California Architectural Foundation Names New Executive Director

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Anne Laird-Blanton, AIA

The California Architectural Foundation (CAF) is pleased to announce the appointment of Anne Laird-Blanton, AIA, as its first Executive Director. A member of The American Institute of Architects, Anne brings to this position her skill, education, and training as a licensed architect coupled with over 15 years of volunteer experience at all levels of the AIA.

“With the creation of this dedicated staff position, CAF is poised to be successful in its efforts to advance sustainable communities through research and education,” says CAF President Tom Anglewicz, FAIA. “The appointment of Anne as the Executive Director will enable CAF to expand its initiatives and programs while positioning the organization to become an active participant in issues facing our profession.”

As a licensed architect in California and New York, Anne also holds a B.A. in Human Services and has a strong interest in community and social issues. She brings passion and drive to this position as is evidenced by her impressive commitment as a volunteer. “Anne’s connections within the profession and her history of service to the AIA will serve CAF extremely well,” remarks Anglewicz.

The AIA California Council (AIACC) has supported CAF’s investment in this staff position, citing opportunities for synergies that will positively impact both organizations. From enhanced connections to the academies to increased research, the AIACC and CAF have identified ways each can contribute to addressing issues facing the profession. “I look forward to working with the AIA California Council and members of the architectural profession to have a significant impact on environmental issues in California,” states Anne. “I am excited and ready to lead CAF in this new chapter. As a state, California is facing so many challenges, and CAF provides great opportunity for the profession to get engaged and design the fragile interface between the natural and built environments.” Anne can be reached at anne@cafsite.org, 1303 J Street, Suite 200, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Founded in 1979, the California Architectural Foundation promotes excellence in architecture though student scholarships, grants and environmental education programs, bridging the gap between the academic and professional worlds. Committed to making stronger and more effective connections between students and schools, planners and professionals, the Foundation cultivates the resources and creativity necessary to forge these links.

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Nicki Dennis Stephens

Nicki Dennis Stephens is the Senior Director for The American Institute of Architects, California Council. Focusing on expanding the value of architects and architecture, Nicki is dedicated to serving the needs of members and AIA components throughout California.

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  1. avatar
    Suzanne R. Barnes, AIA

    Congratulations Anne, and we look forward to hearing more from you on suggestions! Please keep us posted!

  2. avatar
    karen e lesney

    mega congrats!

  3. avatar
    Paige Woodruff

    yay Anne! You are awesome!!!

  4. avatar
    Mike Rodriguez FAIA

    Congratulations Anne. You’ll do a great job!

  5. avatar
    Mike Malinowski AIA

    Great news – congratulations to both CAF and Anne! It will be exciting to see how Anne’s passion, creativity, and connections will help move the agenda of CAF to a new and more stable plane.

  6. avatar
    James V. Vitale, AIA, LEED AP, CASp

    CAF has made an excellent selection, however the challenge is whether CAF can raise the funding necessary to enable her and CAF to be successful in its efforts.

    The gap between academia and the profession appears to be increasing. We are in a perfect storm of recession, Baby Boomer retirements, and loss of institutional memory by both the public and private sectors. The lessons of the past half century are not being transferred to the up and comers.

    CAD and Bim are not the answers without knowledgeable peer reviewers to verify the buildability of designs. The project delivery systems of today, DB, IPD, DBLB, CM, CM multiple Prime and others yet to surface; only seek to transfer liability without insuring that the product produced meets its intended goals of use, durability and maintainability.

    We are continuing to include in five years of education, the increased technolgical advances that were not here back in the 60’s -70’s. How do you do that? Is it fair to assume that architectural office staffs can be trained in house? That standard details will work in every instance? That new materials will withstand the test of time?

    It takes years, not months to acquire the knowledge necessary to produce construction documents and to administer construction. You may “see” the design but without clear concise, code compliant technical documents, todays workforce and those of the future will be unable to produce a defect free result.

    To continue to teach design for designs sake is to ignore the need for greater focus on the technological aspects of architecture. Knowledge, aquired by the process of leaning and experience, is a function of time vs that which you seek to know.

    We must lead by example and by sharing our experiences with each other in a spirit of collaboration. What each of us has aquired in knowlege, experience and skills, goes with you when you are gone. The legacy of CAF should be the sharing of knowledge by those who leave our profession with those who seek to join and follow us.

    It is a privelige to become an architect, let us not forget this.

    We are few, let us be unselfish in our sharing and mentoring,
    let it be said that our legacies are not our buildings,
    but are willingness to have enhanced our profession.

  7. avatar
    Peter Saucerman

    Congratulations, Anne. This is a great milestone for CAF and bodes well for the future of the Foundation.

  8. avatar
    Michael Strogoff

    Congratulations Anne! I cannot imagine a more inspired choice for this important position. Many thanks for taking on this essential leadership role.

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