James W. Shepherd, AIA, LEED AP, joined the cathedral staff on April 23, 2013, as director of preservation and facilities. His position resulted from the recommendations of the Restoration Task Force that convened for the cathedral following the earthquake of August 23, 2011; his work focuses on leading the institution’s efforts to repair all earthquake damage, upgrade critical infrastructure systems, and preserve the fabric of the cathedral and related properties on the Cathedral Close.
Shepherd comes to the National Cathedral from the Washington, D.C. office of the firm Beyer Blinder Belle, a leader in historic preservation, where he worked extensively both as a preservation architect and project manager. He has 20 years of experience directing historic preservation projects of national significance for clients such as the National Park Service, the Department of State, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Architect of the Capitol. He has also contributed to the restoration of Grand Central Terminal and Ellis Island. The Historic D.C. Courthouse, where Shepherd served as the project manager, received more than 12 awards including the 2009 D.C. Preservation Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation. His efforts as project manager for the restoration of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento, California, resulted in seven preservation awards. He has also led efforts with international clients, such as the British Embassy and the Canadian Embassy, to assess their facilities and establish long-term capital and maintenance plans.
Shepherd has regularly lectured at the Association for Preservation Technology International (APT) and Traditional Building conferences and has had papers published in the APT bulletin. He currently serves on the board of APT and is a past president and current board member of that organization’s D.C. chapter. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University (B.A.) and The University of Texas at Austin (M.Arch., with a certificate of specialty in Historic Preservation).
Washington National Cathedral, a gothic national landmark set on the highest point in Washington D.C., took over 83 years to build and stands as a testament of the faith and determination of generations of dedicated people. The foundation stone was laid in 1907 in the presence of President Roosevelt and the last finial was placed in 1990 with President George H.W. Bush in attendance.
The impact of a 5.8 magnitude earthquake on August 23, 2011 once again refocused attention on construction--or rather reconstruction--and the revisiting of previous construction techniques to better prepare the cathedral for its future.
Shepherd (M.Arch '94) will describe the history of the design and construction of the cathedral and the community that shaped it, the earthquake damage and planned repairs, and many of the ongoing preservation efforts.
Sponsored by UTSOA Career Services & the Student Historic Preservation Association.