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Catherine Bauer Wurster Award For Social Practice

Catherine Bauer Wurster

Catherine Bauer Wurster

The Catherine Bauer Wurster Award for Social Practice recognizes alumni of the College of Environmental Design whose professional work and personal commitments have contributed significantly to social and environmental justice, fair housing opportunities, healthy and equitable communities, and sustainable cities and regions.

Catherine Bauer Wurster (1905-1964) was the foremost housing advocate of her generation and primary author of the landmark U.S. Housing Act of 1937, the nation’s first affordable housing legislation. After the passsage of the Act, she served as Director of Research and Information for the new United States Public Housing Authority and as adviser to numerous other federal and local agencies.

A professor of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley, she wrote the seminal book Modern Housing. She was influential in shaping the intellectual rationale, professional aspirations, and social values of the university’s new College of Environmental Design, founded in 1959. The home of the college, Wurster Hall, is named in honor of Catherine Bauer Wurster and her husband William W. Wurster, its founding dean.

2018 Recipient

Sam Davis

Sam Davis, 1969 B.Arch

Sam Davis is a lauded UC Berkeley professor emeritus, former interim dean of CED and the School of Social Welfare, committed advocate for equitable housing design, author, and AIA Fellow. 

Professor Davis received the campus Distinguished Teaching Award in 1973 and the Excellence in Teaching Award from the California Council of the American Institute of Architects in 1995. He has written three books on housing: The Form of Housing, The Architecture of Affordable Housing, and Designing for the Homeless: Architecture that Works.  

Davis is the founding principal of Sam Davis Architecture, a Berkeley firm with more than 40 years of housing experience  The firm, working with institutions, non-profit developers and service providers has designed housing for a wide range of people many with special needs including families, students, seniors, young people with HIV and AIDS, homeless youth, and homeless adults.  The firm has won many design awards and competitions and their work has been published in the United States, Great Britain, and Japan.

He is a graduate of the schools of architecture at UC Berkeley and Yale and he was elected to Fellowship in the American Institute of Architects in 1985.

For more information and a portfolio of projects, visit

Past Recipients

Term Recipient
2016 Jon Stryker (MArch '89)