California Architects

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2021 Edition, Issue 3


A Publication of the California Architects Board ■ Public Protection Through Examination, Licensure, and Regulation

Board Members

Ron Jones
Ron Jones

Board Member Ron Jones

When a friend encouraged Ron Jones to serve on the California Architects Board, he was willing and able. He applied and was appointed to the Board by Governor Gavin Newsom in June 2020.

Jones grew up in Philadelphia and began his architectural journey in middle school when he was in drafting class. He took the class with encouragement from a friend because of his interest in sketching and discovered that he enjoyed the technical aspect of sketching. He attended a technical high school with a strong drafting program in Philadelphia, and had good instructors who believed in his talents and encouraged him to hone his skills. During the latter part of his junior year and senior year, he even worked in the industry. Jones worked for Bechtel Corporation and his first project was the Playboy Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City in 1978. The experience gained on this project would help later in his career because of the smaller redundant duties he performed inside of the larger project.

After high school graduation, Jones attended U.C. Berkeley. He interned with small firms and continued to refine his skills. He was hired after graduation by one of the firms for which he interned. After six years, he started his own firm, Hunt Hale Jones (HHJ), headquartered in San Francisco.

Residential projects are Jones’ favorite because of the personal aspect, and since they are short-term. However, the firm is involved in many types of endeavors. HHJ has had the fortune of working all over the world and had offices in India and China prior to the market crash in 2008.  His firm has evolved over the years to include affordable housing and planned residential communities. Additionally, his firm began post-disaster work after the Oakland Hills fire in 1991 when approximately 2,840 single family dwellings were destroyed. Since then, he and his staff remove their HHJ hats and volunteer with the American Institute for Architects California (AIA CA) Arch Helps program to help consumers navigate the post-disaster rebuilding process.

Jones mentors aspiring architects and is aware that the lack of mentors can be a challenge for designers of color.  He recalls learning about Paul Williams, the first African American architect to become a member of the AIA in 1923, and AIA’s first black fellow in 1957.
Jones said that becoming a Board member has been eye-opening, and he’s learned how much he didn’t know, especially regarding legislative expectations.  He said, “it warms my heart when I look at the Board’s diversity. Diversity is not ethnic diversity--it’s gender diversity and diversity across the board.” He mentioned the stark contrast between CAB’s Board members and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ Board of Directors.

Jones is a member of the Regulations and Enforcement Committee and noticed the majority of complaints are against residential architects. He feels strongly about requiring continuing education (CE) for professional practice. He believes practitioners need to be educated about the Board’s expectations. He mentioned that some states require as many as 16 hours of CE, and general education is beneficial to the profession. He is also the Board’s liaison to the Landscape Architects Technical Committee, which is under the purview of the Board.

The Board is fortunate to have Ron Jones as a member. His passion and vision overflow in every meeting.

Mitra Kanaani
Mitra Kanaani

New Board Member Mitra Kanaani’s Dedication to Education

From elementary to high school, music conservatory, to advanced degrees, Mitra Kanaani has been fascinated with and aspired to teach. Passion drove Kanaani toward being instrumental in nurturing designers and future architects.

Kanaani was raised in a well-educated family of mostly architects. Her greatest influence was her grandfather who was very influential in Kanaani’s upbringing and formation of future career goals. He was one of the first university educated architects in Iran, and developed several institutional buildings, factories, roads, tunnels, and designs of impact in Iran. As a child, Kanaani was aware of the many facets of architecture as a profession and a discipline. Architecture was a part of the entire family’s daily life. 

Kanaani began by studying economics followed by a master’s in Urban Planning and Design, and a master’s and Doctorate Degree in Architecture with an emphasis on performance-based architecture and design performativity. As a dual degree, she also received a B.A in Musicology from Tehran Conservatory of Classical Music, and taught piano at the conservatory while as a student and afterward.
Kanaani studied at the University of New Mexico after moving to the United States. She recalls her first memorable architectural assignment—a greenhouse addition to a community center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The most amazing experience as a student of architecture was the design and construction of her first fully designed project, while taking a Community Design course.  It was a memorable experience for her as she saw her creation to fruition!   

Throughout the years, Kanaani has challenged herself through scholarly projects and multifaceted services with the goal of developing excellence in her teaching, and by generating self-induced teaching demands to incentivize students to pursue excellence. She challenges students by creating effective and inspiring teaching climates whereby they can develop a sense of competence by attributing success to effort rather than ability, and by valuing resilience to failure. Kanaani shares her students’ struggles and walks alongside them to help them achieve rewarding outcomes.

As a passionate goal-oriented architecture educator at The NewSchool of Architecture & Design in San Diego, she prioritized the geographical peculiarities of the Southwest Pacific-rim region with its unique demands for education of competent future architects. Her goals and achievements as an architecture educator have been intertwined with the successes of many aspiring individuals who have envisioned their future career in architecture.  Kanaani, after 29 years serving the education of future architects at NewSchool of Architecture & Design became a Professor Emeritus.

So, what does Kanaani do when she is not teaching or learning? She calls her hobby “writing”. Currently, she is working on her third major editorial publication on “Ecological Design Thinking, as Healthful Ecotopian Visions in Architecture and Urbanism”. This publication is a collaborative effort with 72 design experts from all across the globe. The publication will be a repository of research and scholarly writings about many facets of ecology and the role of design in development of the man-made environments with keen eye on human health and well-being and sustainability of our Planet Earth.

The California Architects Board appreciates the depth and breadth of her education and experiences and looks forward to her upcoming participation in all things CAB.