Elizabeth Casqueiro’s route to London differed significantly from the other past presidents. She obtained a BA in Design at the University Institute of Art, Design and Enterprise, in Lisbon, Portugal in 1975, but she soon realised that – while she loved design - she was passionate about architecture. Immigrating to the US following political upheavals in Portugal, she received her MArch from the Catholic University of America in Washington DC, in 1986.
In Washington DC, she first worked in traditional practices (Perkins & Will, SOM) and then – prompted by “a desire to work on an international scale and contribute to world development” - as a project manager at the World Bank (IBRD). This meant overseeing the site selection, construction and fit out of IBRD’s country offices across the world, on all continents and often in emerging, post conflict and fragile state markets.
She moved with her youngest daughter to London in 1998 when she was recruited as Head of Property and Facilities Management at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). She saw the move from design and project management to property and real estate management as a natural managerial progression, and one which afforded her a greater influence on the strategic direction of the real estate portfolio.
In her view, there is a strong case for architects to become corporate facilities/real estate managers: “A strong facilities manager can generate significant cost savings over time and is in a position to affect the ability of the institution to retain quality staff through the condition and quality of the working environment”. While in London, Elizabeth also earned an MA in International Business Management from the University of Westminster.
Elizabeth’s tenure as President of the AIA UK Chapter was cut short in early 2003, to take on a position at AIA National’s headquarters as the Managing Director responsible for education, emerging professionals, stakeholder relationships and the College of Fellows. She stayed with the AIA for two years before becoming Head of Global Real Estate at the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
At the IFC, she not only managed the capital and operating budgets for the corporation’s Washington Headquarters, but also spearheaded an addition to the building and oversaw the certifying of it to LEED Platinum EB standard – the second building in the US to achieve this rating.
As per her work with the IBRD, she set up IFC facilities around the world. She left the IFC in 2014, but continues to work as an adjunct professor and as a principal in her own consultancy “providing creative solutions for corporations seeking to establish or relocate their physical footprint in international markets”.
Elizabeth and David Adjaye, who designed IFC’s offices in Senegal in 2013, currently under construction (permission to use sketch granted by Adjaye Associates)