Valerie Hassett, FAIA is The Virginias COF Regional Representative. Over the last two decades, she has engaged with AIA and community members to build upon the institution’s visibility and influence. Valerie has been practicing for more than 25 years and is principal at Studio of Valerie Hassett. She has designed over 1,500 multi-family living units as well as offices, educational facilities, churches, and hotels. She is Past President of AIA Virginia and AIA NOVA and has served on national AIA Committees. Valerie has been recognized by her peers with the Herb Ginsberg Leadership Award and is a recipient of the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Where did you go to college?
Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design, Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center.

Would you recommend studying architecture to a young person?
Architectural education teaches skills useful to many professions. It is an education that more people should undertake. The practice of architecture requires determination; however, it also offers many rewards.

What does it take to be an architect?
To thrive as an architect one needs desire, talent, communication skills, technical expertise, and business sense.

Was there an architect that particularly inspired you?
Yes, I had the privilege of meeting Chloethiel Woodard Smith early in my career.

What are you currently reading?
I typically have a number of books on my nightstand. The current mix includes This Brutal World by Peter Chadwick (Phaidon Press) because sometimes I am in the mood for glossy photos. Additionally, there is Albert Frey and Lina Bo Bardi: A Search for Living Architecture by Daniell Cornell (Prestel). And topping the stack is Walking in Berlin: A Flaneur in the Capital by Franz Hessel (MIT Press). This book was originally published in 1930 but has just been translated into English. I have a fascination with Weimar Germany, and these essays capture the rhythm of the city. All of the books are divergent in topic and format, yet they address similar themes.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
A simply prepared black bass at Le Bernardin.

Why do you volunteer with the AIA?
For the opportunity to be in the vanguard of developments within my profession; some of the brightest minds are donating their time and resources to the AIA. To participate gives me so much more than I could ever give back.