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panelists from our
"Finding a Sense of Place" event

The San Francisco Main Public Library

Saturday, October 22, 2022

The San Francisco Main Public Library

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Christina Lalanne

Christina Lalanne is a fourth generation San Franciscan who, alongside her husband Mat, has been restoring a Sunset District Edwardian home. She holds a masters in historic preservation, and works in the travel industry. During renovation work in 2019 they discovered a diary belonging to the house’s original builder. Christina wrote an article about this discovery published in The Atavist Magazine titled “Castles in the Sky.” She and her husband are also undertaking the restoration of a Gold Rush era adobe in Amador County. She is a board member at the Victorian Alliance.

Aaron Jon Hyland, FAIA

Architecture, Preservation and Place

Celebrating the Significance of Place Builds Healthy Vibrant Community

Aaron Jon Hyland is a San Francisco based architect and placemaker consulting on architecture, historic preservation and cultural heritage. Aaron has over 35 years of experience leading the full range of architectural and preservation services for university, civic and institutional clients. He is well versed at interpreting and applying the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and served for eight years (three as the Commission President) for the San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission. Aaron spent 24 years with Architectural Resources Group, 10 years as their Managing Principal. Aaron believes that while the tangible buildings and places are important, the intangible qualities, stories and legacies is what enliven our communities. Through the special connections with our past, we better understand our present and are able to build for our future.

Manijeh Fata

Manijeh Fata is currently the Executive Director at the San Francisco Film Commission/Film SF where she has worked since 2015. She has successfully led and collaborated with numerous film and TV productions such as The Last Black Man in San Francisco, The Matrix Resurrections, Venom, Beautiful Boy, Hulu’s Chance and Neflix’s The OA. She has over 20 years experience in arts and education program management developing extensive community outreach initiatives and partnerships with non-profit organizations in Oakland and San Francisco. Manijeh holds two Bachelor’s degrees from UC Berkeley and an MFA in Cinema from San Francisco State University, where she created her award-winning short film Las Fruteras: A Fruitvale Tale.

Chris Yerke

Seeds of my future vocation were planted when I was a child, by a paternal grandfather whose passion was restoring antique cars, and a maternal grandmother who was an artist and decorator specializing in colonial and federal era decorative arts. Many trips to the Chicago Art Institute, along with pilgrimages to buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, Henry Hobson Richardson, and other 19 Century American architects deepened my love of the decorative arts throughout my childhood. I attended Southern Illinois University and obtained a BFA in metalsmithing, working in at times in jewelry, vessel making, sculpture and blacksmithing. I followed that by working for 12 years as a television producer/director, which taught me everything I needed to know about herding a team of collaborators toward the goals of completing a project on time and, hopefully near budget. Throughout those years I kept feeling the pull of craft and was intermittently engaged in building and fabricating. Upon moving to the San Francisco area in 1998, I began working as a carpenter again and found that restoration of historic buildings and collaborating with decorative artists was the highest and best use of my time. I have been engaged in sensitive restoration of San Francisco’s period architectural legacy since 2000.

Justin Mikecz

A California licensed architect with an 18-year career, Justin has developed a diverse portfolio of project experiences — single- and multi-family residential buildings, mixed-use buildings, schools, community centers, and componentized/modular prototypes. Along with this well-rounded experience, he brings to Kerman Morris Architects a commitment to high-performance sustainable design; a zeal for collaboration and improving the design and construction processes; and a passion for good, affordable housing design.

Since joining KMA in 2018, Justin has been managing some of the more complex projects in the office, including the 635 Fulton/807 Franklin. His work on the project included coordinating the move with the house movers, GC, and preservation team; and coordinating the permitting and logistics with 5 different City agencies. He also managed the design process for both sites that will ultimately result in 17-total-units in the merged historic buildings at the Fulton site, and 48-units in a new 9-story building at the original site of the Englander House.

Rob Thomson

Rob Thomson is trained as an archaeologist and historic preservation planner.  He has worked for the Presidio Trust in San Francisco since 2006, and currently manages the agency’s historic preservation and cultural resources program as its Federal Preservation Officer.  Prior to the Trust, Rob developed historic preservation training programs in Southeast Asia for the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles, and worked on archaeological field projects in Virginia, California, and East Africa.  He has written extensively on historic preservation policy in the US and Asia, including a co-authored book entitled Architectural Conservation in Asia: National Experiences & Practice.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in archaeology from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in historic preservation from Columbia University.  Rob lives in a 1906 Edwardian flat in the Mission District with his wife and two children, and has served as the president of the Victorian Alliance of San Francisco's since 2018. 

Jim Warshell

Community activism has been a big part of my life. I’ve served on the board of my neighborhood association here in San Francisco, found preservationists who share my passion for restoration thru Victorian Alliance, where I am a past President, and served the City of San Francisco as a Commissioner on the Building Inspection Commission.  

I had also found community thru long service with Zen Hospice, where an old Victorian house provided refuge for people seeking support and compassion at the end of their lives.  

While my professional background is in the for profit sector, I have been able to use my skill set to work with Harvard Business School Community Partners to provide pro bono consulting to numerous nonprofits and civic organizations.  

Each of these engagements has proven to me that whenever we give of ourselves to help our community, we are rewarded in multiples of our effort with warm relationships and deep satisfaction well beyond the effort we expend. So, if you can embrace engagement with your community, know you are opening an opportunity to personally grow, contribute to your community, meet wonderful people and feel more connected to your community.  Start wherever you like…I love sweeping the sidewalk every morning just so I get to know my neighbors, the dog walkers and the beautiful children en route to the playground.  Build your own community activism resume to feel the satisfaction of knowing you have made a difference, no matter if big or small. 

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