Robert Brannen, known to all as Buz, died July 29 after a short illness. He was 90. With Yu Sing Jung, Brannen was the founder of Jung/Brannen Associates, Inc., which was for some years in the 1980s the largest architectural firm in Boston. He was a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Brannen was born in Seattle, Washington in 1931, and he grew up in the city during the Depression and World War II. He received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Washington. He met his future wife Barbara in college, and they married in 1956. The couple headed east to Boston in the late 1950s and moved to Lincoln in 1961. In 1968, Brannen and Jung founded Jung/Brannen. Over the next decades, the firm designed hundreds of office buildings and hotels, including several high-rises in the Financial District of Boston. They designed many buildings in Florida, notably the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. Brannen’s magnum opus may have been the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, as harmonious in appearance as in sound quality. Over the years, Brannen was a member of the Boston Society of Architects and a member of the Building Officials Conference of America, the Urban Land Institute and the National Association of Industrial Office Parks. He was the chairman of the Design and Engineering committee for the Central Artery Business Committee. He was the 1998 recipient of the Boston Society of Architects Award of Honor. The Brannens were residents of the town of Lincoln for nearly 60 years. Brannen always served the town, as the chairman of the Planning Board, a trustee of the Lincoln Land Conservation Trust, and a trustee of the DeCordova Museum. He was devoted to the causes of preserving conservation land and of creating low and moderate-income housing, making the town not just a pleasant place to live but accessible to people of diverse incomes. Brannen’s time with the Planning Board was also marked by the creation of ridiculous and elaborate floats in the Lincoln Fourth of July parade. Known after retirement as the “Commander of Paths,” he and Barbara could be seen walking the trails of Lincoln nearly every day. Although architecture was his deepest passion, Brannen also adored sailing on the coast of Maine, attending opera, and everything about the country of Italy. He and Barbara spent many blissful years at a renovated house near Lucca in Tuscany, picking olives and looking at Italian art and architecture. Brannen is survived by his sister Suzanne Pocock and two daughters: Sarah Brannen, a children’s book author/illustrator, and Jennie Brannen, an elementary school teacher. He also has two grandchildren, Katherine and Lizzie Alwan. His wife Barbara died in 2017. Following his wishes, there will be no memorial service. Donations in Brannen’s name may be made to the Island Heritage Trust, PO Box 42, 420 Sunset Road, Deer Isle, ME 04627. Arrangements are under the care of Dee Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Concord.
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