Sue Ann Pemberton, a senior lecturer of historic preservation and architecture in The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) College of Architecture and Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), was recently elected to serve as the president of the San Antonio Conservation Society (SACS) for the 2013-14 term. Pemberton, the first architect and preservation professional to serve as president, will take office this month.
“One of my goals as president of the Society is to prepare us to strategically deal with any of the common conservation issues that we regularly face before they happen,” said Pemberton. “The Society should not be a reactionary organization. We should not be perceived as against modernization or change. Instead, I want to help position us in a way that helps the natural transitions happening in our city occur in a way that is beneficial to the growth and development of our city while retaining our historic character.”
The San Antonio Conservation Society was founded in 1924 to preserve and encourage the preservation of historic buildings, objects, places and customs relating to the state of Texas. As of 2013, SACS counts more than 2,570 members among its ranks. It has become a force within the historic restoration and preservation movement in San Antonio with its efforts to prevent historic structures from being demolished and to preserve many of the city’s Spanish Colonial Missions.
“Sue Ann’s energy, enthusiasm and professional knowledge will serve her well as the 47th president of the San Antonio Conservation Society,” said Bruce MacDougal, executive director of SACS. “Her longtime experience in the society and the understanding of the development and governmental processes in San Antonio will be an asset to our historic preservation advocacy efforts.”
Pemberton joined the faculty in the UTSA College of Architecture in 1984. Highlights from her academic career include introducing historic preservation studies into UTSA curriculum and founding its nationally recognized, award-winning Historic American Buildings Survey curriculum. In 2004, Pemberton established the Norogachi Field School, a design-build studio for students that takes place in a remote village in the Sierra Mountains of Chihuahua, Mexico.
She is the president of Mainstreet Architects, Inc., a small firm specializing in the historic preservation of buildings, neighborhoods and materials. Her work has received awards from the San Antonio Conservation Society for building renovation and from the International Making Cities Livable Board of Directors for publications and the preservation of neighborhoods.
After serving for several years on the AIA Preservation Education Task Group and representing the AIA on the Historic American Building Survey Coordinating Board, Pemberton was named to the AIA’s College of Fellows in 2010. Only 3,000 of the AIA’s 80,000 members have been named fellows, one of the organizations’ highest honors. In recognition of her achievements, she received the Edward J. Romieneic Award for outstanding educational achievement, the highest recognition given to an educator by the AIA in Texas, in 2009.
Pemberton holds a bachelor’s of education and master’s of architecture from Texas A&M University. Her study and teaching focuses include design, materials research and technology, and historic preservation.