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A Black woman with medium-brown skin, corkscrew curly brown shoulder-length hair, brown eyes, and dimples. She smiles at the camera with a warm expression and gentle smile lines.

Photo by Alexa Trevino.


Deanna Van Buren

She // Her // Hers

Architect and Analogue Immersive Installation Artist

Oakland, California

I am a collaborative creator. I truly get the most joy from working across disciplines and media.”

Deanna Van Buren is an award-winning architect and activist recognized internationally for her leadership in using architecture, design, and real estate innovations to address the social inequities behind the mass incarceration crisis.

Van Buren is cofounder of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, an architecture and design firm with the mission of dismantling the punitive infrastructure of the prison system by designing and building new spaces informed by restorative justice. These include peacemaking centers, mobile reentry housing, holistic behavioral health hubs, spaces for youth, spaces for diversion/reentry, and more.

Her work has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects San Francisco, as well as Architectural Record’s Women in Architecture Awards honoring pioneering professionals.

She is the only architect to have been awarded the Rauschenberg Artist as Activist Fellowship. She was also the 2016 Echoing Green Fellow, the 2018 recipient of the Berkeley-Rupp Prize and Professorship, and is an alumna of the Loeb Fellowship at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Van Buren has received her BS in architecture from the University of Virginia and her MA from Columbia University.

Donor -This award was generously supported by the Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity.

This artist page was last updated on: 07.11.2024

Soul Tree Forest. San Francisco, California.

A cityscape set at dusk. Below the city, the lights reflect and shimmer on a placid body of water.]

Restorative Justice Center prototype, 2013. Digital print, dimensions 46 × 12 inches. Oakland.

Photo by NAM Photography.