DAVID R. DIBNER, 83

David R. Dibner, Architect and GSA Executive, Dies at 83

David R. Dibner headed a three-firm venture that designed the James V. Forrestal Building in Washington, which houses the Department of Energy.
David R. Dibner headed a three-firm venture that designed the James V. Forrestal Building in Washington, which houses the Department of Energy. (Family Photo)
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

David R. Dibner, 83, an architect who became a senior executive at the U.S. General Services Administration, died May 30 at Inova Fairfax Hospital of multiple organ failure. He was a McLean resident.

After spending his early career in New York and New Jersey, Mr. Dibner moved to the Washington area in 1977 as assistant commissioner for design and construction for the GSA's Public Buildings Service. In that position, Mr. Dibner was responsible for planning, coordinating and administering projects that incorporated energy conservation, historic preservation and a program to bring sculpture and other art into public buildings.

He left the GSA in 1982 to become senior vice president of the Washington office of the Houston-based architecture firm Bernard Johnson Inc. Before retiring in 1992, he spent three years with the Sverdrup Corp. as the head of architecture for its Rosslyn office. He subsequently did consulting work for trade groups and architectural and engineering firms.

David Robert Dibner was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He served in the Navy in the South Pacific during World War II as an electrician's mate. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1949 with a degree in architecture.

He practiced architecture with firms in the New York and New Jersey areas, becoming a principal at Fordyce and Hamby Associates in New York and a partner at the Grad architecture firm in Newark. Some of the major projects for which he was responsible during that time were corporate buildings for Hess and Mercedes-Benz in New Jersey.

Mr. Dibner also headed a three-firm venture that designed the James V. Forrestal Building in Washington, which houses the Department of Energy.

He was a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and chaired National Research Council committees that examined architecture-related issues affecting government agencies. His books included "Joint Ventures for Architects and Engineers" (1972). He was a volunteer in a program sponsored by the Washington Architectural Foundation to teach schoolchildren about architecture.

Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Dorothy Siegel Dibner of McLean; two children, Mark Dibner of Henderson, N.C., and Amy Dibner of Silver Spring; a twin brother; and four grandchildren.

-- Adam Bernstein


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