Son of James Laurens and Margaret Louise Post Van Alen, William L. Van Alen was born in New York City, and educated at Cambridge University in England, earning a B.A. in 1929 and an M.A. in 1932. In 1937, he completed a B.Arch. at the University of Pennsylvania. After completing his Penn degree, Van Alen entered the office of Edward H. Wigham as a draftsman. In 1941, he became Wigham's partner. The partnership continued until 1946, when Van Alen left to establish Carroll, Grisdale & Van Alen. This firm affiliation continued through 1973, with the office designing several major public buildings in the Philadelphia area, including the National Headquarters for the American Society for Testing and Materials and the Philadelphia International Airport Terminal (with Airways Engineering Corporation).
Active in local organizations, Van Alen served as a member of the board of managers for Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and as board chair and president for the hospital. He was also board president for the Betsy Ross Memorial and for the American Flag House.
Sandra L. Tatman, and
Emily T. Cooperman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Athenaeum of Philadelphia
- Royal Society of Arts
- U.S. Court Tennis Association
- National Council on the Arts
- University of Pennsylvania
- Cambridge University (England)
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