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  • "It's a heart-breaker to lose Bill. Always full of..."
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    - Nathan Streitman
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BREGER--William N.

92, died on February 23 at Weill Cornell Medical Center. Bill, born in the Bronx, attended Stuyvesant High School in New York City, and held a graduate degree in Architecture from Harvard University and a PhD in Philosophy from the New York University. He served in the Planning Department of the United States Army during World War II, and was discharged with honor. In the years shortly following the War he was the assistant to Walter Gropius at the Harvard University School of Architecture. Upon his return to New York he established his own architecture firm. Bill was a Chairman of the School of Architecture at Pratt Institute, a Visiting Lecturer in Health Care Design at Columbia University, a Lecturing Professor at the New York School of Interior Design, and a Lecturing Professor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, specializing in English and French Furniture. He was a fellow of the American Institute of Architects. One of his students, subsequently a prominent New York architect, remarked: "Bill was tough on us, but when I began practicing architecture in the real world, I realized the value of his approach: the clients were much tougher." Over a long career, Bill received many design awards; among others, he was a runner up in the 1948 national competition for the Gateway to the West in St. Louis, and the architect of the award winning Civic Center Synagogue in Lower Manhattan. His compassion and humanity was manifested by an architectural practice spanning his lifelong career, specializing in the health care field, in which he pioneered the environment as a therapeutic tool approach. His novel designs and methods were summarized in the book "Nursing Home Development" co-authored with William R. Pomeranz. Bill was an editor of the "Encyclopedia of Philosophy" published by Macmillan Publishing Co., and wrote numerous publications on nursing homes and extended care facility design. For 92 years family and friends enjoyed Bill's brilliant insight, sharp wit and honesty to fault. He was deeply loved and will be painfully missed. He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Krystyna Piotrowska-Breger; his daughter Willow Harth of Madison, WI and a step-daughter Kinga Piotrowska-Meckier of Brooklyn, NY, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Tribeca Synagogue, www.tribecasynagogue.org

Published in The New York Times on Mar. 6, 2015
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