The Chapter’s Civic Engagement Team (CET) are shining a spotlight, and building a repository of profiles, that celebrate the dedicated AIA Central Valley members who positively influence the profession and their communities through advocacy and volunteerism. Kudos to these individuals for creating “inspiration through action.” We hope they will inspire YOU to serve!
Do you know of an AIA member worthy of recognition? Please contact the CET via the Chapter office: email@example.com.
JACQUELINE WHITELAM, AIA
City of Sacramento Preservation Commission, CADA (Retired)
How does your career trajectory include service to society and the profession, and what sustains your continued engagement?
My work as an intern writing the 1977 State Capitol Area Plan led to my being a founding member CADA, the joint powers authority created to implement the Plan’s residential and neighborhood commercial component. When I retired from CADA as its Deputy Executive Director, I retained a passionate interest in neighborhood building and so applied for the urban planning seat on the City Preservation Commission. I find that serving on the City Preservation Commission, and now on the AIA Central Valley Chapter Civic Engagement Team, provides me a continuing sense of purpose.
Is there a specific time that you feel your contributions made an impact or when your skills as an architect made a difference?
In December 2019, the Sacramento City Council adopted the Historic Districts Plan (HDP) for 29 of its 32 historic districts. This action streamlined the construction of critically needed housing in the Central City by delegating site plan and design review of infill development that meets the HDP design guidelines to the staff level. This was the culmination of three years of work that started when the Preservation Commission’s appointed me and two other commissioners to an Ad Hoc Committee that wrote Interim Design Principles for Infill Development in the Historic Districts. The City subsequently used these Interim Infill Development Principles as a base for the Historic Districts Plan prepared by Page and Turnbull.
Was there a specific person who “nudged” you to become involved?
There wasn’t a person who nudged me, but rather a place that called me to be involved. When I was at the University of California, Senior Hall — Berkeley’s first student union was threatened with demolition by a proposed expansion of the Faculty Club. Through the UC Berkeley AIA Student Chapter, I was able to display a picture of this beautiful log cabin built in 1906 with redwoods logged in Guerneville along with a petition at the 1974 AIA National Convention in San Francisco. Thousands of signatures were gathered and the Hall’s plight was publicized in a national architecture magazine. ‘The Friends of Campus for Senior Hall’ also worked to have the Hall placed on the National Register, challenged the EIR prepared for the Faculty Club Expansion and. ultimately stopped the Hall’s demolition by securing the support of a prominent honor society composed of students, faculty and alumni. This advocacy led to my being asked to serve as the UC representative on the first City of Berkeley Landmarks Preservation Commission.