In his home state of New Hampshire, Tony Irons had been a carpenter and contractor before establishing an architectural firm. He and his partner, an architect, taught each other their respective professions while designing commercial and educational facilities. He also served on school and planning boards for seven years before moving to San Fransisco in 1991. Prior to his appointment as City Architect, he was responsible for the renovation of San Francisco City Hall, a National Historic Landmark. Spanning seven years, this $300 million effort restored the building to its original splendor while adapting it to contemporary function, technology and seismic engineering. The world’s largest base isolated building, City Hall is now wholly separated from the ground; its structure rests on rubber/steel discs that dissipate the energy of violent earthquake motion. Following successful resolution of unceasing political and architectural debates, the building opened to widespread acclaim and has received eight national, state and local awards.
As a Loeb Fellow, Tony explored the relationship between historic preservation and successful revitalization projects. He is interested in the history of classical architecture and the design determinants that foster compatibility between contemporary structures and historic districts. He also hopes to organize discussions on how the architectural voice can take a stronger lead in the political/planning process.