Rios photo for AIA award story

Cecilia Rios

Cecilia Rios, chairwoman of Santa Fe’s Historic Districts Review Board, is the 2019 recipient of the city’s Architectural Service Award.

The occasion of the announcement was the annual awards dinner of the Santa Fe chapter of the American Institute of Architects on Dec. 13. The award is given “in recognition of significant accomplishments in stimulating public understanding and appreciation of architecture in the Santa Fe community.”

Rios has served a total of 27 years on the city board, which rules on proposed changes to buildings within Santa Fe’s five historic districts. The city initiated the review board following its adoption of the Historic Styles Ordinance in 1957.

Board members meet twice a month. They also review building applications and reports from Historic Preservation Office staff, and participate in board field trips to view the specific properties before each meeting. Over her nearly three decades of service, Rios has dedicated about 10,000 hours to these all-volunteer activities.

“People diss the H-Board, but Santa Fe is a world-class city and it’s a world-class city because it has this unique appearance and it gets that in large part from what the H Board has done during the decades of its existence,” said architect Beverley Spears, the 2019 president of AIA-Santa Fe.

“This is an honor for Cecilia, but it’s also a tip of the hat to all that the H-Board accomplishes for this town. In some ways it’s thankless work and she has really put in her time. Her manner is so gracious and she is a local. She was born and raised here, and she has Santa Fe in her heart and soul.”

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