Anna for the Win!

In my years in the design profession I’ve happily learned that the relationships we forge with our clients can be as enriching as the realization of their buildings. After all, we are in it together for the long haul as we work through all the ebbs and flows of design and construction.

I was, therefore, thrilled when Anna Swinbourne, who leads the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, Connecticut was recognized recently by the American Institute of Architects with an award for her contribution to our profession. To have my colleagues recognize her leadership, scholarship, and advocacy was a reminder how instrumental, and fulfilling, the architect-client relationship can be.

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Anna Swinbourne accepts the AIA CT Public Service Award at the 2022 Awards Gala. Photo by Annandale Photography.

Anna is a force of nature. She is equal parts curator, administrator, fundraiser, cheerleader, historian, and visionary. With boundless energy, she was the driving force behind our project, always urging us to honor the legacy of Theodate Pope Riddle, the groundbreaking architect who designed the estate for her family’s substantial art collection. “What would Theodate do?” was Anna’s oft-repeated query as she challenged us to think outside the box.

Our collaboration with the Hill-Stead resulted in new galleries and visitor amenities carved from historic outbuildings on its bucolic grounds. Seeing them come alive with exhibits and events is a thrill. But the best part was collaborating with Anna and the Museum’s staff and volunteers.

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Opening night for "A Perfect Perch: The Architect’s Chair," an exhibition in collaboration with Centerbrook.