Tiara Hughes Joins the Charnley-Persky House Board of Directors

Mar 24, 2021 by SAH News

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The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) is pleased to announce that Tiara Hughes, Senior Urban Designer at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), will join the Board of the National Historic Landmark Charnley-Persky House (CPH), effective April 1. Designed by Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, CPH is internationally recognized as a pivotal work of modern residential architecture and serves as the headquarters of SAH. As a member of the CPH Board, Hughes will be a sounding board on plans for the continued conservation of the 129-year-old landmark, and will help envision a fitting celebration when the storied house turns 130 in 2022. Most importantly, Hughes will collaborate with SAH staff and other Board members to bring new, younger audiences to CPH through architectural tours and youth-oriented programs that are under development. Hughes envisions building institutional bridges between CPH and the mentoring programs that she is already involved with, including that of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) and SOM’s ACE Mentorship program in Chicago.

“Since CPH serves as both the international offices for SAH and a forum for introducing the public to Chicago’s rich history, we are delighted to have a polymath like Tiara join the Board,” said Pauline Saliga, executive director of SAH. “Tiara is part professional urban designer, part activist, and part architectural historian, most notably with the project she launched in 2018 called the FIRST 500, designed to tell the untold stories of licensed Black women architects and inspire the next generation of Black women to enter the field.”

In addition to her role at SOM, Hughes is an adjunct professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), a Commissioner with the City of Chicago Landmarks Commission, and a real estate professional. As a designer, Hughes is driven by creating work that emphasizes greater socioeconomic equity and cultural awareness.

“We are thrilled to have Tiara join the CPH Board,” said Victoria Young, president of SAH. “Her work in the field of architecture and her support of diverse voices in architectural preservation and practice are excellent complements to the Board.” 

"I can't wait to bring together youth and underrepresented voices to further conversations surrounding socioeconomic equity, history, architecture, and cultural awareness to amplify Chicago's communities of color,” said Hughes.

Hughes received her M.Arch. degree from Drury University. She currently serves on the national board of NOMA. In 2021, she received the prestigious AIA Associates Award, given to individual Associate AIA members “to recognize outstanding leaders and creative thinkers for significant contributions to their communities and the architecture profession.”

The Charnley-Persky House (1891–1892) was designed by Louis Sullivan with assistance from his draftsman, Frank Lloyd Wright. Long recognized internationally as a pivotal work of modern architecture, the Charnley-Persky House stands as evidence of the extraordinary power of Sullivan and Wright's creativity in collaboration. The house is located at 1365 North Astor Street in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago, within the Astor Street Historic District. A National Historic Landmark and a Chicago Landmark, the building has served as the headquarters of the Society of Architectural Historians since 1995. The Charnley-Persky House is usually open to the public for guided tours and educational programs but is closed temporarily due to the pandemic.

Founded in 1940, the Society of Architectural Historians is an international nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide. SAH serves a network of local, national and international institutions and individuals who, by profession or interest, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. SAH promotes meaningful public engagement with the history of the built environment through advocacy efforts, print and online publications, and local, national and international programs. Learn more at sah.org.