Virginia Tanzmann ’68, G’69

Virginia Tanzmann

Virginia Tanzmann, Parsons Brinckerhoff's West Region manager of the Architecture and Buildings Technical Excellence Center, has carried profit/loss responsibility for the design of more than $2.4 billion in new, renovation, and repair construction. She is experienced in specially funded programs, including large transportation projects, civic projects, seismic repairs, public school and California University bond-funded projects, Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility, medical facilities, affordable and specialized housing, and retail and restaurant design.

Tanzmann has also held on-call contracts with the U.S. Postal Service, the State of California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the City of Los Angeles, and the County of Los Angeles. Many of her projects have been in the public sector or have had sufficient community impact to warrant community involvement meetings and procedures. She has devised community information programs delivered in English, Spanish, and Chinese, and has experience with various workshop methods and presentation media.

Prior to joining Parsons Brinckerhoff, Tanzmann developed her skills and qualifications as an architect, first interning with leading architecture firms in Los Angeles and then serving as the district architect for the regional transportation agency, which led to her founding her professional practice in 1978, the Tanzmann Associates. She operated the practice for nearly 20 years, growing it to a size of 26 employees, with Parsons Brinckerhoff as a client for transportation work.

At Syracuse University, Tanzmann was in a six-year dual degree program, earning a bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1968 and a BArch. from the Graduate School of Architecture in 1969. She took time to respond to the following questions:

What do you remember most about SU?

Hard work! The architecture program is very intense.

Who was your favorite professor while at SU?

The much-admired Kermit Lee. His guidance has influenced so many architects coming out of the program, and many of us pay him honor with annual gifts to the Kermit Lee Scholarship Fund.

Why did you move to LA?

Adventure before “settling down” seemed like a good thing in the era of the Summer of Love. We bought a VW bus and set out on the long cross-country drive, hair streaming, no money, just energy and youthful zeal. Woodstock took place just after we arrived with our plans to explore the West, then head back to Boston or New York and “get real.” But then life happened and the special qualities of Los Angeles grabbed us. Here it is more than 45 years later, and LA is home.