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Former Executive Director of the Center for Architecture and AIA–New York will assume role April 3, 2023
New York, NY — The Board of Directors of the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust (CAHPT) is pleased to name Benjamin Prosky as its new President. Former Director of AIA New York and the Center for Architecture, Prosky will helm a major strategic effort to create innovative programs that support architectural and design preservation projects, while maintaining its founder’s commitment to preserve, protect, and open to the public unparalleled examples of historic architecture, landscapes, and decorative arts. With an endowment of about $100 million, the nonprofit is poised to expand its impact by providing direct support to architectural and land preservation work in addition to sponsoring investigative and research opportunities through scholarships, grants, residencies, and artisan apprenticeships.
Founded by American businessman and philanthropist Richard Jenrette (1929–2018), CAHPT’s historic sites were acquired and lovingly restored by Jenrette over the course of half a century. Jenrette served as President until his passing in 2018, and his quote from The Contrarian Manager (McGraw Hill, 1997) captures the heart of CAHPT’s mission: “I believe in building for the ages, even though I won’t be around forever. In my life I have enjoyed beautiful things built by those who came before—beautiful houses, great institutions. I feel obligated to help pass on some of these beautiful things to future generations.”
Since 1993, CAHPT has been dedicated to preserving and protecting extraordinary works of architecture, landscape design, and decorative and fine arts from the early 19th century. CAHPT’s sites in Dutchess County, NY, Charleston, SC, Sumter County, SC and Hillsborough, NC, invite the public to come and experience American homes that represented advancements in architecture for that day and age, and captured the essence of art from this era.
“As someone who has spent the past two decades working to promote and celebrate architecture and its adjacent fields, I have a great appreciation for the legacies of designers, patrons and collectors and the historic sites and artifacts they leave behind,” says Prosky. “I am excited to work with CAHPT’s board and staff to expand our role as not just stewards of important sites but as visionaries who will activate the Trust for learning and discovery. I look forward to building on Dick Jenrette’s trailblazing legacy by developing new programs to explore preservation issues and expand access, audiences, and engagement.”
Prosky served for seven years as the Executive Director of American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY) and the Center for Architecture. With a background in urban studies and urban planning, Prosky has devoted his career to a range of projects dedicated to the promotion and interpretation of architecture and the city. Prior to his role at AIANY, Prosky was Assistant Dean for Communications at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Until 2011 he was Director of Special Events and External Affairs at Columbia University GSAPP. Prior to that he worked in cultural institutions in Montreal, Canada, and Paris, France. He currently serves on the board of directors of NYCxDesign, the Association of Architecture Organizations (AAO), and ACE Mentor of Greater New York. He divides his time between Brooklyn and Woodstock, New York.
“We are honored to welcome Ben as CAHPT’s new President as the Trust celebrates its 30th anniversary this year,” says Lucy Clark Dougherty, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “Ben brings experience, enthusiasm, and deep knowledge about the built environment to CAHPT at a crucial moment in its history. With Ben’s leadership and vision, we are embarking on our next chapter, with a broadened mission and a series of new initiatives.”
“As Executive Director of the New York Chapter of the AIA, Ben Prosky took a rather insular institution and transformed it into a wide forum for ideas,” said Robert Stern, Senior Partner, Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP. “I look forward to this new direction in his work, which I think will have consequences for the preservation and interpretation of the built environment on a national basis. Bravo to the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust for bringing Mr. Prosky on.”
About CAHPT and Richard Jenrette
Established by Richard Hampton Jenrette in 1993, CAHPT is devoted to advancing American architecture, decorative arts, landscapes, and historic preservation. CAHPT uses cutting-edge research, collaborates with academic partners, and develops digital resources to educate emerging professionals, craftspeople, students, and lifelong learners. Jenrette was admired as an innovator in both the business and philanthropic realms. He founded the first publicly traded investment firm in the U.S. and revolutionized the management of financial institutions, emphasizing high-quality research and analysis and the importance of mentorship. He served on the boards of numerous educational and philanthropic institutions, including Harvard University, University of North Carolina, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Duke Foundation. Jenrette’s earned many accolades, including the Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Hadrian Award from the World Monuments Fund. For more information about Classical American Homes Preservation Trust, visit https://classicalamericanhomes.org/.