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We’re Back: Coral Gables’ Biltmore Hotel and the Traditional Building Conference Series

For Immediate Release: December 7, 2021

Contact: Judy L. Hayward, education director,

Washington, DC-Two hundred architects, builders, preservationists, building artisans and material suppliers relished the warmth of Florida sunshine and the grandeur of the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables December 1- 2. After two years’ hiatus, the Traditional Building Conference Series returned to live and in-person programming.


Speakers and attendees discussed the challenges that confront the traditional building practice, classicism, and historic preservation, and offered solutions, for affordable housing, adaptive use, and sustainability. They discussed complex and challenging ideas during sessions, over coffee and during lunch, on a gracious Mediterranean Revival terrace at this grand hotel.

Andres Duany FAIA, CNU, co-founder DPZ LLC encouraged classicists to “stand for something more than beauty,” and gave examples of how Classicism can inform affordable single-family housing.

Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, FAIA, CNU, co-founder DPZ LLC; Marieanne Khoury-Vogt, AIA, and co-founder Khoury-Vogt Architects; and Ernesto Buch, AIA, whose eponymous firm has offices in Miami, Dominican Republic and New Haven, CT discussed the rich heritage of building practice in Florida and the Caribbean and how it can guide us for harsher climates.

Jill Gotthelf, AIA, FAPT, of WSA Modern Ruins explained how specifiers and their suppliers can use Environmental Product Declarations. EPDs present verifiable data on products and compare performance.

Architectural tours of Coral Gable’s Residential and Commercial Historic Districts were led on both days by Karelia Martinez Carbonell, President of the Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables (HPAOCG), and Albert Menendez, President, M Group International; member of HPAOCG; and Chair of the City of Coral Gables Historic Preservation Board. City Commissioner Rhonda Anderson took time from her busy schedule to thank our sponsors and attendees for coming to the Biltmore and Coral Gables. The City of Coral Gables owns the Biltmore Hotel.

Christine Rupp, executive director of Dade Heritage Trust, and tour guides from her staff led walking tours of the Biltmore and a Residential Walking Tour.

Manuel Mergal, AIA, Mergal Architecture, presented a detailed case study of a townhouse rehabilitation with exacting needs: historic preservation, complex building codes, and efficient HVAC.

Aaron Ruby, AIA, Revival Architecture, presented two case studies of commercial buildings with similar rehabilitation goals- saving historic fabric while introducing new HVAC, life safety codes, and accessibility.

Lori Garrett, FAIA, Senior Principal and Vice President, Glavé and Holmes, Richmond, VA moderated a panel discussion, Monuments, Diversity and Design. This session presented a strategy to guide architectural professionals in discussions about saving, eliminating, or augmenting controversial, classically-designed monuments. Professor Steven Semes, Notre Dame School of Architecture; H. Randolph Holmes, Jr., FAIA, and President, Glavé and Holmes, Richmond, VA; Christopher J. Howard, Architect and Professor, The Catholic University of America; and W. Taylor Reveley, IV, President of Longwood University, Farmville, Virginia comprised this panel.

Traditional building material suppliers presented programs approved for AIA Health Safety Welfare Learning Units. Lauri Wilson and Joe Carlson from Cambek presented information about the Impact of Hurricanes on garage doors; David Martin from Allied Window presented Energy Savings and Sound Mitigation with Storm Windows; Kyle Sword from Pilkington North America/NSG demonstrated how to do a carbon reduction calculation and comparison between window repair and replacement; and Dan Harris from Ludowici discussed the durability of Clay Tile.

Platinum sponsors were Allied Window, Cambek, Crown Point Cabinetry, Historical Arts and Casting, Ludowici, and Pilkington North America/NSG.

The silver sponsor was Haddonstone.

Bronze sponsors included Abatron, Aeratis, Belt, Cold Mountain Custom and Mix Legno Group, Cooper Historical Windows, Hull Millwork, Marvin, Oliveri Windows and Doors, and Vintage Millwork and Restoration.

The Traditional Building Conference, a business-to-business event, is underwritten by sponsors who serve historic preservation, restoration/renovation, and period-authentic new construction. Visit for information about online education, and upcoming in- person events in 2022. Contact for registration information. For information about the educational programs, email