Washington Architectural Foundation 2017 Annual Report


We celebrate another year of innovative programs at the Washington Architectural Foundation as we prepare to leap into 2018. Last year was one marked by great successes – new programs, new heights for existing programs, incredible support from both our donors and our volunteers.


The Design Like a Girl Mentor program wrapped up its first year and launched into its second with a set design workshop in partnership with Woolly Mammoth Theater, an exploration of building habitats in space working with the Smithsonian and NASA engineers. Joanna Schmickel, AIA, was recognized for her volunteer leadership role with this year’s “Wieb” award – the John “Weib” Wiebenson Award for Architecture in the Public Interest. The Hanley Wood Opportunity Fund and the Nora Roberts Foundation both stepped up to support Design Like A Girl.

Design Like A Girl capped 2017 by announcing STEM FAIR: How Women Work in the Design and Building Industry! through the Girl Scout Council of the National Capital and the DC STEM Network. More than 100 girls registered within three days and the waiting list continues to grow! We seem to have struck a nerve and January will see the first of many STEM Fairs with our partners in architecture, engineering, construction, landscape architecture.

Last year’s Saturday workshops at the District Architecture Center leveraged the exhibitions on display to teach children about design and construction. Bee an Architect built on an exhibition about bees in urban areas (like those in residence on DAC’s roof) and the kids helped DAC’s beekeeper finish our second rooftop hive and built bee houses for native bees. A workshop on Islamic architecture paired with Design for Diversity: The Aga Khan Award for Architecture exhibition gave young architects a chance to understand pattern and geometry. Homes by Kids: A Healthy Place to Live, Learn and Play! taught kids how to recognize elements of a healthy lifestyle and let them incorporate those elements into the design of their very own dream home.


This year’s DAC Summer Camp in August welcomed 30 kids. Judging by the noise level, they had a great time during their week of days at the District Architecture Center.

Our volunteers have been hard at work planning for the Archi-Builder Studio workshop series which begins in February and culminates with a booth at the USA Festival of Science and Engineering. The 2018 theme is On Mars! with teams working to build components of a space habitat.

With funding from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, WAF was able to re-launch the Children’s Architectural Neighborhood Walking Tours, originally created by Mary Kay Lanzillotta, FAIA, in a vibrant new online format accessible to parents, teachers, tourists, complete with a complementary version for kids. The White House Neighborhood and Capitol Hill Neighborhood were launched/text as part of Architecture Month in April and are now available on the WAF website. Additional funding from the National Trust has allowed us to begin work on two more children’s tours. Architecture in the Schools continues its long and impressive history of using the design arts to enrich STEM skills learning in our local public schools. In 2017, 9 classrooms in 7 schools in DC’s wards 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 benefited from the work of WAF’s volunteer architects, as did 4 Virginia schools in Alexandria, Arlington and McLean. WAF also welcomed the support of the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities, the KM Foundation, the Dimick Foundation, the Architects Foundation and Armstrong.

This year’s success in education programs was capped off with a campaign at the annual Fall Design Fete that raised $15,000 on the spot for the Barbara Laurie Scholarship Fund which currently supports five students pursuing architecture at the university level. Pepco, an Exelon company, also made a donation to support the scholarship program in 2017.

And not all WAF’s landmark achievements this year were in children’s education programs. The first three installments of the Giants of Washington Architecture video series highlight Amy Weinstein, FAIA, Colden Florance FAIA, and Hugh Newell Jacobsen FAIA. The videos feature personal interviews with the “giants” and document the impact of their careers on design on our community. You can watch all three videos on the WAF website. Funding from Humanities DC and the DC Preservation League made possible the start of this exciting new series.

In 2017 Architecture Week became Architecture Month, opening more evenings and weekends to tours, events and lectures. A grant from the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities supported WAF’s efforts to spread the tour programs throughout the District and to reach a larger and more diverse audience. Building on this success, DCCAH has again provided support for 2018 Architecture month which will focus on commemorating 50th anniversary of the 1968 riots and subsequent redevelopment, with an accompanying exhibition at the District Architecture Center.

And the list goes on….. Community Design Services matched volunteer architects with three community organizations this year – Eric Joerdens helped the Ionia Whipper Home and Chris Pitcher is working with St. Timothy’s Church and Common Good Farm, both projects still in progress. WAF donated a storage shed for this in-town farm to help refrigerate its produce so it can do more good in the community.


Canstruction had another outstanding year! This year’s theme of CAN-nect with Nature engaged 26 teams from local firms to create “sculptures” in the National Building Museum’s Great Hall the week before Thanksgiving. Besides drawings crowd to admire their “Canstruction” work, the team’s donated 72,151 cans of food (that’s 73,169 pounds!) to the Capital Area Food Bank.


If you’d like to know more about participating in or sponsoring WAF’s programs or you can provide the invaluable support that makes these programs possible, please contact us.


WAF 2017 Annual Report - Download (PDF)