June Professional Member of the Month

Claudia London.jpg

Claudia Cackler

Iowa Architectural Foundation

Executive Director

1. What is the most exciting and energizing aspect of your current position?

I have loved architecture ever since my romp around Europe for independent studies in art history my last year of college.  I am driven to share that passion with others so they develop a sense of the value of architecture and design in creating great, livable communities. That is why being ED for Iowa Architectural Foundation is the perfect job for me. I like the marketing and promotion aspects most, and find excitement in developing creative strategies to spread knowledge of architecture, historic preservation and building. I also have an affinity for architects, which blossomed when working as the head of the Iowa Chapter AIA in the 80’s. In my current position, I am grateful to be doing something meaningful and for the opportunity to work with talented and creative people of all ages.

2. What was the last interesting book you read?

I am an avid reader, both fiction and non-fiction and usually have several books going at one time. One of my favorite recently-read novels is Eugen Rouge’s In Times of Fading Light. Which won the German Book Prize in 2011. This darkly humorous novel tells the story of East Germany through four generations of a family, focusing on Berlin. I am always fascinated by books about or by Eastern Europeans, especially those portraying life when it was “the Block.” It’s interesting to me to hear how they viewed their own government and affairs vs. the perspective on their lives taught to us in the US when I was a child.

In non-fiction, But What If We’re Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman is another great read. He speculates the likelihood that many universally accepted cultural and scientific beliefs of today will someday seem crazy – much like we think about the past in our present day.

3. What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

My development work as Vice President, Philanthropic Funding for Twin Cities Public Television. Also writing the nomination to get Sherman Hill Historic District on the National Register back at the time there were fewer than ten homes being restored. At IAF, I was proud of our Mies en Scene event, and hope that this year’s Encore Gala will be even more successful.

4. How do you define success? And measure it?

I am not materialistic, so to me success is making a positive difference in the world, leaving it better than how you found it, moving arts and culture forward and not making someone else miserable by your own achievement. Success is exchanging knowledge, meeting change with flexibility and knowing I’ve given my best to others.

5.  We are Iowa Women in Architecture; who were the female role models that inspired you?

Elaine Estes, for her passion for historic houses, preservation and eccentric style. Linda Kerber, my professor at the U of Iowa, who was one of the first in the US to teach Women’s History, which was quite avant-garde at the time. Catherine Allen, a film producer for her grace, intelligence and her passion for history and the arts. Leslie Aisner, entrepreneur and artist who founded Howda Designs. Judy McClure, the second licensed female architect in Iowa, who taught me many building skills necessary for preserving old houses. Eli Goll, the fabulous young architect-in-training whose “joie de vivre” and energy inspires us all!