Image: San Jose Library Building, 1971, Van Bourg, Nakamura & Associates
We are very saddened to report that alumnus Mitchell J. Van Bourg (BA Arch ‘43) died at the age of 95 on November 10, 2016.
Born in Constantinople, Turkey, Van Bourg arrived at Ellis Island in 1923. He attended school in the Bronx and Manhattan, New York before journeying across the country to live in Tujunga, California where he graduated from San Fernando High School. He worked as a field engineer and surveyor and studied chemistry at Glendale Junior College before pursuing his architecture degree at CED.
After graduation, he served for two years as a Liaison Officer in the United States Navy and trained Russian pilots to fly American aircraft. He then worked as an architect for Russell deLappe in Berkeley before studying under German architect and founder of the Bauhaus School Walter Gropius at Harvard University, where he received his Master’s degree in Architecture in 1949.
He became a partner in deLappe & Van Bourg and settled in Berkeley California with his wife Sophie and two adopted children, Carol and Jonathan. From 1955 to 1984, his firm Van Bourg, Nakamura and Associates (VBNA) designed numerous buildings in the Bay Area and Northern California. In 1969, Van Bourg was honored as a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
Though he retired in 1984, he never stopped building: He loved carving wood, designing and building new structures and was known for tinkering with art and design in his home shop.
A memorial will be held for Mitchell on January 14, 2017, time and place to be determined.