 housing opportunities in Camden, of which 560 have resulted in home ownership. Their effort has changed the face of East Camden and has played an important role in the rebirth of the city, providing safe, healthy and affordable homes while rebuilding the community. They have developed Baldwin’s Run, the first new subdivision in Camden in over 30 years, with 516 homes, townhomes and apartments for rent to low and moderate income families and seniors.

Since they began their work, the vacancy rate in the target neighborhoods has decreased from 1 in 6 homes to 1 in every 40 homes today. In addition to rehabilitating housing, St. Joseph’s Carpenter Society conducts a three month Homeowner Academy program that teaches basic money management allowing the new homeowner to succeed. The Society is also actively involved with addressing local concerns, working to provide a community network to help strengthen the neighborhood.

2011 Officers Installed

William J. Cohen, AIA, was installed as President of the AIA West Jersey section during the evenings events. Michael Hanrahan, AIA, President of the AIA New Jersey Chapter attended the event and officially installed all the officers of the 2011 Board. The officers include: William Cohen, AIA, President; Robert O’Reilly, AIA, President Elect; James DelGrosso, AIA, Vice President; David Lummis, AIA, Treasurer; Jason Lutz, Assoc. AIA, Secretary; William Fearon, AIA, Immediate Past President, and Trustees John Glaviano, AIA, Grant Peatman, AIA, and Kimberly Bunn, AIA.

Mr. Cohen will serve as President for the West Jersey Chapter for 2011, and will continue as Chairman of the Design/Build Committee.

In addition to his duties as President of the AIA West Jersey, Mr. Cohen is President of Cohen Design/Build Associates, PC in Cherry Hill, NJ. As an architect, he is nationally accredited and holds active licenses in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. As a builder, he maintains contractor licenses throughout the Tri-State region.

Mr. Cohen is a graduate of Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, where he received his Bachelor of Architecture and Masters of Architecture degrees. His project portfolio includes commercial and residential work from Boston, MA to Orlando, FL.

He resides in Cherry Hill, NJ with his wife, Meredith, and their two children.

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