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A National Celebration


The Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables celebrates National Preservation Month

By Karelia Martinez Carbonell, President of the Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables

The organization hosted an educational panel titled, “Preserving our Patrimony. Preserving our Planet” by welcoming National Trust for Historic Preservation spokesperson James Lindberg and Perkins + Will regional director Jose Gelabert-Navia. This was a unique opportunity to hear from leaders in the field of preservation and sustainable development.

The venue was at the Phineas Paist designed 1934 landmarked building Sanctuary of the Arts beautifully adapted from the former First Church of Christ Scientist right across Coral Gables City Hall.

A pre-talk wine and cheese reception allowed guests to meet and greet the speakers.  A heartfelt thank you to Rafi Maldonado-Lopez, principal managing director of Sanctuary, for his generous hospitality. The event was free to the public with reservation.

National Speaker:

James B. Lindberg is Senior Policy Director at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He has more than 30 years of experience in preservation, planning, and sustainable development, including five years as director of the National Trust’s Preservation Green Lab. He has led nationally recognized preservation and sustainable development projects, including the adaptive use of a former dude ranch in Rocky Mountain National Park and the green rehabilitation of a historic school in Denver. Jim earned his BA in the Growth and Structure of Cities from Haverford College and his MS in Historic Preservation from the University of Vermont. He is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver College of Architecture and Planning.

Local Speaker:

Jose Gelabert-Navia is a former trustee of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation and a professor at the University of Miami School of Architecture. He is also regional director, Latin America, for the architecture firm Perkins + Will. Jose studied architecture at Cornell University, where he also received a Master of Fine Arts degree; and at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, and at Isola Degli Studi, in Italy.


“Demolishing is a waste of energy, a waste of material, and a waste of history”  [2021 Pritzker Prize Winners]

“Their thesis, as I recall, was focused on embodied carbon in the built environment, and building reuse as a resultant necessity. Of course, there is historical value to many buildings. But historic significance or not, all buildings (esp. modern ones) have tremendous impacts to create and erect. And when we take them down, far more goes to waste than the materials themselves, in ways most people don’t even consider.” [Greg Hamra, member Coral Gables Sustainability Advisory Board]

An excerpt from the National Trust for Historic Preservation puts in context how new construction adversely affects our planet:

“Arguments that promote a practice of disposable real estate are unsustainable at best and at worst environmentally catastrophic. [There is…] embodied carbon within existing structures, [and] the fact that it can take up to 80 years to offset the carbon debt that is incurred when an existing structure is replaced, even if the new building is highly energy efficient. New buildings…will likely never offset the carbon cost of their construction. We don’t have time to simply build our way to a sustainable future.”   


Photo Caption: Coral Gables Commissioner Rhonda Anderson, HPACG President Karelia Martinez Carbonell with speakers James B. Lindberg, senior policy director at the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Jose Gebalert-Navia, regional director, Latin America, for the architecture firm Perkins + Will. [Photo Credit: JMaranos]



Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables Celebrates National Preservation Month On Tuesday May 24th With Event From 4 To 6PM



The Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables is a 501c3 non-profit founded in 1991. The Association promotes the understanding of the importance of historic resources and their preservation.  For more information and/or to support the mission of HPACG, please visit


Please Email us:   HPACG P.O. Box 347944 Coral Gables, FL 33234