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Male, Austria/US, born 1903-07-18, died 1980-02-14

Associated with the firms network

Gruen Associates, Architecture / Planning / Engineering; Gruen and Krummeck, Architects; Gruen, Victor, Associates, Architecture / Planning / Engineering

Professional History


Victor Gruen designed more than 1,000 projects during his 57-year career.

Technician / Designer / Building Supervisor, Melcher and Steiner, Architects, Vienna, Austria, 1923-1932.

Author / Actor / Impresario, Politische Kabarett, Vienna, Austria, 1926-1934.

Principal, Victor David Grünbaum, Architekt, Vienna, Austria, 1932-1938.

Designer, IVEL Corporation, New York, NY, 1938.

Designer, Norman Bel Geddes, Industrial Designer, New York, NY, 1938.

Associate, Morris Ketchum, Architect, New York, NY, 1938-1939.

Impresario / Producer, Viennese Theatre Group, New York, NY, 1938-1940.

Principal, Victor D. Gruen, Architect, New York, NY, 1938-1948.

Partner, Gruen and Krummeck Partnership, New York, NY, 1939, a firm that focused on retail design.

Partner, Grünbaum and Krummeck, New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA, 1940-1948.

Principal, Victor Gruen, Architect, Los Angeles, CA, 1948-1951.

Founder / Managing Partner, Victor Gruen and Associates, Architecture, Planning and Engineering, New York, NY, Chicago, IL, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, CA, and Tehran, Iran, 1951-1968. In 1955, Victor Gruen and Associates had the following offices: 13 South Dhoeny Drive, Beverly Hills, CA; 31 West 13th Streetm New York, NY; Room #2100 Industrial Bank Building, Detroit, MI; 971 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA; 700 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, MN.

Other partners in Victor Greun and Associates included: Rudi Baumfeld (joined 1943), Karl Van Leuven (1944), Edgardo Contini (1950), Ben Southland (1956), Herman Guttman (1957), Beda Zwicker (1963) and Ki Suh Park (1972).

Principal, Victor Gruen International, Vienna Austria, Paris, France, and Los Angeles, CA, 1963-1972.

President, Victor Gruen Center for Environmental Planning, Los Angeles, CA, 1968-1980.

Chief Architect, Victor Gruen AG, Vienna, Austria, Paris, France, and Switzerland, 1969-1980.

President, Zentrum für Umweltplanung, Vienna, Austria, 1973-1980.

Founder, Victor Gruen International, Vienna, Austria, 1966-1968; Founder, Victor Gruen Foundation for Environmental Planning, Los Angeles, CA, 1968; Founder, Zentrum für Umweltplanung, Vienna, Austria, 1973.

Professional Activities

Gruen received his first license to practice architecture in 1948; this was in Los Angeles. By 1955, Gruen indicated that he was a Registered Architect in the States of AZ, CA, KS, MI, MN, MO, NJ, NY and PA. (See American Architects Directory, 1956, George S.. Koyl, ed., [NY: R.R. Bowker Company, 1955], p. 214.)

Gruen served on the Jury of the First PA Design Awards, 1954. Other jury members for this award program included: Eero Saarinen, George Howe, and Fred N. Severud.

Gruen was appointed to the National Panel of Abitrators of the American Arbitration Association in early 1963.

Professional Awards

Recipient, Avenue of the Americas Association Award, New York, NY, 1953.

Recipient, American Institute of Architects (AIA) "Award of Merit" for the Northland Center, Detroit, MI, 1954.

Recipient, AIA, Detroit Chapter, Gold Medal, 1955.

Recipient, Progressive Architecture "Design Award for Urban Redevelopment," Detroit, MI, 1956.

Recipient, Progressive Architecture "Design Award for Planning," (Fort Worth, TX).

Recipient, AIA, Memphis Chapter, Gold Medal, Memphis, TN, 1955.

Recipient, Progressive Architecture "Design Award for Residential Design," (Wilshire Terrace, Los Angeles, CA), 1958.

Recipient, Progressive Architecture "Design Award for Urban Design," (Boston, MA), 1959.

Fellow, American Institute of Architects (FAIA), 1961.

Fellow, International Institute of Arts and Letters, 1962.

Recipient, Progressive Architecture "Citation for Urban Design," (Cincinnati, OH), 1963;

Recipient, American Institute of Architects (AIA) "Citations for Excellence in Community Architecture," (for work in Fresno, CA, Rochester, NY, and Urbana, IL), 1965.

Recipient, Who's Who in America's "Significant Contribution to Society Award," 1966;

Recipient, Preise der Stadt Wien, Vienna, Austria, 1972.

Recipient, Pepperdine University, Honorary Doctorate, Los Angeles, CA, 1976.

Recipient, Gross Goldene Ehrenzeichen für Verdienste um die Republik Österreich, Vienna, Austria, 1978;

Recipient, Goldenen Ehrenzeichens für Verdienste um das Land Wien, Vienna, Austria, 1979.


The papers of Victor Gruen are housed at the Manuscripts Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. His widow, Kemija Salihefendic-Abazz Gruen, donated the items in 1980, 1983, and 1992.



Coursework, Advanced Division for Buildings Construction, Technological Institute, Vienna, Austria, 1918-1923.

Coursework, Austrian Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria, 1924-1925.



Born in 1903 to a middle-class Jewish family in Vienna, Austria, Victor David Grünbaum worked in that country until 1938. He left Austria in 1938, following Hitler's Anschluss. Gruen had been a socialist since the mid-1920s, and his political views as well as his ethnicity would have made him a target of the new Nazi regime and its henchman, Austrian Chancellor Arthur Seyss-Inquart (1892-1946).

