Constance Lai, FAIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, is the Historic Preservation Manager for Grunley Construction, where she bridges the worlds of architecture, preservation, sustainability, and construction. She has 20 years of experience in preservation and has worked on some of the most high-profile landmarks in Washington, DC, including the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the White House, Washington Monument, U.S. Capitol, Carnegie Library, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, and multiple Smithsonian museums. In her career, Constance has led the preservation of 30 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places and 13 National Historic Landmarks.
As Grunley’s Historic Preservation Manager, Constance provides preservation and conservation expertise throughout the construction process, from estimating to punch list. She advises on preservation design issues, material conservation scopes, and preservation quality control. She also coordinates the installation of infrastructure elements into historic buildings, working closely with Grunley’s in-house BIM department to ensure that historic fabric is not compromised during construction. Her projects have won more than 40 local and national construction awards. She is also passionate about advocacy, education, and outreach, regularly giving lectures that highlight her construction projects, conservation techniques, and new technologies.
As a board member of the AIA Architects Foundation, she advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the architectural profession; the Octagon House, the foundation’s home; and the Richard Morris Hunt Prize, an exchange between French and American mid-career
reservation architects. She is also a board member of the National Preservation Institute, which provides training to preservation professionals.
Constance holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Rice University, and a Master of Science in Architectural Studies in History, Theory, and Criticism (HTC) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.