Eleanore Pettersen Recognized With AIA-NJ’s Highest and Most Prestigious Award

April 5, 2010

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AIA-NJ recognized famous architect, Eleanore Pettersen, FAIA, with the “Michael Graves Lifetime Achievement Award” at its annual awards gala held at Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, N.J.

Pettersen, who passed away in 2003, received the award posthumously, in recognition of her significant contributions to the field of architecture.

“Ms. Pettersen’s achievements are impressive to all who learn of them and are still alive in the memories of those who knew her,” said Jason Kliwinski, AIA, LEED AP, president of AIA-NJ. “She helped pave the way for women in architecture.”

Pettersen had a private practice in architecture in Saddle River, N.J., from 1952 to 2002, which included single and multifamily residential and commercial facilities, with her projects winning local design awards and international recognition.

One of her best-known projects was a 15-room house, swimming pool and tennis court on a four-acre plot in Saddle River, N.J., which she designed in 1971 for John Alford, a New Jersey businessman, who sold it to Richard M. Nixon, who moved there from the White House in 1981.

Prior to establishing her private practice, Pettersen analyzed enemy building structures for the National Defense Research Committee, worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority designing power service buildings and visitors’ facilities and had a Taliesin Fellowship with Frank Lloyd Wright in Arizona and Wisconsin.

Her work is archived and electronically accessible at the International Archive of Women in Architecture at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va.

Pettersen was born in Passaic, N.J., and was one of the first women to be licensed as an architect in New Jersey. She was the president of the New Jersey Society of Architects in 1984.

The award is given in recognition of a significant body of work of lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. Last year, J. Robert Hillier, FAIA, was awarded the first-ever “Michael Graves Lifetime Achievement Award.” The award is named after famous architect, influential theorist, diversified and prolific designer and esteemed educator, Michael Graves, who has been in the forefront of architectural design since he founded his practice in Princeton, N.J., in 1964.

Find out more about the award and those honored at: www.aia-nj.org

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