He settled in New York, NY, working there until 1941, when he relocated the Gruen and Krummeck office to Los Angeles, CA. Following his divorce from his second wife, Elise Krummeck, in 1951, he set up his own architecture and planning firm, Victor Gruen Associates.

Gruen traveled a great deal to projects across the US after 1954. His Northland Shopping Center raised Gruen's profile nationally and abroad, and he became in demand by retailers planning malls and government officials seeking to replan "blighted" cities.

In 1955, Gruen indicated that his primary address was at 31 West 12th Street, New York, NY. (See American Architects Directory, 1956, George S.. Koyl, ed., [NY: R.R. Bowker Company, 1955], p. 214.)

Leaving the US, he returned to his hometown, Vienna, making it his primary residence after 1967, where he died in 1980.


His father was Adolf Grünbaum (d. 1918), his mother, Elisabeth Lea Levy.


He was married four times, first, in 1930, to Alice "Lizzie" Kardos (divorced 1941).

The year of his divorce from Alice Kardos, he wed the interior designer Elsie Krummeck, who also became his business partner. They divorced in 1951.

Again he rapidly remarried, this time to Lazette E. McCormick Van Houten in 1952. Lazette died in 1962.

Just after Lazette's death, he wed Kemija Salihefendic-Abazz in 1963.


When surveyed in 1955, Gruen indicated that he had had two children, Margaret Gruen amd Michael Stephan Gruen.

Biographical Notes

Gruen was born Victor (or "Viktor") David Grünbaum or "Gruenbaum" as it was written in English. He changed his name to "Victor David Gruen" in 1938 after emigrating to the US.

Associated Locations

  • Vienna, Vienna Austria (Architect's Birth)
    Vienna, Vienna Austria

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  • Vienna, Vienna Austria (Architect's Death)
    Vienna, Vienna Austria

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PCAD id: 136

Baeck, Leo, Temple, Bel-Air, Los Angeles, CA1962Los AngelesCA
Baker Shoe Store
Biennale de Venezia, Suburban Alternatives Exhibition, Venice, Italy1976Venice
Bon Air Market, Greenbrae, CAGreenbraeCA
City of Fresno, Municipal Plan, Downtown, Fresno, CA1959-1960FresnoCA
City of Glendale, Public Library, Central Library, Downtown, Glendale, CA1973GlendaleCA
City of Los Angeles, Police Department (LAPD), Northeast Community Station #2, Atwater Village, Los Angeles, CA2014-2015Los AngelesCA
City of Oakland, Master Plan c. 1970, Oakland, CA
City of San Bernardino, City Center Project, San Bernardino, CA1970San BernardinoCA
City of San Bernardino, City Hall #4, Carousel, San Bernardino, CA1970-1972San BernardinoCA
Clorox Office Building, Oakland, CAOaklandCA
Commons and Courthouse Center, Columbus, IN1970ColumbusIN
Daehan Kyoyuk Life Insurance Company, Seoul, South Korea1976Seoul
Del Amo Fashion Center, Ohrbach's Department Store, Torrance, CA1970TorranceCA
Fort Worth Central Area Reconstruction, Fort Worth, TX1955Fort WorthTX
Fox Hills Mall, Culver City, CA1974Culver CityCA
Fox Plaza Apartments, Civic Center, San Francisco, CASan FranciscoCA
Fulton Street Mall, Downtown, Fresno, CA1964FresnoCA
Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA1926-1929Hollywood, Los AngelesCA
Magnin, Joseph, Department Store, Kaiser Center, Oakland, CA1961OaklandCA
Magnin, Joseph, Store, Century Square Shopping Center, Los Angeles, CALos AngelesCA
Mid-Wilshire Medical Building, Los Angeles, CA1951Los AngelesCA
Millirons Department Store, Westchester, Los Angeles, CA1948-1949Los AngelesCA
Northland Shopping Center, Southfield, MISouthfieldMI
Occidental Petroleum Company, Hammer, Armand, Museum of Art and Culture, Westwood, Los Angeles, CA1989-1990Los AngelesCA
Ohrbach's Cerritos Department Store, Cerritos, CA1971CerritosCA
Pacific Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada1969-1976VancouverBC
Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood, CA1971West HollywoodCA
Park City Corporation, Residential Sub-Division, Portland, OR1962Washington CountyOR
Park Westwood Tower, Westwood, Los Angeles, CA1960Los AngelesCA
Rainbow Center Winter Garden, Niagara Falls, NY1976-1977Niagara FallsNY
Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, CA1979-1981Santa MonicaCA
Security Pacific National Bank (SPNB), Branch, San Bernardino, CA1970-1972San BernardinoCA
Southdale Shopping Center, Edina, MN1954-1956EdinaMN
State of California, Department of Transportation (Caltrans), District 7 Headquarters, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA2003-2005Los AngelesCA
Tishman Building, Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, CA1956Mid-Wilshire, Los AngelesCA
United Nations (UN) City Project, Vienna, Austria1969ViennaVienna
United States Government, Department of State, U.S. Embassy, Tokyo, Japan1972
Valencia City Plan, Valencia, CA1966ValenciaCA
Wells Fargo and Company Bank, Headquarters Building, Oakland, CA1972-1973OaklandCA
Western Electric Office Building, Newark, NJ1969NewarkNJ
Wilshire Terrace Apartment Building, Los Angeles, CA1958Los AngelesCA
Yale Music Center Project, New Haven, CT1974New HavenCT
ZCMI Center, Salt Lake City, UT1971-1975Salt Lake CityUT
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