Bert Bender was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1947, and studied architecture at the Urbana Campus of the University of Illinois. After obtaining his professional degree, he traveled to Arizona to intern with visionary architect Paolo Soleri, working in both Soleri’s design studio in Scottsdale and on site at Arcosanti, a prototype city for 3,000 people in the high desert plateaus of northern Arizona. While growing up in the inner city of Chicago, Bert developed an appreciation for and a love of the lifestyle, vitality, convenience and excitement that is central to the historic urban experience. These experiences combined to form the basis for his architectural philosophy of producing environmentally sensitive and ecologically responsible designs that respond to and are respectful of their surroundings; rural, urban, natural or historic. The evolution of this philosophy led to an interest in and development of a particular expertise in historic preservation; for preservation embodies the heart and soul of this sustainable architectural philosophy.
Bert is a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, the Key West Art & Historical Society, the Old Island Restoration Foundation, the Historic Florida Keys Foundation, the Monroe Council of the Arts, the Florida Keys Land & Sea Trust and the Nature Conservancy of the Florida Keys. He is a past member of the Key West Historic Architectural Review Commission, the Flagstaff Historic Sites Commission, the Bahama Conch Community Land Trust Board of Directors and authored the original “Historic Preservation Design Manual” for the City of Flagstaff, Arizona. He has served on the technical advisory commission for Hurricane Mitigation of Historic Resources for 1,000 Friends of Florida and served on an affordable housing task force for the City of Key West.