2017 Annual WASLA Conference

Spokane Convention Center, April 21, 2017
One Day, Dynamic Sessions, Ultimate Location



3:15-4:15 PM
Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture: Lessons Learned - How Construction Informs Placemaking


The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), which opened in September of 2016, is located on the last open site in the National Mall in Washington, DC. Sharing an adjacency to both the Washington Monument and the White House, this location is appropriately deeply historically rooted, and the design naturally evolved from respecting these unique and inherent juxtapositions. As the Project Manager and Construction Administration liaison for the project, Jill Fortuna will begin the session discussing the design evolution, then focusing upon how the construction process was influenced by the important historical themes of the project. Brett Rugo and Duane Kreuger will then discuss the challenges of constructing this complex project via the journey from stone quarry to fabrication to installation. Bret Rugo will also highlight similar insights in reconstructing the stone for Jefferson’s Rotunda at the University of Virginia.

Lead Speaker:

Jill Fortuna

Speaker Bios:

Jill Fortuna, Construction Administration Lead, Director of R&D, Senior Associate, GGN
Jill Fortuna brings eighteen years of diverse experience in Landscape Architecture, Master Planning and Architecture throughout the United States, Canada, Central and South America and Spain, ranging in size from 1 acre to 5700 acres. She has fluidly managed large and complex projects and project teams, and she thrives in a challenging environment. She is the current Director of Research and Development/Senior Associate at GGN.

Chiciro Donovan, Associate, GGN
With her interdisciplinary background in architecture, landscape architecture and environmental design, Chihiro Shinohara Donovan’s design enthusiasm is for exploring elegant, functional solutions for complex urban sites that meld infrastructure and space-making strategies.  Prior to joining GGN, she worked on various project types and scales ranging from residential gardens to large community designs in the US and abroad. Chihiro is a native of Hokkaido, Japan. She received an MLA and MArch from the University of Virginia and a BLA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As a designer at GGN, she has worked on the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC and currently works on a variety of projects located across the country. 

Brett Rugo, President/Owner, Rugo Stone LLC 
Brett Rugo created and managed specialty subcontractor/fabricator which has completed over $300MM in stonework for commercial, liturgical, and residential projects. Rugo Stone, LLC has received over 70 local, national, and international craftsmanship awards. The firm holds a well-recognized international brand for quality and complex workmanship. As the grandson of an Italian stone carver, Brett knew early in his life that his passion was to work with one of nature’s most majestic and timeless materials. Rugo Stone routinely employs well over 120 employees. The company specializes in the design, engineering, supply, fabrication, and installation of natural stone systems for commercial office buildings, churches, war memorials, universities, and residences. The firm imports a variety of materials direct from the quarries, including marble, granite, limestone, slate, terra cotta rain screens, onyx, glass and stone mosaic, bluestone, sandstone, and certain types of unit masonry. Rugo Stone, LLC recently completed work on the NMAAHC as well as Jefferson’s Rotunda at the University of Virginia. 

Duane Kreuger, Coldspring USA, Project Manager 
A veteran of all aspects of Coldspring USA, Duane brings almost three decades of experience to the development of complex projects – leading a team through the process of fabrication, 3D modelling and final installation to assure every project’s exactness is assured. Beginning in 1898 with a single quarry and a hardworking stonecutter, Coldspring USA has become one of the largest natural stone manufacturer’s serving commercial, landscaping, memorialization and residential customers. Many still know Coldspring USA as a granite company, even though they have become much more than that for many years. Their expertise also includes the manufacturing and distribution of bronze memorials and signage, diamond tools, cemetery building consulting and construction services, limestone, sandstone and composites for specialized applications. Coldspring continues to thrive through creativity, diligence and determination. Motivated by our customers’ success, we continue to embrace and develop technology, create new products for the marketplace and foster a business culture that supports industry-leading sustainability practices. 

Learning Objectives:
  • Understand how to take existing site history to help shape a project.
  • Gain an understanding of alternative options for required K ratings – security and safety requirements for government projects.
  • Gain an understanding of stone detailing and the way it can influence a project.
  • Gain an understanding of displaying historical artifacts in the landscape, including government agencies used for these approvals



Where History Meets Nature

Spokane Convention Center
Spokane, WA