Thought Leadership Forum I: Craftsmanship, Design & Cultural Heritage


On December 15, 2014, the American Architectural Foundation’s Center for Design and Cultural Heritage convened its inaugural Thought Leadership Forum at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the forum was to explore the role of craftsmanship and its role in design and cultural heritage in the 21st century.

Stakeholders in historic preservation, including architects, engineers, craftspeople, and public policy experts attended the forum, which coincided with the inaugural Oculus Award Luncheon. Thom Minner, Director for the Center of Design and Cultural Heritage, remarked, “The role of craftsmanship is integral to creating a sustainable road map for design and cultural heritage in the next 50 years. This first Thought Leadership Forum created the opportunity for AAF to examine this issue with a prominent group of thought leaders in the field.”

The 30 participants at the forum shared similar priorities and interests. Bridging the gap between architects/professional designers and craftworkers and rectifying the hierarchy between the two emerged as the primary issues of interest at the Forum. Participants also discussed fostering collaboration between architects and craftworkers and the use and promotion of technology in historic preservation.

The Thought Leadership Forum was created as a series. The second forum will be held on Monday, July 20, 2015, and will explore how storytelling can advance preservation’s role in community design and economic development.

The Forum was made possible by the generous support of the International Masonry Institute, the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, BAC ADC 1 of Illinois, Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen Union Local 3 – MA-ME-NH-RI and Mason Contractors Association of Massachusetts,  Bricklayers Local 2 – Michigan and the Labor Management Committees, Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Administrative Council of NJ, BAC Local 1 New York and Long Island City, Labor Management Committee,  Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Local 1 – PA/DE,  Columbia Partners Investment Management, HISTORY, and Turner Construction Company.

For more information on the Thought Leadership Forum or the Center for Design and Cultural Heritage, please contact CDCH Director Thom Minner at


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Posted in: Center for Design & Cultural Heritage, Preservation, Print, Thought Leadership Forums
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