Norfolk Preservation Collective
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Donna Phaneuf, FAIA

Founder | President

Donna thrives at giving the ordinary – extra attention to obtain extraordinary results.  This has been a career long journey, one day at a time, in the art of growing a meaningful and productive creative practice.  Her clients are exceptional people and the exchange of ideas and knowledge with them affords her the audience and fellowship she enjoys today.  As VIA’s founding principal she has learned that creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating and this is her art and the genesis of her design energies.

She guides the firm’s strategic planning efforts and has transitioned VIA design into a firm in which clients seek. Her work portfolio, inclusive of many building types, includes those within the ecology of urban redevelopment, the exploration of 21st Century research and learning environments, and the complexity of waterfront flood plain sites. Her passion for these 3 forward-thinking focuses has positioned VIA as a leading firm in the industry.  To this note, VIA defines resilience different than most as their inspirations and motivations are focused on the future and “next time” with the notion of doing it better to last longer.

Donna is a known leader within her community and the architectural profession and recognized as such with an AIA Fellowship. Her commitments and influences are evident in the many positions held as Chair of multiple civic boards, arts boards, AIA committees and City Council appointed boards.  She drives a positive firm culture and the vision for the firm’s future forward as a business model.  She is often called to make inspirational presentations on firm ownership and speak at industry conferences to di-mystify the value of our design profession. Her passion and relentless pursuit of design excellence continues to lead to jury invitations for the work of students, design professionals and civic design awards programs.

“I’ve always enjoyed the endless pursuit of doing what you love and the resilience it brings as leadership is not about having great ideas; it is about ensuring light is brought to the best ideas and they are allowed to emerge.”